What is veganism?
Veganism as a movement has seen a huge increase in popularity over the past few years. The lifestyle has been chosen by people who wish not to consume animal products, and more and more people are becoming aware of the incredible benefits that can be had by adopting this lifestyle – not just for ourselves but for the world as a whole. What started off as an animal rights movement has now become a way of life for many UK citizens.
You may enjoy our sister article about gluten free wedding cakes.
Vegan Cakes at Weddings
Believe it or not, these cakes are perfect for your wedding day! If you are vegan, you can enjoy a mouth-watering cake that does not sacrifice on taste, quality or appearance. Equally, if you have any vegan guests, imagine how overjoyed they will be when they find out that they can actually eat your cake!
Vegan bakeries have sprung up all over the country and now you should never be far from a baking wizard who can create a mouth-watering wedding cake personally for you and your guests.
We have interviewed some vegan cake experts who have disclosed some of the secrets of baking wedding cakes without eggs and dairy…
What is used as an egg and dairy substitute in vegan cakes?
London based Arapina bakery is run by Michela, who moved to the UK from Greece eight years ago and was horrified by the limited vegan cake options available at this time. Being vegan and gluten intolerant herself, she noticed that cakes available to her were always filled with ambiguous ‘E’ numbers and she felt huge contempt at consuming goods stuffed with these unnatural chemicals.
So she decided to do something about it and began creating her own delicious cakes, which are completely void of powders, substitutes, flavours, emulsifiers and artificial colouring. She instead uses only the freshest ingredients, including a dash of apple cider vinegar which she finds has a similar effect to using egg.
Her favourite vegan cake to make is chocolate with butterscotch cream or salted caramel. But any sort of mouth-watering flavour can be selected, and all types of ‘free from’ cake can be made happily; just get in contact with Michela for a chat about your vegan wedding cake desires!
How do the vegan cakes taste?
Ruby, the founder of Rubys of London, knows that vegan wedding cakes can look and taste even better than regular ones! She was intolerant to eggs and dairy as a child so always missed out on birthday and celebration cakes. As a result, she began her mission to make free-from cakes that can be enjoyed by everyone and opened her bakery!
Ruby is confident that her wedding cakes look amazing and taste even better than standard cakes. She veers away from egg replacements, using organic fruit purees to create a moist texture. Her cakes are adaptable with a range of sweeteners, depending on the customer’s desires. Ruby sees vegan baking as a totally different way of making cakes, and invites customers to sample her healthier and more sustainable products, guaranteeing that they will be left wanting more! Her most popular wedding cakes are Raspberry Rose or Berry Beautiful, which have received glowing reviews time and time again.
Can I have a completely free from cake?
At The Local Bakehouse in Bristol, you can be sure that all of your dietary requirements will not just be met, but will be fully thought through with care and passion and presented to you in one delicious free-from cake.
Ali, the company owner, has been a coeliac since the 1990s- back when it was a lot more difficult to locate good quality free-from products on the shelves! After conquering a gluten free cake, she became determined to master egg-free; she envisaged creating cakes that everybody could enjoy, regardless of their dietary requirements. Ali is passionate about cakes and wants to ensure that everybody can enjoy this delightful sweet treat.
“Soya milk makes dairy substitution easy…”, Ali explains, “but when curdled with organic cider vinegar, it can also be used to replace egg”. She uses oil instead of butter, which ensures that her vegan masterpieces retain their moist texture. Ali’s service is bespoke so she doesn’t have any one most popular flavour, although some favourites are vanilla, chocolate or lemon zest. However, she will listen to your exact wishes and create a cake personal to you.
Her vegan cakes prove very popular – some saying that they are better than their regular dairy-and-egg containing equivalents! If you would like a part vegan, part gluten free cake, Ali is happy to create one. She invites customers to contact her with their ideas for a free-from cake, and she will do everything possible to make these a reality!
It’s really important to me that everybody is included when it comes to celebrating.. and what better way to celebrate than cake! – Ali, The Local Bakehouse
How popular are vegan wedding cakes nowadays?
Vegan wedding cakes are increasing in popularity all the time. As new baking methods are discovered and vegan awareness is raised, cakes in all sorts of forms are realised as being as delicious – and in some cases even better – than traditional ones.
Charlotte from Restoration Cake in London is determined to make her mark on the world of vegan cake-making. She runs a bespoke service, catering for anybody’s cake needs, be they something fancy and glamorous, or a little more rustic and homely. Charlotte says that nowadays, to run a bespoke service, dietary requirements must be considered. But Charlotte loves this aspect of the business – finding making vegan cakes to be a fantastic outlet of her creativity. She aims to make delicious, unique and imaginative cakes that vegans and non-vegans alike will love. Charlotte is delighted that veganism is now in the limelight.
Understanding that your wedding cake is the most important cake you will ever order and that it needs to be able to feed people, not just look pretty, Charlotte is dedicated to providing a sensual cake that will delight your taste buds, eyes, and even smell amazing too! She uses soya milk curdled with cider vinegar to create the fatty content needed in a cake, and her egg replacement is sunflower oil. She notices two plus points to using oil over egg; the cake retains its moisture for longer, and without the somewhat pungent flavour of egg, the other essences in the cake, be they lemon, vanilla or chocolate, are stronger and more delectable.
