This is a little selection of the cakes I baked for people like you this month!
Chocolate cake for Henry... Double raspberry tequila cake for my husband's birthday... Mickey Mouse (actually, 3!) for Leo... Chocolate Vanilla for a lady in Henbury... A watermelon cake and matching cupcakes for Matilda... Penguin cupcakes for a Penguin (bar!) lover... Vegan chocolate cake for the Pipal Tree restaurant... A vegan birthday cake for Anna...
... and I've already got some booked in for October!
See you next month,
The easy answer is "generally, no, cake sprinkles are not vegan", but I do have some alternatives for you!
If you're planning to make vegan cupcakes, your sprinkles and pre-made decorations ingredients lists need to be examined to see if they contain animal products. Some are difficult to spot but I have some great alternatives to the normal range you'll find in the baking aisle.
Before we start, here are some common ingredients to avoid:
Confectioners' Glaze - made from insects
Cochineal and Carmine (more bugs)
Certain colours (E20 is a common one)
What do I suggest instead to make your cupcakes look super fancy?
First, try Googling for inspiration. There are many companies (e.g. some small businesses on Etsy) who will post sprinkles to you. Vegan Dollhouse has a huge list on her blog too - take a look here.
Second, try thinking away from actual sprinkles for cake decorations. How about using...
- fresh fruit - strawberries and raspberries work well, but use caution with softer berries like blackberries which might bleed into the buttercream.
- popcorn - super easy to pile up if you're using caramel sauce.
- dark chocolate squares - a favourite of mine.
- edible flower petals - I've used rose and lavender recently, a lovely finish and aroma.
- freeze dried fruit - I love raspberries and strawberries here, again.
- biscuits like Lotus biscuits, Party Rings and Oreos.
- Sweets like Jelly Tots, Flying Saucers, Skittles - inject some colour into your cupcakes!
Don't forget cocoa powder too - a dusting of this over bright white buttercream looks great if the swirls are well defined.
And if you fancy making your own vegan sprinkles (who has THAT time??), take a look at this video I found on Youtube.
Let me know if you give this tutorial a go, I'd love to see your resulting sprinkles!
Food is very evocative - a simple taste or scent of a certain type of food can bring back very specific memories; Cake is no different.
For me, the first cake that springs to memory's mind is lemon drizzle. Those two words will forever be associated with my Grandma Pat, who passed away over ten years ago now.
My memories of her are laden with baking - cherry buns, runny water icing, fruit cake, apple pie - but mainly lemon drizzle. It was never fancy, just a sponge, but she had a name for making a brilliant bake of it. Sure, it's a relatively simple bake, but none can compare to my grandma's! I like to think she'd be very proud of me and my lil' cake business.
The second memory blast I have when thinking about cake is a very festive one. Every year since I've been on this planet my mum has made a showstopping Christmas cake. Sometimes more than one, if a school raffle or church fete needed one. She's even been known to make it for someone's birthday, as it's their favourite. It's all about the cake here, even though the decoration is always perfect; the dark sponge is always absolutely packed with dried fruit and booze. Mum is a complete foodie, and loves a decent fruit cake, and Christmas wouldn't be the same without a big slice of her boozy Christmas cake.
Christmas is one thing, but birthdays are even more about cake in my memory. Christmas dominates with so many other foods, activities, traditions over a longer period of time, whereas a birthday is just one day (or two, if you;'re the Queen and you're reading this). So, in terms of percentage of importance, I would argue birthday cakes are even more important that Christmas cakes, being a central feature to one's big day. After all, 'a party without a cake is just a meeting', or so the famous saying goes. I've been lucky enough to have many cakes baked for me on past birthdays - here was this years! Thank you Max, very much!
And while we're talking birthdays, banana cake may always remind me of my little one's first birthday. Cake was an important part to the celebrations as a nationwide lockdown hugely restricted what we could do. I made Rox two vegan - she had an egg allergy at the time - banana cakes, one for a cake smash (see here) and one for a sandwich tea in the garden with a handful of family members. Even though I say so myself, it was a bit of a corker - fabulous memories.
What kind of cakes bring memories to your mind?
All deliveries to Hallen and Henbury in BS10 postcode (Bristol) will recieve 10% off this month. That's 10% off cupcakes... birthday cakes ... traditional homebakes... vegan cakes... gluten free bakes... ALL THE CAKE!!
Don't miss out - email firstname.lastname@example.org, send me a message or find the 280 Bakes Facebook page or Twitter!
My customers are full of questions, love 'em! Here are some of the recent queries I've had, and the (helpful) answers below...
1. Is a cupcake the same as a muffin?
Nope. A cupcake has much higher butter and sugar content and they have fancy icing on the top. Muffins are often more appropriate for breakfast, often being similar to bread, and cupcakes are better for dessert.
2. How do I pay for a 280 Bakes cake?
Paypal is preferred (to email@example.com) or cash, as a second preference. This is mainly to make it simple to take payment immediately when a customer books a delivery in, but it also limits physical contact during these Covid-19 days.
3. What's the difference between a Chocolate cake and a brownie?
The main difference between brownies and chocolate cake is that brownies have more chocolate content and are gooey. Baking powder and soda are not used in brownies and they often have more sugar than a cake would. Both are delicious, though!
4. Why are bundt cakes so much more expensive?
Simply because there's almost four times the amount of mixture that goes into the cake compared to a traditional homebake, and the size means they take so much more time to bake. Perfect for a party, a real centrepiece!
5. What do you use instead of egg in a vegan cake?
There are many different things recipes call for in egg-free cakes. For example, many of my cakes contain flaxseed, banana, apple sauce or yoghurt instead. You can also do a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, but I prefer to use fruit based or seed products.
I hope this was useful, please let me know if you have any questions I can answer for you!
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by myself, Louise, but if you fancy guest blogging, give me a shout!