SIMPLE Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream!

Happy New Year my loves! How’s everyone doing? Not gonna lie, this year has already been an emotional shit show for me. I’m in maximum burnout mode, and the only thing that’s keeping me going right now are my meds….

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Pre ADHD diagnosis my burnouts would last a good few weeks. I’d have suicidal thoughts, sleep all day, make zero cakes, or when I did make them, I would cry during the whole process and just not enjoy any of it. My house would be a mess, and my husband would have to do EVERYTHING. Post diagnosis burnouts……My medication, they alleviate my symptoms…they don’t get rid of them, I still have intrusive and obsessive thoughts, I still have zero filter…I still lose my keys, my purse, my head…multiple times a day 😜 The meds keep the ADHD paralysis at bay. It keeps me focused and on task. And that my loves is such a godsend. I still have suicidal thoughts (I also know this will pass so if you feel the same…just feel the emotions and know that it won’t last. I promise!) but I keep those negative and intrusive thoughts at bay by using cleaning as therapy…and baking…but not work baking…I bake for me, for the therapy, for the feeling of being productive, clearing the clutter of my home and at the same time clearing the clutter in my head. I bake and create all the new recipes that I’ve been meaning to try but haven’t had the chance to. Enter Swiss Meringue Buttercream. My all time FAVOURITE buttercream. Since day one of my cake business it’s been Swiss Meringue…and then I went vegan…and I still made it, eggs and all and the guilt of not having a vegan business TORTURED me!! Cue obsessive, overthinking, guilt ridden thoughts. So when I did transition to a cruelty free business…I gave up my Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I spent so long perfecting the perfect vegan vanilla sponge cake, that I just didn’t have the time and mental capacity to focus on the buttercream too. In fairness, American buttercream is the go to in the U.K…but it’s never been a favourite of mine. Will I eat it? Absolutely. And I definitely tweaked it until I found a smooth and not to sweet buttercream, alas. I felt like I’d let myself down…

Then I had a customer order a cake and she mentioned how much she loved the buttercream from the last cake she had of mine…when I went to check the dates it was during my pre vegan days. Fuck my fucking life…and I just couldn’t. WOULDN’T, American buttercream this one. So I went straight to the drawing board and obsessed, because now we know that’s another thing I do really well 😅.. I’d made a vegan Italian Meringue buttercream before but it’s just sooo faffy. I hate working with hot sugar. It’s not fun for me. And I get anxious. And I have a son who quite often comes in to the kitchen when I’m working and he’s a wee bit all over the place like his mom…so I get the fear. I’ve had too many 2nd degree burns to count..so that’s off the list! So I decided to stick with the Aquafaba and use that instead of eggs just like in the Vegan Italian Meringue buttercream. And the Aquafaba is sooooooo much easier than egg whites. No mess…no curdling, no tortured hens…it’s a win all round and that just makes me happy 😃 there’s no flavour, like, at all, so it’s the perfect substitution!

Finding the Aquafaba can be a bit daunting. Ok so not daunting because it’s ridiculously easy to find. It’s literally just the water from your tin of chickpeas. But as I’ve mentioned in my post about vegan vanilla cakes, if you bake as much as I do…it’s just waaay too many chickpeas to ever know what to do with. You can now buy JUST Aquafaba in a carton, but it is expensive for what it is. So I buy it on sale…or I just use the water from tinned chickpeas (I use Tesco’s own or Asda’s own brand) and then make a batch of hummus, falafel, curry, or any other dinner favourite 😍 sooo enough Jibber Jabber! Let’s get started!!!

As for regular Swiss Meringue Buttercream, you want a stand mixer…by all means do it with a hand held..it will take longer though. Make sure ALLL your bowls, attachments, etc are grease free. You’ll need your whisk and paddle attachment for this. Definitely only use metal. Or if you do use the silicon blade…make sure it is absolutely grease free. You want that chickpea water to whip up pretty stiff!

