I really didn't want to go down the "pretend egg" route so looked for some tried and tested recipes out there. Needless to day there was a lot of sampling going on in my house in the month leading up to the birthday. I tried a chocolate cupcake recipe which stuck to the roof of your mouth, then kind of dissolved into a sticky mess in your throat. I tried a vanilla cake recipe that looked and tasted like a pancake. It was an improvement on the chocolate attempt but was hardly birthday-cake worthy. I was beginning to think I might have bitten off more than I could chew (pun completely intended) when I googled "egg substitutes" and found this page. I pulled out my beloved Golden Circle copy of Cooking: a common sense guide, and picked out a simple butter cake recipe and egg- and dairy-free'd it. My plan was to start at the top of the egg-substitute list and work down until something resembled a cake in taste and texture. Fortunately for me, the first on the list worked a treat (I crack myself up). The resulting recipe looked like this:
- 125g Nuttelex (sunflower based butter/margarine substitute)
- 3/4 cup raw caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder + 3 tbsp water + 3 tbsp sunflower oil (to replace 2 eggs)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups self raising flour
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 60g Nuttelex
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond essence
- Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line 20cm round cake tin.
- Cream Nuttelex and sugar using an electric mixer until light. Mix baking powder, water & oil in a bowl then add to butter mixture gradually, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla essence and beat to combine.
- Transfer mixture into a large bowl. Fold in the sifted flour alternately with the milk. Stir until just combined. Spoon into the tin and bake for 45 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool a little then turn onto a wire rack.
- To make the buttercream, beat Nuttelex and sifted icing sugar with an electric mixer until light & creamy. Add the almond essence and beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over the cold cake and decorate as desired.
The cut parts of the cake (the inside edges of the number 3) were difficult to ice, and I used a flat tip on my piping bag and piped in strips so as not to agitate the cake crumb. This looked a little bit dodgy but less dodgy than having cake crumb strewn through the icing.
Even the little coloured balls on top were egg-, dairy-, soy- and everything else-free.
My friend's little girl enjoyed her cake, but has since removed gluten from her diet in an attempt to get a handle on food intolerances. This is a challenge I am yet to have much success with! If anyone has any egg-, dairy- and gluten-free recipes that are tasty and don't dry out within hours of baking, I'm all ears.