I recently had a phone call from a frantic customer in Sheffield. He needed a vegan wedding cake but had been told he couldn't have what he wanted.
The cake makers he'd called had really fallen short. The first few told him he would have to have a naked wedding cake because they didn't specialise in sugarcraft. The next lot said he could have the design he wanted but it couldn't be vegan. He then phoned a place that told him it simply wasn't possible to have what he wanted, that there was no such thing as vegan ganache and without it, the cake wouldn't look right.
I was astonished. Who was this ignoramus who told him he couldn't have his cake (and eat it)? Why was it so difficult to find a decent vegan wedding cake?
So here are my top 5 myths about vegan wedding cakes and why you don't have to miss out if you can't eat egg or dairy (and don't worry - none of the suggestions contain pork gelatine or anything else a vegan would avoid).
Myth number 1: you'll have to have a naked cake.
Seriously?! Whilst I'm often asked to make naked cakes and they look stunning, there's no need to have one if it's not your dream cake. The vast number of decorating products are naturally vegan because the main ingredient is sugar. As long as you buy your fondant and don't make it from marshmallows, it'll probably be vegan. Ribbon and lace are popular decorations, as are fresh (non-toxic) flowers.
Myth number 2: you can't have a buttercream wedding cake.
Okay, if you're a real pedant then of course you can't have butter in your buttercream but there are plenty of vegan butters around that do an excellent job as an alternative. Arguably, it's better to have dairy-free buttercream on the exterior - the cake will be sitting out for some time before it's eaten and in this weather, it's astonishing how quickly bacteria can multiply. (Vegans: take comfort in this knowledge.)
Myth number 3: you can't have vegan ganache.
Ganache is the reason cake makers are able to achieve those amazing straight sides and sharp edges on cakes. It's made from cream and chocolate and hardens in the fridge overnight. Last year I might have believed the myth vegan ganache wasn't possible. Then a lovely woman in South Carolina told me I could substitute coconut milk for cream. Suddenly, I was able to up my dairy-free game.
Myth number 4: you can't have sugar flowers on your cake.
To make sugar flowers you need florist paste and some types are made with egg. However, there are brands that don't use egg and boast the vegan symbol. I actually prefer vegan florist paste and therefore don't buy any other kind.
Myth number 5: you can't have royal icing because it's got egg in it.
Traditionally royal icing is made with raw egg white. But there are people who believe drained chickpea juice can work in its place. Click here for a video if you don't believe me (hey, I didn't believe me until I saw it!). If you only need your royal icing to be egg-free, there's a product available called Ultra Fine White Royal Icing which is made by Dawn Parrott. It's not vegan but I'm pretty hopeful it soon will be. She's eliminated the egg white and added a milk powder instead. It doesn't seem too much to ask that there should soon be a soy powder alternative.
So there we are. It's possible to have a range of stunning vegan cakes without compromise. If you want proof, just click here on the Vegan Wedding Cakes page and see what delights you can choose from. Happy browsing!