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Silky Smooth, Easy and Fool proof Vegan Aquafaba Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Course: Dessert
Author: Carrie-Anne Dallas

Ingredients

  • 600 grams Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tins Chickpeas (just the water)
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 625 grams Unsalted Vegan Butter (not margarine)
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Drain the chickpeas and add the water to a saucepan with the sugar.
  • Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar then remove from heat. Let the mixture cool to room temp. If it’s too hot, the butter will melt too quickly and create a slop. Yes it’s fixable but just avoid the drama in the first place 🤷🏻‍♀️❤️
  • Once cooled, prepare your mixer by adding a bit of lemon juice to some paper towel and wipe down the mixer to ensure there is no grease left in the bowl. This can affect how your aquafaba whips up.
    Mix the aquafaba and sugar mixture on high speed with the whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar and xanthan gum (this is both for extra stability and to prevent weeping) Mix for 10 minutes.
  • Once the mixture has thickened and whipped up nicely (crazy stiff peaks is not necessary, just as stiff as you can manage!) start to add the butter in chunks.
  • Once the butter has been added, change to the paddle attachment and add your salt and vanilla. If you notice your mixture is curdled…do not panic! Mix on high speed until it all comes together, sometimes up to 7 minutes but not usually… and you’ll get a gloriously smooth, shiny, thick and creamy buttercream. TRUST THE PROCESS! ❤️
  • Use straight away or store in the fridge where it will keep up to a week, if not more! Flavour just as you would any other buttercream. For chocolate I recommend using melted dark chocolate or even ganache!

Notes

Shiny, Smooth, Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

 

A Wee December Update, Christmas Hampers, and Candles!

So things have been really happening here at Cakes By Carrie-Anne and over at Donut Eat Bakery. Orders have been coming in thick and fast and it’s been exciting! I would usually use the word ‘overwhelming’ here but I’m not!! I started my new ADHD meds last week and it’s like I’m a different woman. The first couple of days were incredibly intense, I was like the energiser bunny! I couldn’t sit down. I powered through cake and candle orders. I deep cleaned my cake room and sorted out and reorganised my cake tool cupboard. I cleaned my house from top to bottom. I was exhausted physically but mentally I couldn’t stop.

A couple of nights ago it was my good friends 40th surprise party so I baked her a cake, plus 3 other orders I had, while Kyle worked on the Horsebox conversion 😍😍😍. These meds have really suppressed my appetite so I hadn’t realised that I hadn’t eaten all day. Maybe a slice of toast…I think. I made the mistake of having a couple of glasses of wine. (Not even!! I left half of the second on the table).Bad move! By 11pm I was at home trying to sleep but the room was spinning. There’s a reason you’re not meant to drink while taking these meds. Lesson learned my loves. Lesson learned 🙈. I’m even on decaf coffee now just to be on the safe side 😜

I’ve deleted my personal Facebook app, (which has helped immensely in terms of the overthinking and honestly it’s just great for my mental health overall. My mind although still all over the place…it’s just more manageable. All the things I overthought or just invested in way too much emotionally and mentally before…it’s like there’s this ‘I just don’t care’ button. But in a good way. Not a numb feeling per se..just a ‘if that’s how it’s/you’re going to be…I don’t care’ the universe has my back. I guess I’m just feeling the self love more. The whole, you can treat me like that..but I have the power to not let it affect me. It’s a pretty wonderful feeling. I’m still busy…but also. In a good way. I hate being busy when there’s no time for me. But lately. It’s been enjoyable. I’m getting goals done that generally take months, because now the ADHD paralysis is almost non existent. I feel like this diagnosis and the meds have saved my life. I’m not worried about the future, my finances, my goals and dreams. Because now. I feel like I can take on the world. And it’s nice. I’m content. And I’m super hopeful that this will last.

So all that being said 😜 I’m offering Christmas Treat boxes for collection on Christmas Eve. The hampers are £30 and will include 2 each of Stollen Bars, Brownies, Shortbread Cookies, Ginger Molasses Cookies, Biscoff Stuffed Cookies, Mince Pies, Sticky Toffee Cupcakes, Rocky Road, Hot Chocolate Bombs, and a wee jar of caramel sauce. I’m also offering my GORGEOUS Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Roll Boxes for £10 for a box of 6. These are a favourite with my coworkers and they’ve all agreed that I absolutely need to add these to my list of Christmas treats! So I just did 😝 All vegan too of course! If you’re not local, I also have lots of candles available over at Donut Eat Bakery or on my Etsy Shop . If you are local, give me a shout if you prefer to collect and avoid postage charges! There’s a scent for everyone and they make great wee stocking fillers, and secret Santa pressies! Not long now my guys. So get those orders in.

