I got a call from an old friend from elementary school (unheard of for military brats) last night. She's getting married next summer and wants me to make her cake if I can make it up to Ohio. (you may have read my post on doing cakes outside of your own kitchen...I'm trying to stay calm with that. LOL)
The thing is she is vegan. Absolutely no dairy. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years so I am sensitive to that but vegan's a stretch further. She is OK with having bleached flour for this special occasion. So the only things I really need to modify are eggs, butter and milk. That affects the cake itself whether it's scratch or box and the icing. Well mine, since I use 50/50. But I'll look into all shortening or using a vegan margarine.
Anyone try this before and have any success...any advice? Thanks so much!
I have never had this issue come up for me, but I would love to see how you do this. Good Luck!!
I would substitute apple sauce unsweetened for the fat part- thats easy it wont affect the taste, could use egg substitute for eggs. Dont know much about how strict or whats in it but what about soy milk..or .cocunut milk
Thanks Katie. I did read a few things on some site about egg substitute, not sure how well they'll work but I'll try. Thanks for reminding me about the applesauce, I use some of that in my carrot cake in place of half the oil. Good idea. Ooh I wonder if shortening or oil would be OK.
Unfortunately most mixes have whey in them, so they're right out. DH White also has a butter derivative.
Applesauce works pretty well, and in the cake I would use margarine, not shortening. Fleischmann's green label margarine is the only national brand margarine I know of that is vegan. Even the other Fleischmann's have whey in them. There is also a soy margarine, usually in the natural foods section, called Willow Creek or Willow Run or Willow something, but it costs a little more. I prefer the Fleischmann's.
EnerG makes an egg replacer that works very well in every recipe I've tried except brownies - I still need to make some adjustments to those. It's around $5 for a box that holds the equivalent of 113 eggs. I know Kroger sells it, & I'm pretty sure you have Kroger there.
Soy milk is a good sub for regular milk in most recipes, but I've had some just not work out for some reason.
If you're using cake flour, obviously it has to be bleached, but unbleached AP flour is only a teensy tinsy bit darker than bleached, so I would be OK using that in a recipe that calls for AP flour.
Shortening would be my choice for icing, just make sure the bride has no objection to white sugar. Some vegans will not use it because 1/2 of all white sugar is cane sugar, and half of all cane sugar is refined using animal bone char. I have so far been unsuccessful finding confectioners beet sugar, and making my own has not turned out well, either.
I also have a recipe for fondant that uses Agar Agar (a seaweed derivative) in place of gelatin. Email me if you're interested.
I'm trying out a new vegan white cake recipe in the next week for my sister's birthday. I will let you know how it turns out.
Hope I've helped a bit. Mostly it just takes trial and error. Some recipes translate well & some don't. I wish I was smart enough to figure it out before I wind up with a dry or oily mess.
Ali, thank you so much!!! Yes, your post is very informatiive.
I will check out the eggs - wow, 113?! I had no idea Fleischmann's was vegan and I totally forgot about whey.
She didn't say anything about sugar so I will inquire about that. I've never tried beet sugar but I'm sure i could find it somewhere. There are plenty of health food places here. I still drink soy milk - what brand do you use or do you find works best?
I would love to hear how your white cake turns out. She didnt't specify a flavor but since this is a special case, she'd probably just go with what recipes taste best and won't turn the non-vegans off too much.
Do marshmallows contain gelatin? I've made MMF before and would like to play around with that more but I need to check out the ingredients.
Do you basically just play around with recipes you already have to see if the new ingredients will hold up well?
Thanks a million again! This is why I love this site...you guys are the equivalent of 1,000 classes!
Hi Ironbaker and Alimonkey,
I just posted in another thread that I make all my cakes kosher-pareve. This means that while I still use eggs, I don't use anyting dairy. I hope I can add to your knowledge base from that perspective.
There are a number of totally non-dairy margarines out there. It is hard to find unsalted ones, which is why I sually use shortening. I don't like the salt. Willow Run is natural, but salted. Hain is natural and used to make both salted and unsalted but I haven't seen the unsalted version lately. Earth Balance is Vegan, natural, and has fewer Trans-fats, but is also salted. Fleischman's has salted and unsalted versions, but is artificially flavored and/or colored. I don't know if you care about that. Many margarines say kosher-pareve on the label. This means that they contain no dairy. In the case of things tht are not margarine, any pareve product always cintains no dairy and no meat ingaraedients. Pareve things can contain eggs, so you have to read the labels for vegan purposes.
