Table of contents
Embrace the winter charm with a delightful afternoon ritual of sipping tea or coffee alongside a scrumptious slice of this gluten-free and vegan sponge cake.
Crafting this gluten-free and vegan sponge cake recipe was truly a labor of love, taking almost two years to perfect. The challenge arose from my desire to create a cake that was not only free of gluten but also completely vegan, catering to the needs of my vegan friends and family.
The journey to achieving the perfect texture was not without its obstacles. Most internet recipes were gluten-free but relied on eggs for that sought-after fluffiness in cakes. Determined to create a plant-based alternative, I fearlessly embarked on the quest, delving into baking experimentation.
While the recipe may appear a bit daunting at first glance, fear not. Once you familiarize yourself with the key components, their preparation, and usage, you’ll discover they are surprisingly simple. Moreover, you can prepare these elements well in advance, storing them in the refrigerator for up to ten days, making your baking endeavors all the more convenient.
Gluten-free Flour Mix
For this recipe, whose purpose is to create a dough that is as smooth and fluffy as possible, somewhat independent of its glycemic load, I have mainly used white rice flour, which is very neutral in flavor and non-allergenic. Additionally, I used cornstarch (cornflour) or tapioca starch (cassava starch), which contribute great flexibility and fluffiness to gluten-free doughs. Lastly, I added a bit of corn flour, which you can replace with very fine almond flour without the skin. The latter enhances the texture and consistency of the dough.
I always suggest trying the recipe as indicated first, so you can see the result, and then making any variations you deem appropriate according to your personal taste. If you have any doubts, comments, or suggestions, feel free to leave them down here. I’ll be happy to respond.
Binding Agent (Psyllium Husk)
In my pursuit of the perfect gluten-free vegan sponge cake, I initially crafted a blend of three distinct binding agents, each contributing unique benefits to the dough’s texture. These treats earned praise from all who indulged. However, in the spirit of simplification, I decided to narrow it down to the one that, in my experience, yields exceptional results across all dough types – psyllium, a remarkable plant fiber.
Not only does psyllium exhibit an impressive binding effect, but it also imparts the dough with an unrivaled texture, viscosity, and flexibility. As a bonus, being a plant fiber, it offers significant digestive support, promoting a healthy intestinal transit.
To ensure the utmost success with this recipe, I recommend using the powdered version of psyllium, opting for the finest grind available. Should you find yourself with a coarser ground psyllium, adjustments will be necessary, as the quantity required may differ. Due to the variability in coarseness levels, it is challenging for me to provide an exact measurement. Nevertheless, fret not, for experimentation holds the key. Gradually test and adapt until you strike the perfect balance.
Sugar vs Sweeteners
The recipe is originally designed with sugar, but you have the freedom to substitute it with your preferred sweetener. I’ve personally tried Erythritol and Allulose as replacements, and they both work well. However, it’s essential to research the proper proportions to avoid ending up with a taste that’s overly sweet or lacking in sweetness.
Personally, I opt to use a slightly reduced amount of sugar, sacrificing a bit of sweetness rather than resorting to artificial sweeteners. I’ve experienced negative effects on my digestive system from such sweeteners, and I’ve come across numerous articles highlighting potential harm they may cause to our bodies. The history of saccharin and aspartame consumption serves as a cautionary tale, and I believe it’s best to be cautious about the impact of recently introduced sweeteners as well. Rather than risking unknown consequences, I prefer to steer clear of artificial sweeteners. For more information on this topic, you can find additional details in this link.
The Tangzhong Technique
Tangzhong, a simple yet effective Japanese bread-making technique, works wonders in creating fluffy and soft dough while retaining precious moisture and extending its freshness. Known as the “cooked starch” method in the West, it involves a straightforward process of mixing 100 grams of flour with 500 ml of water, cooking it over medium heat until a porridge-like consistency forms. This transformation occurs when the starch gelatinizes at around 65°C (150°F), so it’s crucial not to overcook or allow it to boil, as this would impede its magic.
