What do vegans eat? #2: Plant-based milk & cream

Even though you make a decision not to consume cow’s milk (or milk from any other animal), there are still a lot of types of milks out there to put on your cereal, to just drink or to use in cooking or baking. Plant-based milks can be used just like cow’s milk in pretty much any recipe. The same goes for plant-based creams.

There’s a whole bunch of different plant-based milks in the stores – the most common ones being soy-, oat-, rice- or almond-based – from different brands and with a little different flavor. Which one is the best is merely a question about taste, and of course what you plan to use the milk for. Finding your favorite is just a matter of trying different brands, since I have noticed different people prefer very different ones.

  • For drinking or putting in my coffee/chocolate drinks/smoothies I prefer sweetened milk. Usually we buy soy milk, but I also like almond milk for this purpose.
  • For cooking or baking using the unsweetened ones is usually better (in “emergency cases” when I don’t have unsweetened milk at home, I do use the sweetened one for this purpose as well), just for the sake that they don’t taste sweet. Here I like using oat- or soy-based milks.

The plant-based creams that can be found are usually based on soy, oat or rice. There are creams meant for cooking and baking, and also creams that can be whipped. Also here it is mainly a question of taste which is the best one, but I have my favorites:

  • For baking I like to use soy cream, since I have noticed it tends to give more moist cakes than when using for example oat cream.
  • For cooking I prefer oat cream, because it doesn’t have any after-taste, like the soy creams I have tried tend to have.
  • For whipping I usually use soy cream. I have tried using some different oat creams for this purpose as well, but their taste don’t suite me.

I decided not to mention any brands in this post even though I have my favorites. There are tons of different brands out there and their availability vary from country to country, here in Finland we have at least six different brands (probably more) of plant-based milk to choose from, so I’m sure you will be able to find your favorite among them.

Earlier in the “What do vegans eat?”- series:
#1: Tofu

My vegan cake recipe

Several people have recently requested my recipe for the cake I usually make during parties, so I thought I would put it up here. The recipe for the sponge cake I use as the base of the cake is originally in Swedish and comes from the book “Vadå Vegan?” by Lisa Gålmark.

Sponge cake

75 g dairy-free margarine
1,5 dl soy cream
2 dl sugar
3 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla sugar
1 dl soy milk

First, mix the margarine and soy cream with the sugar until the mixture is smooth. Mix baking powder, vanilla sugar and flour in a separate bowl and then add all the ingredients together. Add the soy milk and mix until smooth.

Grease a small baking pan with margarine and sprinkle flour on top so that the pan is covered. Shake out any extra flour left in the pan and then pour the batter into the pan. Bake in oven at 175 degrees celsius for 40-50 minutes.

Some small tips:
I usually put a little less than 2 dl of sugar (maybe 1½), since I don’t like the cake to be too sweet.
This makes quite a small cake, so if needed you can double the recipe. Then it might be good to use a bigger baking pan, since if the batter is too thick the cake might not bake in the middle.

vegan cream cake

Making it into a cream cake:

After the sponge cake is done, let it cool down properly before you cut it horizontally into two pieces (or more if it’s thick). Letting it cool makes it easier to cut since it’s less likely to break. Place one of the layers onto the plate you like to use for serving the cake. Use a little bit of soy milk and spread it over the cake to make it little moist, you will also do the same for the top layer. Make sure you don’t put too much, it’s best if you just use a baking brush to brush on a thin layer.

Between the layers you can put pretty much anything you like. I usually use a mix of strawberry jam and banana. If I have tree layers, I put jam in between one of the layers and mashed banana between the other, if I just have two layers I mix jam and banana together. However, you can use any jam you like, and probably it will also be fine to put some kind of vegan butter cream or something like that, but I haven’t tried this.

On top of the cake and on the sides I just spread a vegan whipped cream (the best one we have around here right now comes from Alpro Soya). I whip the cream with a few teaspoons of sugar and a little vanilla sugar. If you want to add some color to the cake you can probably add some food coloring to the cream (just make sure the coloring is vegan).

The decoration is my weakest side, I’m not that good at making beautiful cakes, just tasty ones! However, I usually use some kind of fruit or berry. My favorites are strawberry, kiwi and grapes. I also like using chocolate in some form. But here you can just let you imagination run wild. I don’t generally use decorations bought in the shop, since most of them include some kind of animal derived ingredient (usually gelatin, milk or colorings).

Baking frenzy

I don’t have that much inspiration or energy to write anything right now, but I’ve been baking a lot lately and I want to post some pictures.

vegan cream cake

For my fiancé’s birthday party yesterday I made my first ever cream cake. It turned out great, and I was quite surprised how easy it turned out to be to make it.

 

fastlagsbulle, laskiaispulla

Earlier this month we celebrated fastlagstidsdag/laskiaistiistai here in Finland, and this is the typical kind of sweet bun that we eat then, called fastlagsbulle or laskiaispulla. I hadn’t eaten these for a few years, since the ready-made ones you can buy in the store always have dairy cream on them and I’ve just been too busy, or too lazy, to make my own.

 

potato bread

Some time ago it also came into my mind to bake my own bread, and I’ve done that a few times now. I just love eating bread when it comes straight out of the oven. This one is called something like “Hungarian bread” (even though I have no idea if it actually is anything typically Hungarian about it), it has potatoes in it together with the flour, and it is really tasty when it is fresh.

If anyone is interested in the recipes, just tell me and I will post them.