The Hungry Engineer

The Dreaded Vegan Dessert

15 Sep 2008

When I initially reviewed Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, I was honestly intending to use it to help perk up our vegetable and side dish routine. With the recipes I’ve tried so far, I now have faith that I will be able to find plenty of recipes in that book that will provide us with wonderfully flavored vegetable and whole grain dishes. The one thing I was still uncertain of however was how the vegans managed their desserts.

To me, things like eggs and butter are pretty key to a great many desserts, and I wasn’t too sure about how things would turn out with substitutes for those two ingredients. I tried a recipe that should have had plenty of both of those things just to see how it’d work out – Vanilla-Yogurt Pound Cake. Instead of milk, the recipe called for vanilla soy milk. Soy yogurt was used instead of milk-based yogurt. Canola oil was used instead of butter. Here was the interesting one for me (and I confess, I’m making an assumption here) – the eggs were replaced by silken tofu. It would hold up the protein end of things for the eggs. And it would add some of the moisture that eggs would normally add. The other leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder) appear to have been increased somewhat to make up for the leavening the eggs would ordinarily have provided.

The preparation was actually even easier than a normal pound cake and the batter went together very quickly. I wound up baking the cake for about 65 minutes to get it cooked all the way through. Once the cake was properly cooled, I sliced off a piece and dug in. Even as I was slicing it, it was obvious that the cake was incredibly moist and dense, just as a pound cake should be. The flavors, helped along by vanilla, lemon, and orange extracts were really nice – perfect, in fact, with a cup of afternoon tea. My one real complaint is that it lacked the buttery richness I’ve come to expect of pound cake. That said, my arteries are probably much happier with the vegan version.

I know I’ve been putting all these vegan dishes through the “will my husband eat it” test. However, I cannot offer results of said this time because my spouse was TOO MUCH OF A WUSS to even try the cake. For my part, it was acceptably good. I’ll probably even make it again (though I’ll probably up the citrus content next time). While I definitely preferred the other recipes I’ve tried from Veganomicon to this one, it really wasn’t too bad. It scratched the dessert itch, and did so without a half dozen eggs and a stick of butter.

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