This past week, there's been a flurry of excitement at The Bakehouse. Why? Because we've just hit upon a new and quite fabulous recipe for a vegan gluten-free cake that has NO listed allergens. Yep! That's right: no soya, no dairy, no nuts, no eggs and no gluten. (N.B. I'll take it for granted you don't think I put some of the other allergens in my cakes - like crustaceans and celery.)
(Okay, I need you to imagine I've just put on a school ma'am voice.)
"Now let's get those tired old freefrom jokes out of our systems, shall we?"
"Freefrom? Is it free from taste?" (guffaws)
"Vegan? Does it taste like feet?" (snorts)
"What goes into it, then? Air?" (cries with laughter)
Actually, joking aside, I'd have wondered what on earth went into a gluten-free vegan cake before I was coeliac. I mean, if you think about the 4 traditional cake ingredients of flour, eggs, butter and sugar, only the latter survives the allergen list.
So what's the secret?
Well the first (and most obvious) point is to use gluten-free flour to make the cake safe for coeliacs. The second point is to use oil instead of butter. But the sticking point is often the eggs. How on earth can you get a decent egg substitute? The answer, my friends, lies in aquafaba: the drained juice from chickpeas.
I'd been dying to try aquafaba but hadn't really made it a priority. So when an Italian client asked for a light and fluffy lemon cake like the ones she was used to in Italy, it was the push I needed to do some taste-testing.
If you're wondering, I began by googling 'aquafaba cakes'. These recipes give an excellent starting point for those who can't have eggs. Or, indeed, anyone who's vegan.
Just look at how fluffy that cake is! And yes, it tastes AMAZING!
When you're trying something new for the first time, the great thing about a recipe that works is it gives you confidence that the new thing (in this case, aquafaba) is worth pursuing. So thanks to several egg-free YouTube bakers' wise words, I've been able to develop some new recipes of my own.
And if you want to test for yourself how my egg-free cakes have turned out, you can always contact me for a cake tasting. You won't be disappointed!