Sunday, May 25, 2008

Vegan White Birthday Cake

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 almond vegan birthday cake

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.

white almond vegan birthday cake

Buttercream Frosting
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
Almond Milk

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.


  1. Ooooh happy birthday Mike!

    And I live in the flattest, possibly lowest altitude place ever (altitude= 586 FT), so if I ever try it and it works we'll know it's good to go at almost any altitude.

  2. Oh wait, Providence was only 75 ft? Who knew?

  3. Yep. Providence (and Boston) is basically at sea level. :)

  4. I am amused at how surprised I am by that :) I assumed because it's so flat here that it was basically at a super low altitude. It's still not even close to how high you are, but it's a lot higher than I expected!

    Maybe I've been blaming my oven erroneously for baking recipes that won't rise here but rose back east... not sure we're high enough to make any difference though.

  5. Nah, you don't have to start worring until about 5000 ft. I am at 7000 ft (and can I just say how much fun it is to breathe and exercise here :) ).

  6. For MOFO this month, I thought it might be fun to look back through my old entries and pick out my favorites; recipes we really loved or recipes we keep coming back to week after week. I sadly don't have pics for all of them. I guess I'll have to make i

  7. OH MY GOD!
    I am looking at my calendar to see when the next birthday is - January!
    I am sooo making this.

  8. I don;t know. I think you might need to practice once before then ;) and make sure the low altitude directions work. Of course you will have to eat the test cake!

  9. I just came upon your recipe through Google and I am DEFINITELY going to try this for my 2 year olds birthday tomorrow!!! I am excited! Thank You!

  10. That's great. I'm glad I could help. Let me know how it goes. Like it says in the recipe, I developed it at high altitude and adjusted it for regular altitude and it hasn't been thoroughly tested at regular altitude.

    The one person who tried it said it didn't rise enough. Not sure if they had old baking powder or if it needed a little more baking powder. I did just double check the original recipe (for cupcakes) and it used 2 1/2 tsp so that should be ok.

  11. Hi Kristin,

    I forgot to tell ya that the cake turned out great! I made a chocolate frosting to go on it. It was delicious! I actually used the cake recipe for my own birthday recently too :)

  12. [...] and in piping bags I have a hard time stopping! I think I stopped just in time this year. Here is the recipe for the [...]

  13. This turned out beautifully. The texture is smooth but light. So many vegan white cakes I tried, were leaden and doughy tasting. I used a recipe for a home made egg replacer, which I found on the internet. It is 1 C potato starch/flour, 3/4 C tapioca starch/flour and 2 tsp baking powder. Put the ingredients in a jar and shake them up. 1 1/2 tsp of mix + 2 T water = 1 whole egg. If you buy these ingredients at an Asian store they are much cheaper. Thanks for the great recipe.

  14. Wow, that cook looks gorgeous. I'm looking for a b/day cook for me this year, this could be the one!

  15. Did you have to double this recipe for two layers at all? I made this and there wasn't enough batter (it would seem) to make two cake layers of a normal thickness.

  16. Thanks so much for responding!

    I'm not at high altitude, I didn't use 9-inch pans and I think my baking powder is fine. What I did was halve the recipe to make two 6" layers, which usually works with most recipes intended to be 8" cake layers. However, I haven't given up on this recipe and will try it again.

  17. I made the cake again - this time as the full recipe, not half- and it turned out AWESOME! I'm not ruling out the possibility that I did something wrong in the halving process. I'll show you pictures when I get them developed!

  18. Hey! This was really good! I didn't think I would be able to have a cake for my 17th b-day, so I'm glad I stumbled across your site. Even my meat-eating family liked it :D The first I made it with my mom, though, I forgot to add the baking powder...but the second time around it came out amazing!! When I thought about taking pictures, the cake was half gone. XD yum~

  19. As promised, I have written up a blog about trying white cake recipes:

  20. Goodness. I'll look into that commenting issue!

  21. Hi! Thanks for the recipe, it looks great!
    do you think I can replace the egg-replacer with crushed apples or tofu?

  22. thanks. if i'll try, i'll let you know...