My vegan baking repertoire is practically nonexistent and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I had some preconceived ideas about how the end result would taste. Maybe I’m just too into butter! I took a chance on this eggless, and all-around dairy-less cake. My hopes weren’t very high, but I have to say it has quickly become one of my favorite cakes to make and eat!
I didn’t expect such a luscious texture from a cake with no eggs, butter or cow’s milk. Full-fat coconut milk and light vegetable oil do a great job of creating a soft crumb, and I love the subtle flavor the coconut milk imparts.
What do you think about the fluffy little lamb on top? This might make a cute Valentine’s Day cake, but I also think it’d be sweet for Easter or a baby shower.
I made the ‘wooly’ exterior with a candy molding technique that is totally new to me! I recently saw the technique in a craft book that was demonstrating how to make faux popcorn. Essentially, you fill a bowl with crushed ice and water, and then pipe dollops of candy on top. The crushed ice molds the candy into fluffy-looking pieces. Check out the tutorial and cake decorating guide below.
- Fill a bowl about halfway with crushed ice. Add water to fill the bowl 3/4 full.
- Melt candy discs (dairy-free for vegan) at 30 second intervals in the microwave. Transfer to a piping bag or zip-top bag with the corner snipped. Pipe nickel and dime-sized portions of candy on top of the ice. It will set almost immediately. Stir the candy into the ice so that it sinks to the bottom. Pipe more candy on top. Repeat until all the candy is used.
- Remove ice from the top of the bowl using a slotted spoon. Remove the candy in the same manner and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to dry completely. If the candy has any squiggly ‘arms’ from accidental candy drizzles, break them off.
- Meanwhile, knead together 1/4 cup of white and 1 tablespoon black ready-made fondant until a light grey color is achieved. (Satin Ice fondant is vegan.) Roll the piece flat between parchment and cut a 3-inch heart shape from the fondant (I used a cookie cutter).
- Place the fondant heart, off center, on top of the frosted cake. Place the candy fluffy-side-up around the heart, covering the entire top surface of the cake.
- Roll two small 1/2-inch pieces of leftover fondant into balls and push them onto the tips of two toothpicks, creating ‘ears’ for the lamb.
- Push the toothpicks into the cake on either side of the heart shape. Use black food color (undiluted) and a fine art brush to draw on eyelashes and a ‘T’ shaped nose. Pink food color mixed with white food color can be painted on for blushing cheeks and pink ears.
- Knead and re-roll the remaining fondant between parchment. Cut two little grey lamb legs from the fondant using a paring knife (I free-handed this) and place them on the sides of the frosted cake. Use the remaining candy pieces to cover the edges of the cake.
I hope everyone gets a chance to try this cake. It’s lovely, and the only caveat is that you must like the flavor of coconut. I suggest using full-fat coconut milk in this recipe because the batter emulsified so well. I’m not sure that light coconut milk would yield the same results.
The frosting is made with coconut oil (solid) and non-hydrogenated shortening, such as Nutiva brand. When whipped together with powdered sugar and coconut extract, this makes a bright white fluffy frosting. You could also use margarine or other vegan ‘butter’ in place of the shortening if desired.
Vegan Coconut Cake
- 3 cups 360g all-purpose flour
- 2 cup 400g granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups 18 oz. full fat coconut milk (canned, well shaken)
- 1 cup 198g vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/2 cup 100g solid coconut oil, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup 95g non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
- 6 cups 680g confectioners’ sugar
- Coconut milk to thin
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with vegetable shortening and then dust with flour.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl mix together the coconut milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Whisk in the vinegar.
- Immediately divide the batter between the two 8-inch pans, filling the pans no more than 3/4 full.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a wire cooling rack. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the cakes.
- For the frosting, cream together the coconut oil and shortening. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Mixture may be crumbly. Add coconut milk a little at a time until the mixture comes to spreading consistency. Beat in coconut extract. Scrape down the bowl and beat again until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Fill the cake with 2/3 cup of the frosting. Cover the exterior of the cake with swirls of frosting using an off-set spatula.
- If making the ‘Love Ewe’ cake, you’ll need 24 ounces of white candy melts (2 packages). Non-dairy candy melts can be ordered online. See blog post for resources.
- You’ll also need 1/2 cup grey ready-made fondant (or a mixture of black and white). Satin Ice brand fondant is clearly labeled as ‘vegan’ on their website. See blog post for complete decorating instructions.
This is SO CUTE! 🙂 This would be perfect for Easter 🙂
Heather, I'm so thrilled to see a vegan cake here! I've been following your blog for years, mainly just for the incredible photos and inspiration but I can now actually make one of your cakes! I have a birthday coming up that this is going to be perfect for! Thanks so much for sharing all of your amazing creations with us.
Lydia! I'm so happy to hear that! I hope you love the cake as much as we did. I'm definitely going to explore more dairy-free options for future posts.
What an absolutely adorable cake! Its just too cute!
This cake is so adorable! I love all that you do!!
Lovely creation!!!! I love it!!!! Congrats and thanks for sharing this interesting technique!!!!
I learn the most interesting things from you, Heather.
Your campfire flames made of colored chocolate, coffee "caviar," wax seals made with chocolate and now this little sweetheart's woolly coat!
You make baking so fun and I'm impressed this cake is so fluffy and moist.
I have two friends who are vegan. I will make this for them and share your recipe!
Just wondering why you didn't use coconut oil in the cake itself?
I guess it didn't occur to me at the time? You could swap out the veggie for coconut in equal amounts if you prefer.
I get so much joy from seeing your posts. I am new to this blog, and started to follow after a girlfriend introduced me in the fall. I used inspiration from this lamb for baby shower cake. It was a hit. I hope you continue to share your beautiful desserts, and inspire amateurs to get out of there comfort zones. Thank you. And your chocolate sugar cookie recipe is a favorite in our home.