Pumpkin Spice cinnamon rolls with a luscious vegan cream cheese icing!
My most popular candle by far! I can’t keep them in stock! Milk and Cookies Candle with 3 wax melt cookies 🍪

Inner peace and the Horsebox conversion! Squeeee!

These past few months have been touch mentally and emotionally for me. Being diagnosed with ADHD was a huge relief yet also quite heartbreaking. It dawned on me that this is disorder that can’t be cured only maintained so to speak. That kinda terrified me, and it put me in a right weird and dark place. I felt unmotivated, burnt out and just sad.

A few years back when I was going through the Dark night of my soul, I got very intimate with the writing and teachings of authors like Wayne Dyer, Brian Weiss, and like minded writers. These books impacted my life in a huge way. I was starting to feel at peace with my soul, peace with who I wanted to be and who I am, and I was in a state of euphoria. I started to fully surrender to the universe, and things were really starting to look up, my life was good!! So I stopped reading the books, I stopped meditating on a daily basis, stopped taking naps, and eventually just stopped practicing this life that worked so well for me. Because I was fine now! What an absolute idiot…we all know that maintenance is key…for every aspect of our lives. You want your car to run well? Maintenance….your garden to look nice and kept?! maintenance..so why did I think that my life didn’t need to be treated the same🙄🙈

My favourite book of Wayne Dyer is ‘Your Sacred Self; making the decision to be free’ I read it over and over when I was in that very dark place, I’ve bought countless copies and given them to people who I think would get some peace from his work. Then I struggled to get hold of it. I tried to order one a few months back, and the book never arrived. I was worried, because I felt I NEEDED this book back in my life in a bad way. But I left it, then a few nights ago when I was really feeling those awful thoughts creeping in, I managed to find a copy on eBay. It arrived on my birthday. The timing was perfect.

I picked it up last night after a particular emotional few days and I started reading and within minutes, all the words I had almost memorised a few year back, spoke to me in the exact same way. And I felt that feeling of bliss again. The feeling of surrendering to the universe, knowing that everything works in divine timing. Ego is left behind, forgiveness is more easily given, and all the fear, worry, self pity, jealousy, anger etc is left behind. It made me realise that these last few years I’ve forgotten who I endeavoured to be. I want to be free of all these emotions that just weigh me down.

So I unsent messages that don’t serve a higher purpose, you know the needy kind that you feel you need to validate your feelings and emotions? Nope. I’m done being treated like shit. I started forgiving people, forgiving myself, sending everyone all the love I could muster, and just RE realised that only love is real. And we all have a journey, and we don’t need to understand everyone’s life journey. We just need to accept it for what it is. As long as I’m doing the least amount of harm to someone, I will remember who I am, why I’m here. And I will invite spirituality in to my life whole heartedly once again. Of course this will be a work in progress, but I’m definitely trying everyday. And so far so good. That dark cloud has passed, and I’m confident that it won’t return to this level for some time! Because I’m going to do ALLL the maintenance work. Trust in the universe, trust in the process, and everything else will take care of itself ❤️

So I got back to focusing on my Horsebox conversion. I worked on my birthday and I was feeling so shit about just everything, and I asked Kyle that all I wanted was for him to start work on the trailer. And bless is heart, when I got home, he’d got the flooring all laid down and the frame was looking fab! He’s so hard on himself but he did an excellent job! Seeing his progress gave me all the feels again and got me so motivated to get my wee cafe up and running. I’m still working on names my guys! I do want to keep ‘Cakes By Carrie-Anne’ in there….but added something to it? What do you think?! Let me know!!!

I’m off to go buy all the wee bits and bobs that I’m still missing, like the sink, syrup pumps, tongs, milk pitchers etc. Exciting times my loves! I’ll keep you posted on ALLLL the wee updates

Allll the light and love my guys! And be kind. Always be kind. Sometimes our actions cause so much hurt without us even realising…and it’s not ok. We need to do better xx

C x

Easy Fluffy Vegan Vanilla Cake

You guys, baking vegan is not difficult…at all…until you need to bake a vanilla cake. I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve tested and they’ve ALL failed. I finally thought I figured one out using chickpea water or aquafaba and the flavour was beautiful…but the consistently was so temperamental. It crumbled, it became too soggy, too dense…other times it was perfect. For the amount of vanilla cakes that are requested. This just wasn’t going to cut it. And my goodness the amount of chickpeas I was going through was CRAZY! And I’m not gonna lie. I have a slight (I’m being kind to myself here) intolerance to chickpeas. I mean it’s BAD. It causes me to bloat like no body’s business as well. My husband was not too appreciative of this little fact. Neither was I to be honest…or the kids. Let’s just say the WHOLE family have been much more thankful for the lack of chickpeas in my life 💨😬🙈 oh the absolute shame!!