To incorporate this technique into my baking routine, I prepare Tangzhong using white rice flour once a week and store it in the refrigerator. With a shelf life of up to 10 days, it becomes a convenient addition to various bread recipes. My preparation involves whisking continuously until the desired texture is achieved, ensuring it does not surpass 70°C (160°F). Typically, this process takes just 3 to 5 minutes. If you only require a smaller quantity, following the 1:5 ratio will yield excellent results.
Flaxseed Gel as a Substitute for Eggs
Discover another remarkable technique that works wonders in numerous bread and cake doughs, infusing them with unparalleled flexibility and fluffiness. My journey to uncover this gem began when I sought potential alternatives for eggs or egg whites, and this exceptional method caught my attention. While it may not create meringues like aquafaba, it certainly elevates the texture of the dough to delightful heights. The best part? You can conveniently prepare this key ingredient in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 10 days without any hassle.
To create the magical gel, simply combine flaxseeds with water at a precise ratio of 1:15 – that’s 15 ml of water for every 1 gram of flaxseeds. For instance, 50 grams of flaxseeds would require 750 ml of water. As the mixture simmers in a pot over medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, stir diligently until it transforms into a gel-like consistency. Promptly strain the hot gel through a stainless steel strainer into a glass jar, refrigerating it once it cools down. As for the flaxseeds, you can choose to either discard them or store them in water in the refrigerator for future use in bread-making or other recipes. However, do note that attempting to reconstitute the gel from these seeds won’t yield favorable results – I’ve tried and learned the hard way 🙁
- A crucial tip: Strain the gel while it’s still hot, as it takes on a viscous texture akin to egg whites when cooled. If you happen to over-gelatinize it (turning it hard like jelly) during the cooling process, it means it was boiled for too long. In such cases, I recommend starting anew, as attempts to salvage it with boiling water rarely turn out well. The ideal texture should be pleasantly viscous but not overly firm.
- Surprisingly, this flaxseed gel finds unconventional uses beyond the kitchen. Many online recipes tout its benefits as a hair gel, particularly for those with curly hair, to enhance their lovely curls. While it may have grossed me out a bit, I must confess my hair did benefit from its nourishing and silky effects. Oh, the things we try in the name of discovery!
In my delightful recipes for sweet doughs, including this gluten-free and vegan sponge cake, I typically rely on the natural goodness of 6% apple cider vinegar to act as a preservative. This wonder ingredient elevates the dough’s acidity, effectively warding off premature spoilage. Moreover, with the addition of lemon or orange juice in this particular recipe, the natural citric acid content further extends the cake’s shelf life, depending on ambient conditions like temperature and humidity.
Some individuals opt for 0.2% potassium sorbate or sorbic acid to prolong the product’s freshness for up to 15 days. However, I personally adhere to the belief that when preparing baked goods for home consumption, there’s no need to resort to chemical agents. These additives, often found in commercial bread and pastries, can potentially disrupt your gut flora, leading to long-term health concerns with continuous consumption.
As you can see in the recipe below, there are also some additional ingredients that don’t require too much explanation, but here’s a brief detail:
- Salt: It is an optional ingredient that enhances the flavor of the dough.
- Baking powder and baking soda: These chemical agents play a crucial role in ensuring sufficient rise. It’s essential to use a slightly higher amount than usual for this particular type of dough. Incorporating both baking soda and baking powder is key, as they work in tandem to create the perfect outcome. While baking soda reacts with the lemon juice’s acidity during mixing, baking powder unleashes its magic when exposed to the heat of the oven. To preserve the cake’s taste and quality, opt for aluminum-free baking powder, preventing any unwanted alterations to its delightful flavors..
- Turmeric powder: A mere pinch of this ingredient is employed, imparting a lovely hue to the dough without altering its flavor.
- Coconut oil: This multi-functional ingredient serves two vital purposes: acting as an emulsifying agent for the dough and preserving essential moisture. Without it, the cake would risk becoming overly dry and brittle.
