Dairy Free Baking
Dairy free baking is actually quite straightforward. In normal baking, butter is used as the fat, and there are plenty of vegetable fat alternatives, you just need to know which one to use when.
Hummingbird “sandy consistency” cupcakes
This method calls for the butter, sugar and flour to be mixed together using an electric mixer until it comes to a sandy consistency. Here, I think it’s quite important to use a fat which has a similar consistency to butter. Something like Stork, Trex or goat’s butter work well.
Hummingbird Vanilla Cupcakes, makes 12
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar 1 ½ tsp baking powder 40g butter, or vegetable fat such as Trex 120ml whole milk or Soya/Almond milk 1 eggs ½ tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Line a muffin tin with cases. Preheat the oven to 170° or 150° for a fan oven. Put the flour, baking powder, caster sugar, salt and butter or fat in a large bowl and beat with a hand held electric whisk, on a slow to medium speed, until you get a sandy consistency. Beat the egg and vanilla extract with the milk then gradually pour this into the mixture and beat until it is just combined and the mixture is smooth, don’t overmix it.Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and golden.
Creaming the butter and sugar
Again, the firm consistency of butter and it’s ability to take a beating are important here, so I’d recommend a firm vegetable fat, like Stork, Trex, Cookeen etc. You could also try Coconut oil.
Devil’s Food Cake layer cake,
225g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g cocoa powder
125g butter (or butter alternative, I used Trex)
250g light brown muscovado sugar
250ml milk (or milk alternative, I used lactofree whole milk)
1 tbsp lemon juice
40ml red food colouring (preferably Dr Oetker)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease two 20cm cake tins and line the bases with baking paper.
Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a bowl. Cream together the butter (or Trex) and half the sugar until light and fluffy, you really can’t overdo this part. Beat the eggs, and very gradually add them to the creamed butter. Then add the remainder of the sugar. If it looks like the mixture is curdling and not taking all the eggs, you can add some of the sugar before all the egg has been added. Mix the milk with the lemon juice to sour it, and stir in the red food colouring. Alternately add a quarter of the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the creamed butter. The mixture should be moussey but not stiff. Pour into the tins and level the surface of both. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until risen, springy to the touch and slightly coming away from the sides. Cool the cakes in the tins for about 10 minutes, then upturn the cakes onto a wire rack to cool.
Occasionally, the simplest way to make a cake is to use equal quantities of everything and put it all in a mixer at the same time. For this, a soft spread is fine, such as Pure or any sunflower spread.
A two layer, 3 egg sponge cake, Serves 12
3 eggs, weighed. Approx 165g.
165g self raising flour
165g caster sugar
165g butter or Trex
½tsp baking powder
½tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
drop of milk or soya milk
Line two 19cm sandwich tins. The method is literally to put all the ingredients, apart from the milk, in your food mixer and turn it on. Add a drop or two of milk to give it a nice smooth texture and continue mixing it until light and smooth. Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes until risen, golden brown and just coming away from the edges.
Dairy Free Frosting
I have to give credit to The Vanilla Duck for solving my dairy free frosting woes. The trouble with a dairy free spread, like Pure, is that it can easily split due to the high levels of water in it. The solution? Trex. The miracle ingredient in dairy free frosting. It’s just vegetable fat, and I’m sure you could use other brands, but I’m sticking to what works. I use half Trex and half spread, and you honestly wouldn’t know it wasn’t butter. Because frosting is so sweet, it’s not really about the buttery taste. I recently found “buttery caramel” flavouring from Lakeland’s. A couple of drops of this and it enhances the buttery flavour, more than a couple of drops and you have caramel frosting… You can add other flavours like lemon or chocolate as well.
Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Frosting, makes enough to cover a two layer cake.
500g icing sugar
225g butter or Trex
50ml milk or milk alternative, eg almond milk or oat milk
1tsp vanilla bean paste
buttery flavouring (optional)
Beat together the butter and half the icing sugar, gradually add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until the mix comes together. Mix together the milk and the vanilla paste, and gradually dribble into the mixture. Add drops of flavouring. Beat until light and fluffy, about five minutes. If the frosting is too stiff, add a little more milk.
Happy Dairy Free Baking!