Thursday, April 23, 2015

Vegan Birthday Cake from a Mix is No Big Deal

12/11/16 Update:
The method below also works perfectly with Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix. Follow the directions for using oil that are on the package. Instead of the recommended 2 T water, use 2 T nondairy milk, + another 2 T milk to replace the egg--that's 1/4 cup milk total. Mix with a teaspoon of vinegar and let sit for a few minutes, then prepare as directed.


If you don't live in a big city, it can be surprisingly hard to get a vegan birthday cake from a baker. Last year I decided to try. I know how to make one myself, but I have a hard time getting the icing to look good (I always get crumbs in it), so I thought I'd go to someone who could guarantee a nice-looking cake.

I found a lovely local baker who was willing to attempt one, but it turned into a big production! She didn't know about vegan margarine or where to find it, so I had to bring tubs of Earth Balance to her shop. (Earth Balance and Organic Smart Balance, both great, are sold at our local Shoprite and many other regular grocery stores.) She was afraid the cake wouldn't hold together, and that it would't be possible to make the icing the right consistency. This all surprised me, since I've made so many vegan cakes at home with no problem, and since many commercial icings—the ones you buy in the cake mix aisle—happen to be vegan.

I think for some people, just the idea of preparing food in a new way can be intimidating. I'm certainly not going to go bother going to a baker again, because making a vegan cake from a mix is so incredibly simple. I did this for my son's birthday recently and nobody could tell it was vegan. Several people commented that it was an especially good cake.

Vegan Cake from a Mix

vegan cake mix, such as Pillsbury (check ingredients—many are vegan)
oil, as called for on package
nondairy milk

Check directions on back of box. Instead of the water called for, measure out the same amount of  nondairy milk. Then see how many eggs are called for. Add 2 T milk for each egg. Now see how much milk you have altogether, and add 1 T vinegar for each cup. (Does not have to be exact.) Stir it well. Let it sit for five minutes or more.

Prepare mix according to directions, but leave out the water and eggs. Instead, use your milk + vinegar mixture.

Most prepared frosting is also vegan. Most sprinkles too. No big deal.

Ivan Bilibin, Cake City, 1912

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