V for Life

Preheat your oven: National Cake Day 26 November

Posted by Claire on 30/11/23 in Recipes

National Cake Day is coming up on 26 November and we’re already getting excited to celebrate.

This National Cake Day, make, bake, eat and share the recipe for your favourite cake with your friends and family. It’s the perfect occasion to enjoy and devour a mouth-watering delight.

Whether you like something rich and chocolatey, or fruity, or with lots of layers, our chefs have selected some of their favourite bakes to share with you to give you some inspiration for your celebrations.

Cake is a great way to bring people together and our featured bakes are vegan, to help you make your celebrations more inclusive for veg*ns and those following a special diet for religious reasons, or those with egg or dairy allergies.

Our Lemon Drizzle Cake is a lovely lemony sponge, topped with a sweet and sharp drizzle. Totally tasty. For a twist on this classic, our Lemon and Courgette Cake is a recipe that is as surprising as it is satisfying. Chef Justina says: “I’m really fond of the courgette variation. It’s extra moist and I like that it can be made all year round. It’s perfect for seasonal baking in the summer to use up extra courgettes and is delicious for a picnic treat.”

A Great British classic, the Victoria Sponge, is the queen of cakes – and the perfect centrepiece for any traditional afternoon tea. Our recipe combines light sponge, jam and buttercream, ideal alongside some finger sandwiches or a pot of tea. Chef Ollie says: “I love the sweet combination of jam and cream with light sponge.”

If you are new to vegan baking, our Carrot Cake is a great place to start. Our simple recipe uses walnuts for crunch and flavour, with a lovely warmth coming through in the cinnamon and ginger. It’s topped with vegan cream cheese frosting and decorated with a crown of orange zest. This bake is a firm favourite with VfL chefs. Ollie says: "I'm a big fan of carrot cake; I love the blend of spices." Justina adds: "Carrot cakes are the best! Adds to your five a day, rich, moist and topped with frosting and is to die for. Also amazing with a big mug of coffee. You could also swap the carrot with parsnips for something a little different." Chef Alex reminises: "Carrot cake is a family favourite for me. It gives me a real sense of nostalgia and takes me back to my childhood, baking with my mum."

Chocolate and orange is a classic dessert combination, and this superb decadent bake Chocolate Orange Cake is great to showcase that rich flavour that we all know and love. Adding fresh orange zest into the filling and topping ensures the flavour is consistent throughout the whole cake. Claire says: “This is my favourite cake, it's really indulgent and special. I like to make this for a birthday cake for the chocoholics in my family.”

Chefs' Top Tips for Perfect Sponge and Cake:

  • No one likes a heavy, dense sponge, so it's vital that you incorporate and retain as much air as possible.
  • Most sponges use the creaming method, when softened butter and sugar are beaten together until pale and fluffy. Creaming well creates pockets of air, which results in a lighter cake mixture.
  • Sifting your flour into the butter will aerate it, therefore getting more air into the mixture. It is important to gently fold the flour into the mixture using a large metal spoon, just until it is blended together though – don't over mix. This will ensure that as much of the air as possible stays in.
  • The baking powder will begin to take effect as soon as it comes into contact with liquid, so it's important that you get the mixture into the oven quickly, once the flour is added.
  • Bring your mixing bowl as close to the cake tins as possible when dividing the mixture into them. Dropping it in from a height will destroy the fragile air structure within the sponge mixture.

If you overbake your sponge, it will become dry. If you underbake your sponge, it will sink in the middle. So here is how to know when your cake is ready:

  • The sponge will begin to come away from the edges of the tin.
  • It smells like cake.
  • Your sponge should be springy but firm to the touch.
  • When a skewer is inserted into the middle of your sponge, it should come out clean.

It's important to bake your cake on the centre shelf in a preheated oven and to keep the oven door closed. Do not open the oven door to check your sponge until at least 20 minutes into the baking. If the oven door is opened too early, the cake won't have had time to set and will sink in the middle.

If you love chocolate and are looking for a no-bake cake, our Chocolate Cheesecake is ideal. You can add extra flavours such as ginger, vanilla, mint, orange or cardamom. Justina says: "I like cheesecakes because they are easy to prepare and are ideal for those who need extra calories and nutrition in their diet. A delicious treat that helps maintain calorie levels in a super tasty way."

You will find more bakes in our Vegan Baking Guide along with hints and tips for successful cakes and bakes with our easy-to-follow egg replacement guide; tips from our Roving Chefs; and simple swaps for egg- and dairy-free baking.

Happy baking!


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