My First Daring Baker’s Challenge


Despite the veritable cornucopia of vegan foods available, many vegans find themselves rendering vegan many recipes from their pasts, things that we could refer to as comfort foods. Sometimes it’s a fairly easy exercise – swapping meat with a fancy rendering of tofu or seitan or tempeh – but sometimes veganizing something proves to be a wee bit more difficult, or at least, requiring a bit more imagination…

I happened upon The Daring Bakers, a fab group of blogging, whisk-wielding chefs, and realized right away that they were to offer me the challenge I was seeking : by accepting their monthly challenges, I would be forced to sharpen my vegan-baking skills, and would in the process learn how to better substitute all the things I avoid.

Our challenge recipe was for “Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake” from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours. The party cake sounded like a great, basic white cake recipe to use for birthday parties & the like, but my main task was to replace the 4 sticks of butter and 8 egg whites, and change up the cow’s milk for the soy milk. I know that there are oodles of already tried-and-true vegan cake recipes out there, but I wanted to stay as true to the real recipe as possible. I would have rather used an egg substitute like Ener-G for this particular cake because if would have helped with the “light & fluffyness” factor, but it’s unavailable where I live. I opted for ground flax seeds, which worked really well, and imparted a lovely soft “bananaish” flavour to the lemon-scented cake. I also had to cut way down on the butter – the recipe called for 1 stick – and I was really worried about the way the cake would turn out with these drastic changes, but I am happy to report it was absolutely delicious!

As you can see from the photo, the flax did change the color of the supposed-to-be- pristine-white party cake, and yes, it was more moist & dense than light & fluffy, but we devoured it! I also obviously had to tinker with the buttercream frosting recipe as it called for eggs and butter, and I only iced the top layer of the cake because it just would have been too much for us (I also added some yellow color for a bit more festivity since we used this cake for my super-cute visiting mom’s birthday cake). The lemon flavour worked so well with the raspberry preserves and the flaked coconut, and we all had seconds (and thirds…).

I almost backed out of my first challenge because I was concerned about deviating too much from the original recipe, but I am so glad I sucked it up and dove in. It was also extra fun because my mom and I baked this up (while my usual baking partner, the Guppy, took her nap). Don’t get me wrong, I love baking with my little Guppy, but I think it was the first time I ever did a baking project with my mom!

I’d like to say thanks to this month’s challenge host Morven for taking the time to choose this wonderfully challenging recipe which gave us room to groove and move in our own individual ways!