I found the perfect vegan vanilla recipe, and to be honest…my non vegan customers…only ones to ever complain. And not all obviously, majority have come back with amazing feedback. And it’s simple. It’s because this recipe is ridiculously moist, and to be honest. I think people are so used to dry cakes, that I’ve been told a couple of times that the cake is underbaked 🙄 It ruffles my feathers guys. Not gonna lie. I’ve been baking for over 10 years. I bake in 2 tins per cake. Each cake is cooled, turned out, and then split horizontally….if it were underbaked do you HONESTLY think it would even leave my house? Absolutely not. So I torte the cakes, fill with jam and buttercream and refrigerate. I don’t even need to add any simple syrup, because it’s that moist. A customer actually sent me this photo of the inside of her cake to say it was raw and inedible…guys I was like ‘YAS Queeeen! Look at that lusciousness…no plant milk needed here to wash that down!’

Vegan vanilla cake absolutely does tend to go a wee bit dense, this particular recipe can actually be frozen, others not so much because they DO get denser …but not gummy, or heavy…it actually keeps that fluffy texture. I for one, love the flavour and texture. My good friend and her family (non vegans) agree that it’s a delicious recipe, and trust me…Kerry is the most honest person I know and she always keeps me grounded and I know for a fact that she would hundred percent let me know if my cake didn’t taste amazing! I was so so upset by this accusation that I sent this picture to another local vegan baker and she said the same thing ‘that looks exactly how mine look! Not dry at all and completely baked’

Soooo if you want a dry cake…this is just not the recipe for you. It’s not. This isn’t a Pound Cake, or a Madeira, it’s a lusciously moist cake that’s made with cake flour, and soya milk (the protein in soya milk is what creates the perfect balance of a stable cake when eggs aren’t being used). I’ve included pictures of what the cake looks like once out the oven, once cooled and sliced prior being filled, and also once cut in to. It’s beautiful. My all time favourite vegan vanilla cake that I will not change because a few people don’t understand good cake. Because I take this shit personally. I DON’T UNDERBAKE MY DAMN CAKES! I legit forgot to put baking powder in the last cake I baked and you can bet your ass it will not be leaving this house. Because it’s definitely not up to standard!

Anyhow, I’ve been upping my game completely on my Donut Eat Bakery business. I’m being really good about working on it every day. Even if it’s only a bit of research, and then applying that knowledge to get the most out of my day/product etc.

My favourite candle designs and one of my customer’s favourites too is Birthday Cake! (Which you can buy here) And because I’m photographing all my products, I’m needing props..so the best prop for this fragrance is Birthday Cake of course 🙂 so I’m sharing with you my PERFECT vegan cake recipe. In the next few weeks I’ll bring to you all my other favourite recipes, like Blueberry Cheesecake, Banana Nut Muffins, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Chocolate cake…and even a Jammie Dodger shortbread bar 🥰

So here’s the very straight forward cake recipe!

Vegan Vanilla Cake

Simple, satisfying, incredibly moist vegan cake
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vanilla, Vanilla Cake Recipe, Vegan
Servings: 20 People

Ingredients

  • 510 g Granulated Sugar
  • 250 g Flora Plant Butter
  • 80 g Trex or white vegetable fat
  • 2 Tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 360 grams Cake Flour HAS to be cake flour
  • 750 ml Soy Milk Soy milk is by far the best plant milk to use because of the protein content. This will make for a fluffier cake as well. You can substitute for oat milk, but the results will vary slighlty in texture.
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
  • 2 tsp Cider Vinegar

Instructions

  • Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature or even slightly warmer if possible.
    Measure out the Soya milk and Cider Vinegar. Give it a whisk and set aside to curdle.
  • In your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, plant butter, vanilla extract and mix for no more than 2 minutes until the mixture is light in colour and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl sift together the cake flour, bicarb, baking powder, and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the mixing bowl with the butter and sugar.
  • While mixing slowly add the soya milk and vinegar making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Don’t overmix or your cake will become too dense and gummy.
  • Pour into 2 8inch cake pans. The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t even need to prepare the pans. The cakes do not stick to the tins!