Charlotte would dare to say that some of her vegan recipes are even better than her traditional cakes; she highly recommends her vegan red velvet recipe, which features in her cookbook. However, Charlotte will be willing to cater for your exact needs, whatever dietary requirements you may have. She states that:
Baking is often about finding the solution to a problem… and if it’s somebody’s wedding then nothing is a problem! – Charlotte, Restoration Cake
I’m worried about a cake without eggs. How do I know that it will work?
Master of the egg-less cake is Suki Bansal of Very Vegetarian Cakes in Birmingham, a baker with a specialism in Lacto-vegetarian cakes. She began creating these for children who had allergies to egg, and learned that a lot of them were also allergic to dairy. So she started making ‘free-from’ cakes, and now works with each individual customer to create these on a bespoke basis. Because of this, she bakes with a lot of dairy and egg substitutes rather than just having a singular set one.
She makes everything from scratch so you can be sure that your cake is completely free-from – as well as dairy and egg free, Suki can do nut-free or sugar-free on request. Suki notes a growing popularity with vegan wedding cakes – there has been a rise of young people joining vegan societies and recognising veganism as a lifestyle, and naturally these people are now all getting married! She can bake any kind of wedding cake, from the traditional multi-tiered with icing to something a little more unusual, and her favourite flavours are chocolate and lemon drizzle. You can be sure that, when you’re eating one of Suki’s cakes, you won’t be missing eggs!
Will it still look the same?
Southampton-based Hannah Banana Bakery was established because Hannah was tired of other bakers avoiding making vegan cakes or, if they did make them, designing them in the most basic way possible. Hannah saw no reason why vegan celebration cakes needed to be decorated in a different way; it was almost as if other bakers were trying to alienate vegan cakes as much as possible.
After listening to baker after baker telling her “they’d give vegan baking a go”, Hannah decided to take action and start her own vegan bakery, providing cakes across the south coast. She uses various natural substitutes in her recipes; dairy free margarine, coconut butter, soya milk, coconut milk, apple sauce, flax seed, bananas and vegetable oil all feature!
“I can’t believe that’s vegan!” – a happy customer of Hannah Banana Bakery
Many people sample Hannah’s cakes and do not believe that they are vegan, due to their intricate design and the way that they taste so different to the customer’s expectations. Her most popular cake is the delicious Cookies and Kream. Wedding cakes are a huge part of her business now, and she spends most of her summer baking delicious vegan sweet treats for people’s big days! And don’t worry if you’re allergic to gluten as well; Hannah makes her own delicious gluten free flour blend and offers several of her vegan cakes as gluten free options and can make sugar free or soya free options on request.
Can I have an alternative style vegan wedding cake?
Of course! Most bakeries cook on a bespoke basis and will be happy to make a cake in whatever style you wish.
For something very special, how about a giant vegan cupcake? In 2010, Ms Cupcake created London’s first vegan bakery, focusing on delicious small or large cupcakes. She uses plant-based alternatives in her cakes, such as soy, oat or nut milk instead of dairy milk, or fruit and vegetable purees or different seeds, which she finds creates a similar texture to dairy and egg.
For wedding cakes, Ms Cupcake can make delicious American-style buttercream or tiers of mouth-watering cakes of different flavours. Her most popular flavour is her ‘Ambassador’ cake, which has chocolate and hazelnut flavours and is similar to a Ferrero Rocher. Who knew vegan cakes could be so decedent?
I want to use an environmentally-friendly company. How can I ensure that the baker is one?
Most vegan bakeries are extremely environmentally friendly as they are aware of the importance of being sustainable and responsible toward the world around them. Hannah Banana, for example, has a policy of refilling her vegan (vegetable-based) washing up liquid at a dispenser, recycling whatever she can and providing edible cupcake cases which reduce waste.
The Vegan Cakery in Leicestershire is a particularly environmentally conscious company. Michelle, the bakery owner, advises that by following a vegan diet you’re already doing a fantastic job at being environmentally friendly – it is the most sustainable way to live! Michelle always knows exactly where her ingredients are sourced and uses fair-trade wherever she can. The electricity and gas in her kitchen are supplied from green energy provider, Ecotricity.
But Michelle’s sustainability as a business doesn’t stop there; it is a not for profit organisation, with all the proceeds going toward animal charities and sanctuaries. The combination of working to help these organisations and her passion to bake amazing vegan cakes – which friends and family have said are as good as standard cakes – mean that The Vegan Cakery is a thriving business and produces some of the finest vegan cakes on the market.
Her Battenberg has incredible popularity (and is fun to make too!) and she loves making wedding cakes. Her vegan bakes are made completely from scratch using her own baking knowledge and she varies her egg and dairy substitutes depending on the finished product that she is hoping to achieve. One thing that you can be sure of is that the vegan cakes will taste and look absolutely delicious, only bettered by the knowledge that you are enjoying them in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible!
There is no doubt that veganism is on the rise, as people globally try to be more sustainable and responsible with their culinary choices. But, as illustrated above, there is no reason why a dietary choice to avoid animal products means that you should go without cake on your wedding day! All of the bakers mentioned produce the highest quality cakes, made with passion and meticulous care. Be sure to check the nearest one to you out! After all, no wedding day would be complete without cake, would it?