Baking Week: Wake, Bake and Decorate this (unintentionally) Vegan Cake

It's simple, tasty, and produces a firm -- but moist -- cake that can hold up to the rigors of icing.

People like it, so I use it again and again and again and again. Now you can, too.

Basic (Unintentionally) Vegan White Cake

makes 2 8-inch rounds

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups filtered water

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar or other granulated sweetener

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or lemon or orange extract)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together with sifter in mixing bowl (except sugar, include sugar with wet-mix). Whisk wet ingredients together in separate mixing bowl.

2. Combine the two mixes, whisking until just mixed (do not overmix). Scrape sides of bowl to incorporate.

3. Spray 2 round cake pans with pan-spray and shake 2 teaspoons flour in each pan to coat. Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Cake middle should feel like firm matress when done. Let cool, then pop out of pans and decorate.

See previous posts by author for icing recipes and decorating tips.


  • Baking soda should be so fresh ya have to slap it, otherwise it inhibits rising.

  • Overmixing batter is good for bread dough, not so much for cake crumb. Leave it alone!

  • Clear vegetable oil good, toasted sesame oil, olive oil, etc. not so good (for cakes).

  • Leave cakes and oven alone while baking, otherwise temperature can be thrown off and the cake might "drop".

Ian Finn gets paid to do this.


I get paid to decorate cakes. Or, rather, I get paid to teach other people how to decorate cakes.

A sweet deal, no pun intended. Helping others do what I love is a real hoot, and this summer's class really churned out some nice ones.

Cake decorating is simple:

You need desire. You need drive. You must be able to focus. And your short term memory must be somewhat intact.

If you have all of the above, you're good to go. Find yourself a book, a teacher, the necessary equipment, and get started. What you don't already know, you'll learn along the way.

You can start with this, the basic white cake recipe for the cakes we decorate in my class.

Scroll to read more Food News articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.