I created this recipe for the vegan challenge – a month of eating an entirely vegan diet.
This is bun scuffle – I bake – it’s not all I do but it is one of the things I love to do. So I needed to find some good vegan cake recipes. But before I could do that I needed to address the issue of sugar.
I was really surprised to discover that sugar is not considered to be vegan. There are two main reasons for this depending on your reasons for being a vegan:
Ethical vegans (who believe that it is wrong to eat meat or other foods which are made using animal products) avoid sugar because it is often refined using charcoal and this charcoal may be made from animal bones. This actually only applies to refined cane sugar so beet sugar and unrefined sugar is fine. The problem with this is that sugar is not usually labelled “beet” or “cane” so it is hard to tell which it is and some “brown” sugars have been refined and then made brown by the addition of molasses.
People who are vegan for health reasons often try to avoid sugar altogether because it is a high calorie, low nutrient food.
The problem with all of this is that sugar makes cakes taste good! However, I decided to try and come up with a tasty recipe which sticks to vegan values so I replaced the sugar with maple syrup (still sugar but not refined). I also read lots about using unsweetened apple sauce as an egg substitute so thought I would try that too. The apple sauce helps to bind the ingredients together in the same way as egg but it also adds apple flavour which doesn’t matter in a fruit muffin but might in other recipes.
I could have used self raising flour to get a good rise but this time I used plain flour along with baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. I mixed the soda with vinegar because the acid helps the reaction and is more potent than using it on its own. That’s why lots of muffin recipes use buttermilk or yoghurt – it’s for the extra acid to help the rise. Measure carefully though – too much bicarb leaves a slightly odd after taste.
Now that the science lesson is over I should just point out that these muffins are yummy, sweet, moist and fruity – just what the vegan ordered!
4 Eating Apples
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
300g Plain Flour
125 ml Unsweetened Almond Milk
200 ml Maple Syrup
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4
Cut the apples into quarters (no need to peel or core) and toss in the lemon juice. Cover and cook until soft (in the oven or in a microwave) but not browned. Push through a fine sieve to make apple sauce.
Toss the blueberries in one tablespoon of the flour – this will stop them sinking during the bake.
In a large bowl mix together the maple syrup, vegetable oil and 130g of the apple sauce until light and fluffy. Mix together the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar (it will froth) and stir into maple syrup mix along with the vanilla essence. Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder and stir until just combined. Stir in the milk to get a dropping consistency. Stir in the blueberries until evenly distributed.
Place large spoonfuls into 12 muffin cases and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.