It is true that it is not easy to find vegan cakes in shops but there are still options for those with a sweet tooth, and cakes can always be made.
Fruit strudels – found in the supermarket freezer sections – are often vegan and you will find dairy-free ice cream in the same place. Usually this is made by Swedish Glace and will be vanilla, chocolate or strawberry flavoured, although you will find other brands and flavours in health food shops.
In supermarkets you may also find Mrs Crimble cakes (stem ginger and Dutch apple) and, in the Free From section, you are likely to find vegan chocolate and caramel desserts made by Alpro, as well as custard and soya cream. You may also find chocolate bars and buttons.
For those who love chocolate, the Animal Aid online shop has a host of options, and sells fudge, coconut ice, cola bottles and other delicious sweet treats, too, but you will also find some in high street shops and supermarkets.
For biscuit-lovers, Sainsburys and the Co-op make things easy by labelling which are vegan. Otherwise Hobnobs, ginger nuts and bourbons tend to be fine (just check the label). The Blackfriars flapjacks sold in Holland and Barrett are also labelled, and there are several vegan varieties. Health food stores also sell vegan cheesecakes, and these can be found in the freezer section.
If you can’t find what you want, sometimes you just need to make it. Order the Cake Scoffer from Animal Aid for just £1.50 plus p&p to get you started or, for something more, try Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which costs £9.99 plus p&p.
Pies and crumbles can be made in the same way, using dairy-free margarine instead of butter. And here are three of our favourite recipes to get you started:
See Easy-to-make chocolate cake recipe, and simply omit the cocoa powder
- 1 punnet of strawberries
- 1 banana
- 100g dairy-free dark chocolate
- 1x 85g packet of vegan strawberry jelly crystals
- 525g soya custard
- Make the trifle base by following the Easy-to-make chocolate cake recipe and leaving out the cocoa powder.
- When cool, slice the sponge cake into ‘fingers’ and place them in a layer at the bottom of the bowl.
- Wash and remove any stalks and leaves from the strawberries, then arrange them in a layer of strawberries over the sponge cake.
- Prepare jelly according to the instructions on the packet, and pour it over the strawberries and sponge. Leave it to cool and then place it in fridge until the jelly has set.
- Once set, cut up the banana and arrange it on top of the jelly and then cover with custard. Take the chocolate bar and use a vegetable peeler to grate chocolate swirls for the top.
- 110g self-raising flour
- 50g sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100ml water
- 60ml vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- Put the flour, sugar and baking powder in an 18cm Pyrex bowl and mix well. Stir in the water and oil to form a smooth batter. Pour the syrup in the middle of the mixture (it should sink to the bottom).
- Cover bowl with microwave-proof cling-film. Microwave on high for approx 4 mins.
- Leave to stand for a few mins, then turn out onto a plate and serve with dairy-free cream or custard.
Try with jam or marmalade instead of golden syrup. You can also add a few chopped up dates or raisins to the batter.
It is also useful as a sponge base. Just microwave batter mix without adding syrup or jam, allow to cool and use sponge for trifles, etc.
- 500ml soya yoghurt
- 3 medium-sized bananas – peeled and chopped
- 1 large (or 2 small) ripe mangoes – peeled, stoned and chopped
- 2 heaped tbsp raisins (optional)
- 2 heaped tbsp sunflower seeds
- Purée the mango and banana in a liquidiser. If too dry/stiff to liquidise, add a little soya milk.
- Put the soya yoghurt in a large bowl and add the fruit purée. Stir in the raisins and sunflower seeds.
- Divide between four bowls or glasses and serve with dairy-free ice cream.
If you can’t get a decent mango, try grapes, kiwis, or summer fruits such as strawberries and/or raspberries instead. Banana is a crucial part of this recipe as it adds bulk, texture and, of course, taste.
- 200g vegan dark chocolate
- 440g tin chestnut puree
- 3 tbsp rum or brandy
- A little dairy-free margarine
- Candied chestnuts (optional)
- Glacé cherries (optional)
- Dairy-free cream or ice cream
- Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of boiling water or in a microwave.
- When melted remove from heat, then add chestnut puree and stir in the rum.
- Grease a pudding basin with a little dairy-free margarine and fill with the mixture. Smooth the top, cool, then chill in fridge until needed.
- Turn out onto a plate, coat with grated chocolate, candied chestnuts or glacé cherries. Serve with dairy-free cream or ice cream.
Recipe by Mary Scott Morgan.
This dessert is best made a day in advance.
- 1 loaf of thick-slice, soft, white bread
- 250g strawberries
- 100ml orange juice
- 1 largo mango – peeled and stoned
- 1 papaya – peeled and de-seeded
- 1 x 400g tin of lychees – drain and keep juice aside (if using fresh lychees, use 10-15 skinned and stoned)
- 1 tsp sugar – but leave out if using tinned lychees
- Carton of dairy-free cream or ice cream
- Use either a pudding bowl or 4 separate ramekins.
- Blend the strawberries to a pulp (with the sugar if not using tinned lychees) by mashing, or in a food processor, and mix in the orange juice. Cut up the rest of the fruit into small pieces and set aside.
- Remove the crusts and dip slices of the bread into the strawberry/orange mix. Line the pudding basin or ramekins with the dipped bred, overlapping slices to ensure all of the basin sides and bottom are covered. Pour in the chopped fruit mix and cover the top with slices of the strawberry/orange juice bread.
- Place a plate on the pudding basin and weigh it down with something heavy (such as a full food tin or proper kitchen weight). Leave overnight in the fridge so that all the flavours mull and the basin shape will hold.
- To turn out: take off weight and plate, place the serving dish you wish to display your pudding on over the pudding basin, hold tightly and turn over. Very carefully lift off basin and hopefully, your fruit-soaked bread pudding will ease out and keep its shape.
- Slice and serve with the dairy-free cream or ice cream.
Alternative fruit suggestions include kiwi fruit and pomegranates.