I've been working for a couple years now (I only make one a year) to make a good white birthday cake for my husband Mike. This is what he requests every year. I used to make him the one from Cook's Illustrated, but it didn't veganize well. This version of birthday cake came out really good. This is a modified version of The Joy of Vegan Baking's Vanilla Cupcakes along with some Cook's Illustrated techniques. Usually I decorate his cake, but we were in a hurry to get to the movie theatre to see Iron Man, so the decorating this year is very lame. And wow, my lighting was bad!
White Birthday Cake
shortening (for greasing pans)
2 3/4 cups PLUS 1 Tbsp CAKE flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder (2 tsp at high altitude)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer
2 Tbsp water
1 3/4 cups Almond Milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 375F (395F for high altitude). Grease two 8" cake rounds with shortening. Line the bottom of each with parchment cut to the correct size. Grease the parchment. Flour both cake pans. Set aside.
Combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the ener-G with 2 Tbsp water with a small whisk or a fork. Mix for 30 seconds to a minute, until smooth and creamy. Mix the ener-G mixture with almond milk and 1/4 cup water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. This might take up to 5 minutes so be patient. Add vanilla extract, almond extract, and 1/4 cup water beat until smooth and combined.
Add the flour and the almond milk to the margarine mixture in batches. Add a little flour (about a cup), then add a little almond milk mixture (about a 1/2 cup) until it is all mixed in incorporating each addition as it is added.
Pour 1/2 the mixture into each cake pan. Bake until the centers spring back noting that it may not brown much on top. I'm not sure how long this will take at regular altitude, but at high altitude temperature it was 35 minutes. Be careful not to open the oven until the cake is nearly done (use the oven light to check on it). Remove from oven and cool for about 2 minutes. Invert cake onto a rack, gently pull off the parchment, and then invert onto another rack. Do this for both cakes. This takes me 3 cooling racks to accomplish. Cool completely before frosting, about 1 1/2 hours.
I've always done this by eye, so I don't have exact amounts. It is pretty easy though.
4 cups-ish of powdered sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) Earth Balance Margarine, softened
1/2+1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2+ 1/4 tsp almond extract
Using a hand mixer, cream the butter and then add ~1/2 cup powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and almond extract and ~1 Tbsp almond milk. Beat with the mixer. Add more sugar (you will add the sugar very gradually). As the sugar incorporates, add more. If the mixture gets too dry, add more almond milk. Continue in this manner until the frosting looks almost white and is the right texture/stiffness for frosting the cake.