Sunday, 12 January 2014

Coffee and Walnut Cake (Vegan)

Miss K and I made this cake as a Veganuary experiment, to try out the tub of xanthan gum I had recently bought. Xanthan gum is a binder and emulsifier which is often used in gluten-free baking - it can be found in the baking or free-from section of most big supermarkets and costs around £2.50 for a tub. I would recommend buying xanthan gum if you bake a lot of egg-free or vegan cakes.

I've made several different versions of vegan sponge cakes now, with varying degrees of success (mainly down to texture), so I based this recipe on my vegan Victoria sponge recipe and tweaked it a bit.

You may be interested to know that for my first attempt, I replaced half of the 'butter' with a mashed avocado, as avocado is supposed to be a good egg replacer, however, whilst not too unpleasant, the resulting cake had a definite taste of avocado which wasn't overly popular in the Onykahonie household! Attempt two, without the avocado was much more palatable!

As you can see, the resulting cake has a good texture and might even be firm enough to make into a giant cupcake, although I haven't tried this yet. This is my most successful vegan sponge cake yet, both taste and texture-wise, and I would challenge anyone to tell this was vegan in a blind tasting. 

I left Miss K to make the icing and ice the cake herself. I think she did a pretty good job, don't you? Of course she had to try a slice afterwards just to make sure it was fit to appear on the blog!

For the cake
  • 100g/4oz dairy-free spread
  • 150g/6oz soft brown sugar
  • 200g/8oz SR flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp coffee granules dissolved in 200ml/8 fl oz boiling water and allowed to cool (or cooled espresso/filter coffee)
  • 1 tsp. white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 4oz roughly chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts) - reserve 25g/1 oz to top the cake 
Make up the coffee and set to one side to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 170C/160C Fan/325F/Gas3.
Cream the spread and sugar.
Add all of the remaining ingredients (reserving 25g/1oz of the nuts) and mix until just combined.
Divide the mixture between 2 greased and lined 7" sandwich tins.
Bake for 20-25 mins until the cakes are firm and spring back slightly if pressed gently in the centre.
Turn out onto a wire rack and remove the greaseproof paper.
Allow to cool before icing.

For the vegan butter-cream icing/frosting
  • 1 tbsp coffee dissolved in 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 200g/8oz icing sugar
  • 50g/2oz dairy-free spread, softened
Soften the spread in a bowl and stir in the icing sugar. 
Mix together, adding just enough of the coffee to make a thick, spreadable icing.
Spread in the middle and on top of the cake.
Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining nuts.

Suitable for freezing.

Alternatives: To make a chocolate cake, swap the cold coffee for almond milk or water. Use 175g/7oz flour plus 25g/1oz unsweetened cocoa powder. Swap the nuts for 100g/4oz dairy-free chocolate chips. For the icing, swap the coffee for boiling water and add 25g/1oz unsweetened cocoa powder to the icing sugar. 
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  1. This looks wonderful! I just started liking coffee and I might just have to make this if I can figure out where to buy xanthan gum.

    1. You might find it in health food shops.

  2. I hope you don't mind I am trying to show people how to eat vegan and this site is fantastic so I have shared it in my facebook album. Just checking it is OK with you though, if not please let me know.

  3. This cake looks gorgeous! I love coffee! Just a little idea, if you wanted to cut back on the fat in cakes, dates are always great to use, I usually use half the fat, so if a recipe calls for 4 oz butter/oil, I'll use 2 oz butter/oil and 2 oz date paste (dates&hot water simmered until thick & soft &then pureed) and that means you can cut back on the sugar too because the dates are so sweet :) x


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