I have had good success with soy milk in place of milk, but lately, I've been using rice milk and I think the cakes are rising a bit more. The brand I've used is Rice Dream. It comes in regular, vanilla, and chocolate. I've only tried the regular, but the vanilla would probably work, ifyou wanted to add that flavor. I think the chocolate might not, but I'm not sure.
There are a few other products on the market which you might find useful. I use "Better than Cream Cheese" and "Better than Sour Cream" to replace those respective products. They aren't perfect, but they are close. Both are manufactured by the Tofutti people. I can't find "Sour Supreme" around here anymore, it was another sour cream replacement and also very good.
Don't know if you can use chocolate. Any chocolate that syas pareve will be dairy free. If you have a Trader Joe's around, their semi-sweet chocolate chips are dairy free and natural.
Alimonkey, I will send you a PM with my e-mail address. Would you please send me the Agar-agar fondant recipe. Regular gelatin is another thing I can't use and kosher gelatin doesn't work for fondant.
Hope this helps. Good Luck!
One more thing. I just looked at my boxes of C&H sugar. The powdered sugar, brown sugar, and baker's sugar are all kosher certified pareve by the certifying agency called Star-K. I don't have the bag my granulated came in, but I assume it is also certified. I don't think that it could be certified if it used bone char, but I don't know for sure. I've got a call in to my Rabbi to ask if he knows. If he doesn't, and you want to pursue this, I could try to find out for you.
I just found a recipe in my chocolate cookbook of Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Fudge filling/icing. Let me know if you'd like me to PM or email it to you! (it's rather long to type out, and I have to wait until my girls go down for a nap!).
Thank YOU as well. You guys are really coming through with some good input. Good to know that if it says pareve, it's nondairy.
You use the shortening in your cakes as well or were talking about the icings? Thanks for the tip on the sour cream and cream cheese.
I've got plenty of time so I'll check out some stores and possibly some places that make vegan cakes (if any!).
Muchas gracias ladies!
I'm not sure about the kosher labels, but some kosher items can contain meat. I know specifically that kosher gelatin is made using fish bones. It always pays to read the label.
For the strictest standard on veganism, and for ways that non-vegetarian items are hidden in food labels, you can check out the PETA website, you can also look on vegsource.com. Jo Stepaniak has a Q&A column that was very helpful to me. I'm not vegan, but I have 3 family members that are.
It is definitely true that kosher things can have meat. They just can't have meat and dairy simultaneously. (And there are lots of conditions on what meat you can use and how the animals can be killed) Things that are parve have neither meat not dairy components--downt othe chemical level.
It is also true (and I had forgotten to mention) that kosher gelatin can be made from fish. Fish is a whole other subject because it is in a category all by itself. It is interestingly considered pareve, though some people won't have fish and meat at the same time. Hence Lea and Perrins has the word "fish" next to the OU that certifies it as kosher....
I just looked at a rare bag of kosher marshmallows I managed to find a couple of weeks ago. Sure enough. It is marked kosher and pareve and one of the ingredients is kosher fish gelatin.
Alimonkey is correct. It is always best to read labels. Pareve or parve is a good indicator, but you have to check for eggs and/or fish.
The Rabbi called me back and said that sugar that is certified is "probably fine," but that there have been some rulings that once "char" is entirely converted to carbon, it may, in some cases be used. So, one would have to check with the certifying agency to know what their criteria is to be absolutely, positively certain. Do you ever feel like osmetimes you wish you didn't know some of this stuff?
Yes, I use shortening in my cakes as well as icing. I just bought 50 lbs of hi-ratio shortening. As I mentioned elsewhere, I don't like the taste of salt in my cakes, which I feel I get with margarine. (That too is a minority opinion--let's not go there again.) Also I odnt' want the artificial flavor and color in all the unsalted margarine I've found. If they bring back unsalted Hain, I probably would use margarine.
Oh, and I just rechecked the labels on the "better than cream cheese and sour cream" They don't contain fish geletin or eggs and should be fine to use even for Vegans.
