Vegan Cherry Bakewell Cake
Is there anything more Christmassy than the sweet smell of toasted almonds and cherries wafting through the house? It’s an aroma that transports me to my happy place. Were it a fragrance I could wear as perfume, I’d purchase bottles by the dozen. However, standing in front of the oven will have to do for now.
If you love all things cherry bakewell, marzipan or frangipane, this is the cake for you. It’s a light and airy vegan sponge with nothing more than a dusting of icing sugar and a crown of fresh cherries. No buttercream, no fuss.
Serve it with masala chai for a hint of spice and all the cosy vibes.
My sponge is made with super fine self-raising cake flour, ground almonds and a little bit of cornflour to hold everything together without eggs. Almond milk, apple cider vinegar and almond oil give it lift and moisture.
I’m a sucker for a glacé cherry and I think they work wonderfully in this recipe. Fresh cherries will also work but bear in mind they will seep juice as they bake and this could make the sponge a bit soggy. I recommend baking this cake a day in advance. The flavours and textures get better after 24 hours. You might find it a little claggy if you eat it straight away and the almond flavour won’t be as prominent.
I wrap the cake in cling film or non-stick foil as soon as it comes out of the oven (let it sit in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn it out and wrap). This keeps the outside of the cake nice and soft.
Vegan Cherry Bakewell Cake
Light and airy vegan sponge, sweet almonds and juicy cherries make for the ultimate afternoon tea cake. No dairy, no eggs.
- 340 g extra-fine self-raising flour
- 300 g caster sugar
- 40 g ground almonds
- 30 g cornflour ((cornstarch))
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 480 ml almond milk, room temperature ((you can also use soy milk))
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 180 ml almond oil ((you can also use rapeseed, sunflower or any other flavourless oil))
- 60 g glacé cherries ((tossed in 1 tbsp plain flour))
- 2 tsp pure almond extract
- 1 tbsp flaked almonds
- 80 g fresh cherries ((to decorate))
- 2 tsp icing sugar ((to dust))
- Gold leaf ((to decorate, optional))
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Line the base and sides of a 6-inch x 3-inch cake tin with oil and non-stick baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds, cornflour, sugar and salt.
In a separate jug or glass, mix together the almond milk, almond extract and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes, undisturbed. After 5 minutes, give it a brief whisk.
Add the oil and milk mixture to the dry ingredients and gently whisk for 40-60 seconds until smooth. Don’t overbeat the cake batter or you could end up with a tough cake.
At the last minute, fold in the flour-coated glacé cherries with a spatula. Be gentle and swift.
Pour the batter into the cake tin.
Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. The cakw should be springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Carefully turn the cake out and wrap in foil or cling film. Allow to rest overnight at room temperature.
Decorate with fresh cherries, a dusting of icing sugar and the optional gold leaf.
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