Vegan Vanilla Bean Cake with Caramel Filling
Welcome to my blog. Or should I say: welcome back to my blog! (she says, very poorly trying to imitate Jeffree Star’s inflection). Yes, yes, I know you missed me terribly. I took a bit of a break from posting (understatement), but now that I’ve got more free time I’ve decided to come back and torment you with more food porn. Feel free to applaud now, I’ll wait.
‘Kay, moving along. Let’s talk about cake, which we all know is the real reason you clicked on this post.
I originally created this recipe when making wedding cake samples for a friend. My designated recipe tasters ended up absolutely loving this cake. So, I figured with me being the ever so gracious and benevolent wannabe food blogger I am, I would share it with all of you. You’re welcome.
So, this cake is a magnificent three-layer vanilla bar cake that is filled with a creamy caramel filling and vanilla bean buttercream. The cake itself is so tender and fluffy that you could almost swear it came from a boxed mix, but without the cloyingly artificial flavor. When combined with a salted caramel cream and creamy vanilla frosting… There are no words.
I decorated it with some sprinkles and little gold fondant leaves, because fall. The gold leaves were just made by rolling out white fondant and then using little leaf cookie cutters to cut out the shapes. I used a veining tool to make the pattern, but you could also use a small knife. I then painted them with a mix of vodka and luster dust before letting them dry overnight. The leaf decorations are obviously totally optional but adds a little extra pizzazz if you’re feeling fancy.
Yup. This is the real deal, my friends. It doesn’t taste at all vegan; you could probably even fool your snobby friends and family members that make jokes about vegan food tasting like cardboard. This ought to shut them up.
Because, seriously, who wouldn't want to eat this cake?
Crazy people, that’s who.
Alright, I’ll shut up now. Let’s get to that recipe.
P.S. You can make this into a normal, round cake if you want. Just divide the batter among three 8 inch round cake pans. You may need to adjust the bake time accordingly. I just made it in a sheet pan, because… I don’t really know why. I guess I just like perfectly square slices of cake. Don’t question my logic, capiche?
P.S.S. If you make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram @bitchy_baker or use the hashtag #BitchyBaker so I can see your creations!
P.S.S.S. There’s really nothing to say here. I just felt like being annoying.
Vegan Vanilla Bean Cake with Caramel Filling
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup soy milk (see notes)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups white sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon LorAnn Butter Vanilla Baking Emulsion (optional, but gives the cake a good flavor)
¾ cup aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas)
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a half-sheet pan (roughly 11x7 inches) by spraying with non-stick spray and lining with parchment before spraying again.
Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt before whisking to combine. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Allow to set until it curdles and thickens. Add in the sugar, oil, vanilla, and optional butter vanilla flavoring. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Add the flour mixture into the wet mixture in two batches. Combine thoroughly, but don’t over-mix.
In another bowl, whip the aquafaba with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. You can do this in either a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. This could take up to 10 minutes depending on your mixer. Once you’ve achieved stiff peaks, fold about half of the aquafaba into the batter until it’s almost a homogeneous mixture. Then add in the remaining meringue and carefully fold it into the batter, try not to deflate it too much.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan, spread evenly to the edges. Bake at 350 F on a center rack for 25-30 minutes. Begin checking the cake around 20 minutes to check doneness. The cake should be firm in the center and spring back when touched. You can also check by inserting a toothpick in the center to see if it comes out cleanly or with just a few crumbs. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Note: In my experience, soy milk works best due to its higher protein and fat content. If you would prefer to avoid soy milk, I would recommend using something like Silk Protein and Nut milk since its protein/fat content is comparable. If you can’t find this product you can definitely try other substitutes, but check the label to make sure it has a decent amount of protein and fat in it.
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup golden syrup (see note)
1 cup vegan butter (I like Miyoko’s or Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1 3/4 cups condensed coconut milk (see note)
A hefty pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1 teaspoon caramel flavoring (not necessary, but gives great flavor)
Heat brown sugar, golden syrup, butter, coconut milk, and salt over medium heat until melted and thoroughly combined. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and allow to boil for exactly five minutes. Allow to cool slightly before stirring in vanilla and optional caramel extract. When cooled enough, transfer filling to a Tupperware container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before using.
Note #1: I used the brand Lets Do… Organic for the condensed coconut milk. I’ve found this at most health food stores in my area. I’ve also seen this brand in stores and online. If you’re unable to find condensed coconut milk, you can make your own using a recipe such as this one.
Note #2: You can substitute corn syrup in place of golden syrup. I imagine brown rice syrup would work as well, although I haven’t tried it. You could possibly even use agave or maple syrup, but these are much thinner in texture, so the end result might be too runny to use as a cake filling. If you do try either of those, be sure to report back with your results!
Vanilla Bean Frosting:
1 cup room-temperature vegan butter (I like Miyoko’s or Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk of choice
2 heaping teaspoons vanilla bean paste
A good pinch of salt
Cream butter in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar, alternating with small splashes of milk between additions. Add more powdered sugar or milk if necessary to achieve your desired consistency. I like mine to be thick and spreadable. Finally, whip in vanilla and salt. Set aside until ready to use.
Assembling the Cake:
Note: Ideally I like to partially freeze or refrigerate the cake before assembling. It’s much easier to work with since it firms up substantially.
1. Turn cake out onto a parchment covered work space. Trim off edges; you can set them aside for snacks, I like to use them for cake pops/cake truffles. Cut the sheet cake crosswise into three even pieces.
2. Spread an even layer of vanilla frosting on top of the first cake layer. Carefully pipe or spread a thick layer of the caramel filling on top of the frosting.
3. Lay the next layer of cake on top of the caramel, repeat previous step before adding on the final layer of cake.
4. Finish the top of the cake with a final layer of frosting.
5. Trim the edges of the cake to even them up if desired.
Decorate as desired. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve at room temperature.