Check out the PETA website for vegan items. They have most of the DH cake mixes listed & all kinds of dairy & egg substitutes. There are no vegan specialty stores in my area so I always ask where they purchase their substitues when making vegan items. I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for about 10 years now, but can't seem to get on board with the taste of some egg/diary substitutes. The vegan chocolate cake is awesome though!
Be aware that as of a few weeks ago, DH cake mixes have been certified kosher dairy. (I didn't read the ingredients but presumably that means they are no longer vegan.) Notice also that although there are no dairy ingredients listed for Softasilk cake flour, it is now marked kosher dairy and has a note that there may be traces of soy, nuts, or milk, so that is not vegan either.
My box of Softasilk says contains wheat; may contain milk, egg, and soybean. Wonder if they could be produced at different plants if the other says it may contain nuts? The new allergen labeling law that goes into effect in January 2006 for the US is going to make things a lot more confusing...I wonder if companies will just put "may contain xxx allergens" just so they can avoid lawsuits? Or will the FDA have some control over that?
BTW, some of the margarines that are listed as Kosher Parve/vegan may be produced on shared equipment with dairy-containing margarine.
From what I've read, parve products simply indicate that the ingredients of that product don't have a dairy component, but don't indicate shared equipment status. They run one product at the beginning of the week, clean the machines (supposedly under rabinnical supervision), then do the other product. The only way to know if your margarine doesn't contain any traces of dairy is to call the manufacturer (at least until the new labels come out). Under Jewish law some traces of dairy may be allowed like in the case of shared equipment. (see faan.org) Fleischmann's unsalted margarine is made on dedicated equipment, if this helps.
The old boxes of Softasilk have an OU on the front at the bottom. That is a U with an O around it. Ut just says "contains wheat" under the ingredients. The newer boxes have an OU followed by a D which stands for dairy. Those are the ones which say they may contain nuts, soy, and dairy. (Since I didn't want dairy flour, I didnt' buy any, so it says whatever you said it says) Check what symbol is on the box you have.
Actually, for something to be pareve, it shouldn't be produced on shared equipment, or sometimes the cerifying agency may allow that if the equipment is thoroughly steam-cleaned in between runs. Generally, if something is produced on shared equipment it has a designation of DE which means dairy equipment.
If it were true that equipment could be just and shared, I wouldn't have to have two sets of everything including dish drainers and towels at my house, to separate meat and milk, plus a separte set of things to use for pareve.
Well, since the FDA does not regulate kosher status - it is merely trying to regulate ingredient components for public safety now that allergies are on the rise - kosher labels are not always up to date/accurate and different kosher certification authorities have different standards for kosher items. Oreo cookies may or may not contain dairy - it depends on which plant manufactured them - but the kosher label is the same on both packages. Somewhere on the web I saw a kosher recall list - it may turn up if you google for it - but these products are still on the shelves everywhere. Earth Balance will admit when you call them that their product is run on shared equipment, cleaned under supervision, with allergen testing - and it is labeled Parve and 100% vegan. The trace amounts of dairy from shared equipment are not a matter of life and death for people following kosher/vegan diets - unless they have a severe allergy and carry an Epipen. I think the shared equipment situation is really a matter of economics - and not really trying to deceive anyone (some rabbi said it way okay somewhere along the line) - just offering more choices of kosher products and having them available in the more places since the number of dedicated-line parve products would be far fewer. What is interesting is that the new allergen labelling will bring this all out in the open. Parve status will be easier to identify and more closely scrutinized by those who follow strict kosher diets. Special diet restrictions are tough enough to follow no matter what angle you are approaching them from.
I just posted my favorite vegan cake recipe so I would sugest trying it and email me if you have any questions. email@example.com
For icing I use buttercream made with 1/4 Earth Balance Margirine and 3/4 Spectrum non-hydrogonated shortning. If she's strict about vegan sugar you have to use one of the organic brands that states that they are vegan. Beware that the PS might not be as fine as you are used to so test it out, and maybe put it in your food processor for a while. Fordia cystals claims to be 10x (the finest gound you can get) but I haven't tried them yet.
Here are two web sites that might help: http://www.veganessentials.com/catalog/hain-organic-powdered-sugar.htm
For other cake recipies and other helpful stuff go to www.vegweb.com its a great site.