Everybody loves a good pound cake, right?
For me, baking a good pound cake and bake it vegan is a big thing. I mean, a true ah-moment. If it turns out the way I planned, obviously.
First thing first, time for a little science, if you don’t mind. Traditionally, a pound cake is a cake where a pound of each ingredient is used. Namely these ingredients are flour, eggs, butter and sugar. Four simple ingredients to make 4 pounds worth of cake – quite heavy for a little loaf!
And did you know that this cake comes from Europe and dates back to the 18th century? The French call this cake a quatre-quarts, which literally means four quarts.
The ingredient list of this cake has seen quite a lot of changes over time, and this resulted into countless variations spread all over the world. Baking powder can be added to the batter to aid leavening, sour cream replaces butter for a moister and tangier cake, aromatic ingredients give the pound cake a flavor twist.
Speaking of moistening swaps, luckily for me someone started cutting or even replacing butter with vegetable oil. But there were still a few substitutions to be done: eggs were the most obvious one, as I wanted my pound cake to be vegan. And healthy-ish, or at least slightly more nutritious than a standard pound cake.
I don’t know why I’m telling you how I developed this recipe – in case you’re here to eat, scroll straight down to the recipe! Or maybe you are interested in recipe developing, and in that case, I’m happy to share the process with you! (And if you really want to take the stuff seriously, my friends Suus and Johann from FoodBandits just launched a new series on their blog about the science behind alternative baking!)
Starting from something easy, oil would take the place of butter. I like to use a cold pressed sunflower oil, because it has a neutral flavor, has no saturated fats and is readily available (read: less expensive than virgin coconut oil) here. Using oil in cake batters always gives me nice results, as they turn out soft and spongy but not gummy.
Coconut yogurt also adds fat, moisture and a a lovely, tangy citrus scent. Not very cheap, but sometimes you gotta give! I found my new obsession. If you have access to a wide variety of plant based yogurts, you can have loads of different cake flavors!
As much as I’d love to bake a fully wholegrain cake, I must admit it probably won’t be a smart choice. First of all, wholegrain flour has a very strong taste, and produces sturdier and denser bakes. And nobody wants a rock hard brick on a dessert plate!
The solution I came up with was making my own cake flour mix: one part unrefined flour, one part einkorn (or wholegrain spelt), a fraction of cornstarch to lighten things up, and baking soda.
With this cake you can’t use liquid sweetener. To add a bit of nutrition back in you can use raw sugar, which is key to achieve the perfect pound cake texture. The one I found is produced here in Italy and comes from sugar beets. It has almost the same texture of white sugar, but there’s no further refining. It looks like light brown sugar, with a bit of moisture that makes the crystals glue together.
The secret to avoid dense-as-a-rock vegan cakes is not to overmix. You want to combine the dry ingredients with sugar except for milk, sift the dry ones together and work the two into a batter. Milk will loosen the mixture as you go. The whole process should not take much longer than 5 minutes!
Baking temperatures are crucial, of course. I like to place the pan on the middle rack, and bake my cakes on a relatively low heat, say 170 C, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. This will ensure an even rise and should prevent the outside of the cake to dry out, leaving you with an underbaked center.
Last but not least, don’t forget to top your pound cake off with something yummy. Powdered sugar will do for a sunday breakfast, but what about a healthy-ish tahini glaze?
Okay, that’s enough science for a dessert, don’t you think? Let’s have cake!
Are you team layer or team pound cake? share your thoughts by commenting below, or tell me if you liked this recipe! I’m also on instagram, pinterest, bloglovin’, and youtube. see you there!
A mix and fold pound cake recipe that’s vegan, delicious and healty-ish. And don’t forget about the killer lemon-tahini glaze!
- 100 g unrefined flour
- 100 g einkorn or wholegrain spelt flour
- 50 g cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 130 g raw sugar
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 125 g bergamot flavoured coconut yogurt
- 50 ml sunflower oil
- 125-150 ml unsweetened almond milk
- a pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1/4 lemon, juiced
- 2-4 tbsp powdered sugar
Sift dry ingredients together, set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine sugar, coconut yogurt, vegetable oil and salt. Whisk until sugar dissolves, about 5-10 minutes.
Add in lemon zest and the flour mixture. Fold dry ingredients in, adding almond milk as you go until the batter looks smooth and lump-free, about 3-5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170 C.
Line a pound cake tin with parchment paper, fill with the batter and bake for 35-40′, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the oven, than take it out and remove from the tin once cool enough to handle. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Combine tahini with sugar and lemon juice until the mixture has a pourable consistency. Adjust as you need with sugar or lemon juice.
Drizzle on the cake, slice and serve.
This cake freezes very well. Let it cool completely before slicing, then wrap each slice tightly in a piece of foil and store in the freezer. Allow to fully defrost on the counter before enjoying; overnight is best.
You can make your own powdered sugar by blitzing raw sugar in a spice grinder until finely ground.