If you’re eager to delve deeper into the world of gluten-free flours, binders, and other essential ingredients I use in my recipes, I invite you to explore my comprehensive bread guide. You can access it through the following link. Also available through Amazon.
Now that we’ve clarified all the ingredients, it’s time to embark on the exciting journey of crafting this recipe. I sincerely hope you give it a try and relish every delightful bite. Should you have any questions, comments, or constructive feedback, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comment section below. May this treat bring joy to your heart and be savored with your cherished loved ones. Enjoy!
Gluten-free and Vegan Sponge Cake Recipe.
Gluten-free and vegan Sponge Cake – with a Citrus Twist
- 1 Digital kitchen scale
- 1 Medium-sized pot for preparing the Tangzhong. You can prepare it in advance, see notes in the article.
- 1 Plastic or stainless steel strainer, medium or large-sized.
- 2 Bowls for 1.5 kg (~3.3 lbs). One for dry ingredients and another for liquids.
- 1 Manual whisk. Alternatively, you can use a fork.
- 1 Cake mold, 20 cm (~8 inches) in size. It's important that it can hold 1.2 kg (~ 3 lbs) of batter.
- 1 1 kg cake doily (optional). or parchment paper to line the mold.
- 1 Rubber spatula
- 160 g White Rice Flour
- 130 g Cornstarch (or potato starch or tapioca)
- 30 g Corn flour (not the pre-cooked variety used for arepas.)
- 1 g Table Salt (⅙ tsp)
- 9 g Baking Powder (aluminum-free)
- 4 g Baking Soda
- 5 g Psyllium Husk (powder)
- 1 g Turmeric Powder (⅙ tsp)
- 130 g Sugar (or 13 gr of Allulose or 160 gr of Erythritol)
- 130 g Tangzhong. See preparation in the post notes.
- 90 g Flaxseed Gel. See preparation in the post notes
- 50 g Liquid Coconut Oil
- 60 ml Lemon or Orange Juice
- 1 tbs Lemon or Orange Zest
- 40 ml Plant-based Milk
- Before you begin, ensure you have all the ingredients and materials ready (Mise en place). Then, preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F) to start the heating process.
- Get the cake mold ready by greasing it with oil and lightly dusting it with rice flour. For added convenience, you may use a parchment cake liner or parchment paper. In that case, make sure to grease the inside of the liner to prevent sticking. If your mold is non-stick, you can skip this step altogether.
- Start by setting a bowl and a strainer on the digital kitchen scale, then reset it to zero before you proceed to weigh the dry ingredients.
- Sift all the dry ingredients, except for the sugar, through the strainer, and remember to reset the scale after each ingredient to weigh the next one.
- Incorporate all the dry ingredients (flours, starches, salt, binders, leaveners, spices, and dry flavorings) thoroughly in the bowl using a manual whisk.
- In a separate bowl, combine the sugar with the Tangzhong, flaxseed gel, and all the liquid ingredients. Whisk the mixture thoroughly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Gently pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold them together. Gradually increase the vigor of your mixing to ensure full integration of all the ingredients. You'll observe that the mixture thickens rapidly as you blend.
- Ensure the batter has a smooth and viscous consistency that can be easily poured into the mold. If it appears too thick, it could be due to a shortage of liquid (plant-based milk) or an excess of some dry ingredients. In such a situation, simply add a little more milk and mix thoroughly until you achieve the desired texture.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the greased mold and gently tap the mold on the table a few times to eliminate any trapped air bubbles and create an even surface.
- Pop the mold into the preheated oven and bake for around 45 minutes.
- Once 45 minutes have elapsed, perform a simple test by inserting a wooden stick into the cake; if it emerges dry, the cake is perfectly baked and ready to be taken out. If not, allow it to remain in the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- When the stick comes out dry, turn off the oven, but keep the door slightly ajar to allow the cake to cool inside for approximately half an hour. Afterward, take the cake out of the oven, gently remove it from the mold, and let it cool further on a pastry rack if available.
What do you think of this recipe?
Have you tried it yet?
You can leave a comment or suggestions down below.
You can also rate the recipe by marking the stars.