Did You know I've written an ebook called 'Easy Vegan Baking'?
It's coming up to the third birthday of my ebook EASY VEGAN BAKING - how time flies! Have you grabbed your copy yet? It's free on Kindle Unlimited, or £5.99 to download, and is chock full of
- vegan lifestyle tips
- baking tips
- information about vegan campaigns
- a three course meal menu
I am so proud of this book, and have even included some of my special 280 Bakes recipes - six in fact! There's no excuse... vegan or not, get baking cake!
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!
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!
It's pretty nasty when cake batter curdles. Here's how to avoid and fix the problem!
Avoid those liquidy lumps by using room temperature ingredients. When ingredients that are too cold mix together, they don't combine and can result in a gross lumpy mixture. Eggs are normally the culprits, so ideally get them out the fridge around an hour before you start to bake.
And what to do to save a curdled mixture? You can add a little more flour to sort out the liquid mess, but don't add too much! This will cause an imbalance of the cake ingredients, making your cake drier. A tablespoon or two should be plenty to make the batter smooth.
Yes, you can bake a curdled batter, it's not the end of the world, but it may be a little more dense than you'd normally have.
Just a quick blog week, I'm going to go and make the most of the sun. August will be over before we know it!
If you're a home baker yourself, you may have had the problem of a cake that sinks.
A sunken cake is incredibly frustrating and disappointing. Your hard work and careful preparation has ended up a disaster, and you can't really save it - not even with decoration!
<< This week I'm sharing my top five tips to prevent a cake turning out like this!
How to prevent a cake from sinking:
1. Do not open the oven door while your precious cake is baking. If you absolutely need to because the cake is browning a little on one edge, do it when there's 5-10 mins left on the bake. You should be safe in a 40 min recipe. Also, don't slam the door shut!
2. Don't use too much baking powder. It may be tempting to put a little more in for a good rise, but first of all, you may be able to taste it - ick! - and second, the cake will rise too high too fast, and will most likely result in a collapse.
3. Ensure you have your oven at the correct temperature - if it's too hot, the same will happen as with the baking powder overdose.
4. Make sure you don't under-bake the cake. If the sides (which cook first and quicker) are done, the middle may still be a little soggy. Cover your tin with foil and bake for a little longer until a deep, central skewer poke comes out clean.
5. Make the mixture and immediately put it in the pan. Don't leave it on the side for later, stick it straight into a pre-heated oven.
Prefer to use your kitchen for cocktail making, parties and doing the laundry? Save yourself a cake baking nightmare and ...
All the best,
Who knew there were rules about using salt? Well, there are!
I thought hard about my first blog post following reopening. Salt occurs more in my personal bread baking, but a pinch or so does feature in many cakes (e.g. vegan chocolate cupcakes).
So 'rules' plural may be stretching the concept, but there's definitely one rule you should always follow when using salt in your sweet bakes.
Use fine sea salt wherever possible.
This is because it is easier to measure, dissolves quickly, and is not iodised. Iodised salt can give an unpleasant taste to baked goods - something to avoid, for sure!
For a list of baking rules you can break (in fact, we encourage you to break them!), visit our blog "Three Baking Rules That Were Meant To Be Broken" from July 2018.
PS. As a bonus, while researching this blog, I came across this - apparently salt can be good for your teeth too!
We get asked fairly often if cakes can be frozen, so we're here today to clarify!
2. Use cups to measure
This is the 'American way'. There are so many recipes online which use cups to measure, you'll never run out. Just nip down the shop and buy a cheap set of measuring cups - they can be as cheap as £1.00.
3. Use a liquid measuring jug
My mother-in-law uses this method. I don't like it myself, as it can be incredibly inaccurate, but, you know, horses for courses!
4. Try cookies instead
And if you'd like to start a little more simply, try a cookie recipe like this. I call these 'Emergency Biscuits' when there's nothing interesting in the baking cupboard and I can't find the scales!
Great optional additions include a couple of tables spoons of oats, chocolate chips or dried fruit.
2 level tablespoons sugar
4 level tablespoons butter
9 level tablespoons flour
Cream together the butter & sugar, stir in flour.
Roll out the dough, shape/cut out, and cook for 10 mins at 180 degrees.
Look away now, we don't approve of this final idea!!
5. Buy a packet mix
Everything's already weighed out in these mixes, you just need to add eggs normally, sometimes oil or milk. I warn you now, it won't taste as good as 'proper' cake, but it kind of had to be included on the list as an option...
Next time your battery goes in your digital scales or you old ones break, don't give up. Why not try one of these baking hacks? Let us know how you get on!
Owner, 280 Bakes
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by myself, Louise, but if you fancy guest blogging, give me a shout!
280 On Tour
Celebrate With Us
Friends Of 280 Bakes
I'm A Mum
Just For Fun
Low Sugar Cakes
Team 280 Bakes
The Great British Bake Off
Work For Us
Zero Sugar Cakes