King Cakes, Cinnamon Rolls and Mardi Gras

Finally it’s February!!! That seemed to take a lifetime…and this year Mardi Gras or Pancake Day comes a wee bit early on February 16th! In New Orleans Mardi Gras is celebrated with King Cake! They’re a gorgeous yeast bread filled with cinnamon and sugar, shaped in to a wreath, drizzled with icing and decorated with green, yellow, and purple sugar. There is generally a tiny baby Jesus baked in or hidden in the cake. Whoever gets the piece of sweet bread with the baby in it is traditionally meant to provide the next King Cake or host Mardi Gras the following year.
It’s available in New Orleans all year round but a MUST have during Mardi Gras! The traditional cake is make with cinnamon and sugar, but less traditional cakes are filled with cream cheese.


I never had the honour of trying King Cake when I was in NOLA, but I’m so delighted to bring it to you here. It’s so delicious and so fabulously New Orleans! And EASY!!! There’s no reason not to make it.
So I’ve included the recipe for King cake but veganised. Because when animals aren’t harmed…it tastes 10 times better….
It tastes very much like a cinnamon roll (because…umm it’s IS a cinnamon roll…same recipe shhhhh) sooo if you love them…you’re sure to love these, so what are you waiting for, give them a go 🥰

I’ve also created a gorgeous scented King Cake candle that you can purchase here!! It’s decorated with a ‘buttercream swirl’ and topped with all the coloured ‘sugar’ and even a wee baby Jesus. It’s pretty damn cute and festive if I do say so myself!!

Stay safe my friends, and let me know how your King Cakes turn out!! If you prefer Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, I’ve got you covered! Try out this super simple and delicious recipe🥰

 

Lockdown 2 and Dobby Cake

Hey my guys! How is everyone coping this year? As always January seems to be never ending…but hey. We’ve almost made it! I’m dealing with a 10 year old girl that is going on teenager. And I’m not gonna lie. I’m struggling. I’m doing what I can, but jeeeepers it’s hard going!

I’ve been keeping myself really busy with cakes and candles, and the super fun homeschooling aspect 🙄 ok but hardly. I’m not doing well with that if I’m being entirely honest. And you know what’s? That’s ok. I’m not even stressing about it. I’m doing what I can. Aren’t we all? Reading back at this I feel like I’m just a hot mess!! 🙈

But there have been a LOT of positives too. My husband had almost a month of holidays so it was so nice having him home. We haven’t spent that much time together in a while and it was exactly what we needed as a couple. We had a lot of fun together too. Going for walks with the kids, spending lazy afternoons playing Among Us, watching Bob’s Burgers, and just enjoying each other’s company. I ordered a greenhouse and we spent a very long cold day working on building it. We had lots of laughs though but man it was FREEZING!! Eventually he sent me inside and managed the rest by himself.

It was difficult too see him going back to work…but it’s also made me more productive 😜 I planted loads of vegetable seeds only a week ago and already my cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and sweet corn are growing! They’ll be going in our new greenhouse shortly! I just started a San Francisco Sourdough starter yesterday and it’s already got lots of bubbles with the fermentation process. I’ve ordered a wine kit and will be starting to make my own wine as well. My new packaging for my candles are arriving this too and I’m so excited about that! I’ve been creating candles, making tutorials, and also creating jewellery with polymer clay again. Oh I’ve also been focusing on my health lately and have been working out everyday for 5 weeks now and I’m feeling mentally and physically stronger. So it’s been good. No complaints here 🙂

Anyway…DOBBY!! I’ve always been a fan of Harry Potter. Not crazy obsessed, but I enjoyed the books and films, so when I have a Harry Potter Cake to make, I get pretty excited 🙂 When my client got in touch for a Harry Potter cake and mentioned Dobby…I couldn’t WAIT to get started. Usually the theme is centred around Gryffindor, the Sorting Hat, and of course the main character. Poor Dobby is generally left out of the equation. But not this time!! So I made a wee video on my process which you can find below. My camera ran out of storage just at the end, so I didn’t get any footage of the airbrushing process, but such is life right 🤷🏻‍♀️ Anyway I hope you enjoy the video, and stay safe my guys! It’s all going to be just fine.

Sending you all so much love and light xx