Table of Contents
To Trisha Mikelonis, for teaching me the joy of serving good food to my loved ones. And for Marlene Gaige, for teaching me to make my own opportunities.
A big thank you and mad props to all of my loyal testers: Lynda Bascelli, Courtney Blair, Katie Bolt, Smyth Campbell, Jamie Coble, Erica DeCouteau, Aimee Kluiber, Amie Kolesar, Ana Lucas, Clea Mahoney, Karen Mallonee, Karie Miller, Maggie Muggins, Meghan-Rose O'Neill, Josiane Richer, Marcia Torpey, Molly Walter, and Soozie Zawistowski. Your hard work and troubleshooting efforts were greatly appreciated. A special shout out to super-tester Lee Ann Light, who not only tested almost every single recipe but also suggested two of the more unique recipes to make the cut.
Thanks to all of my blog readers and the readers and users of my previous books. Your encouragement and feedback are always appreciated and I truly value you. Getting to know you and share the gift of delicious vegan food has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
Of course, special thanks to my friends and family, my lovely and crazymaking kittehs, and especially my husband, Jim. I owe you a lifetime of gratitude for all of the buttercream-bowl-washing, scraping-frosting-offthe-ceiling, late-night-running-for-ingredients, sweeping-up-flour, andwhatever-else goodness you provided. Your love and support, along with your endless stomach and capacity for taste testing, are priceless.
What is a cake?
Yes, I'm going to wax poetic about cake. What can I sayâit's been on my mind quite a bit lately.
Some say that unless it's got two layers and is smothered in frosting, it's nokt a cake. Others eschew tradition and say that the line-crossing cheesecake is fully cemented in cakehood. Still others couldn't care less, so long as they get a slice.
In working on this collection of recipes, I thought a lot about cake. It would have been easy to whip up a basic cake recipe and replay it fifty times, with a slight variance of flavors and add-ins, but that's not my style. Within these pages, expect to have your own definition of cake challenged and expanded. Single-layer cakes. Double-layer cakes. Coffee and crumb cakes. Snack cakes. Upside-down cakes. Cakes without topping or icing. Cakes that don't even require an oven! And if you've ever doubted the ability to make a tasty cake without eggs, butter, or milk, think again. These pages contain the keys to the vegan cake kingdom, unlocking moist, fluffy cakes with a tender crumb and more toppings than you can shake a stick at, plus plenty of options for our gluten-free friends.
The unifying factors to all of these recipes is that they are cruelty-free and delicious and provide options for every cake-consuming opportunity in life: fancy cake events (birthdays, showers, weddings), more casual events (dinner parties and afternoon visits), and everyday eating (morning, noon, and night). One major thing to love about cakes is their versatility. Cake is the shape-shifter of baked goodsâit can morph from one form to the next within the blink of an eye (or just a different kind of pan!).
If you're new to the land of cakes, never fear. The sheer beauty of a cake is almost to its detriment. They seem overwhelming and labor intensive, which is quite the opposite of the truth. In fact, cakes are so simple that once you make a couple you'll shake your head and wonder, “Why did I think this would be so hard?” And then you'll sit down and eat some more cake!
Whether you split a slice with family or bring half a coffee cake to cheer up a friend, the act of sharing cake is such an ancient way of connecting, it's akin to breaking bread. A slice of moist, delectable cake is a sure way to put some pep in your step and spread that joy to those around you.
I hope you and yours enjoy these recipes.
CAKE MAKING TOOLS
Here are some tools for your arsenal that are essential for cake-baking perfection.
As basic as it gets, your pan is your first line of defense against bad cakes. Metal pans are best for baking as metal distributes heat most evenly. Purchase pans without nonstick, when possible. Nonstick coating browns the outer part of a cake too quickly and with darker cakes can actually burn them. Glass pans are a good second choice, if you don't have metal pans available. I do not use or recommend silicone bakeware. It's very easy to tear your cake, they bake less evenly, and frankly they haven't been around long enough for me to believe that they are safe. Look at what we're learning about nonstick coating thirty years later. I understand their fat-free appeal, but seriously? We're baking cakes, and a light pan greasing isn't going to make or break it.