I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a feeder (imagine the grandmother who forces biscuits upon you, regardless of how many times you reiterate just how full you are). If you enter my kitchen, you will be handed baked goods of some form. Some may see this as slightly compulsive, but for me it’s an opportunity to gain some valuable feedback on my bakes, be it good or acknowledging room for improvement (just as important!).
It’s naive to presume that something you’ve made is going to suit everyones tastes, regardless of how much effort or how many extravagant ingredients you might have put in. Some are sweet toothed, others prefer something a little more subtle. Some may even have dietary requirements. I’ll admit that this is not something that ever occurred to me until a few months ago, when a colleague asked me if I had any vegan recipes (shamefully, I didn’t).
Out of curiosity, I had briefly ventured into vegan baking in times gone by but not being vegan myself or not knowing many people who were, it wasn’t something I continued to bake. I happily accepted my challenge however ( & with ‘vegan’ being my only specification, set about using whatever was on hand in the pantry, mainly some marmalade, oranges & speciality flours).
After a couple (read: a lot) of trial runs & tweaks, I’m very pleased with this light, fragrant & zesty result. This cake is light & moist in texture, packed with orange flavour without being overly sweet. It’s definitely a great recipe to have in your arsenal, vegan or not.
ORANGE & SPELT CAKE (VEGAN)
(makes one 2lb loaf)
- 125g spelt flour
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 50g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 110ml rapeseed oil
- 160g caster sugar
- Zest & juice x2 oranges
For the icing:
- 3 tbsp bitter marmalade
- 100 – 140g icing sugar
- Grease & line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment & vegan friendly spread or olive oil
- In a large bowl combine the flours, almonds, baking powder & bicarbonate of soda
- Zest the oranges into the bowl & give it another mix
- In a separate bowl of jug, beat together the oil, sugar & orange juice
- Add the oil mixture to the dry ingredients & thoroughly combine until there are no more pockets of dry flour (it is a rather wet, runny mixture)
- Pour the mixture into the tin & bake in the oven at 180°C for 40-45 minutes until the cake is golden & a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out cleanly with no crumbs or wet mixture attached
- Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 10 minutes before removing & allowing to cool fully on a cooling rack
- Once cooled, make the icing by gently warming the marmalade in the microwave for around 30 seconds, until warm & fluid
- Combine the warmed marmalade & 100g of icing sugar to make a thick but pourable icing (add a little more icing sugar if it seems too thin & runny)
- Pour the icing over the cake & leave to set
Check out this handy infographic from PETA for some great vegan alternatives