I made this vegan yogurt cake with red currants for a campaign. It is such a unique flavor combo and the texture of the cake is so incredible that I wanted to share this recipe on the blog too. What makes the texture so good is a combination of olive oil and yogurt. When it comes to baking, I think a good oil is essential. My views on oil has changed a lot during these 4 years as a food blogger.
Oil and butter in vegan baking
When I started eating vegan food 5 years ago, I was very strict about the oils I used. I only used Extra virgin olive oil and Extra virgin coconut oil, and never vegan margarine nor any other oils. I was fanatic about this and eating out was a huge challenge because I was sure all restaurants use low quality oils. Eating out in general was difficult for me because I had orthorexia. You can read more about it in my vegan health journey post.
My restrictive eating phase is over now and I feel good about it. I still use mostly these two above mentioned oils, but I don’t freak out nor am I afraid to use other oils / vegan butter.
Wfpb no oil?
I don’t feel comfortable making health claims about foods. I’m a health coach and I’ve studied nutrition, but I’m not an expert in nutrition and it is not my profession to give specific nutritional advice to anyone. I can only tell you what works – or doesn’t – for me.
When it comes to oils I’m still learning a lot and my current view is this: in theory I want to lean towards a wfpb no = whole foods plant based no oil direction. So in theory I would rather eat the whole food and not the highly processed version of the food. I would rather eat olives instead of olive oil, avocado instead of avocado oil, peanuts instead of peanut oil etc.
But this is only in theory. My reality looks very different and I’m totally okay with that.
One huge reason why I don’t want to follow wfpb no oil is that I don’t want to restrict my vegan diet anymore. I’ve done that before with no good results (orthorexia), and I won’t do it again. So that being said I will happily continue sharing a variety of vegan recipes here, with and without oil 🙂
One other reason why I can’t follow a wfpb no oil diet is that I think oil makes baked treats (and other foods) super delicious texture and flavor wise. It’s an amazing skill to get the right texture for baked goods without oil and I really admire food bloggers who are constantly creating oil-free recipes.
Sometimes instead of oils I use nut butters or other moistening ingredients: apple sauce, yogurt or avocado. And on occasion I might create a no oil recipe delicious enough to share on the blog such as this yummy berry caramel cake. But this particular yogurt cake wouldn’t be the same without olive oil.
Baking with olive oil: vegan yogurt cake
When baking with olive oil, it’s usually recommended to not use Extra virgin olive oil, because of the strong flavor. I personally love this unique fruity bitter flavor, but you can mask it pretty well with both yogurt and lemon. Those are essential ingredients in this vegan yogurt cake cake too.
Olive oil is easy to use in all kinds of baking and it makes cakes very moist usually without being too sticky. I find olive oil works best in yogurt cakes, citrus cakes and chocolate cakes. It’s also amazing in sweet buns. And of course savory baking: tarts, rolls, breads, and of course pizza.
Baking with coconut oil
Extra virgin coconut oil has a strong coconut flavor. If you don’t like coconuts, you probably won’t like treats with Extra virgin coconut oil. Luckily there’s a solution: using a more processed version of coconut oil, which doesn’t have a strong coconut flavor.
I recommend coconut oil in any vegan baked goods, but especially no-bake ones, baked galettes, tarts and pies. Because the oil is solid in cold temperatures, you can use it like butter to make flaky “buttery” tart crusts. In raw treats it makes the crust easier to handle when the crust freezes.
Baking with canola oil and vegan margarine
Canola oil is a staple in Finland kind of like olive oil is in the Mediterranean region. I think canola oil is actually one of the best oils in vegan baking because of the neutral flavor.
If you’re just starting out eating plant-based and you want to bake something, lets say cupcakes, canola oil is the oil I would recommend you to use. My strawberry puree layer cake received raving reviews from people who are not used to eating vegan baked goods. One of the secrets is canola oil, which makes the sponge moist and fluffy without any additional flavor.
Vegan margarine has it’s place in baking too. Sometimes I want a “buttery” crust with no coconut oil so I use margarine. Vegan baking is pretty easy when using margarine as most non-vegan recipes you find online call for butter or margarine anyway and you can just use a vegan one.
Note: not making health claims here, this is purely an honest review regarding the flavor and deliciousness of these oils in baking.
Both canola oil and vegan margarine are fats I used to avoid, but not anymore. I used to avoid them because I thought they are super unhealthy and I wanted to eat the healthiest minimally processed food I possibly can. Now I use them if the recipe calls for a very neutral oil or a “buttery” fat.
It’s all about the flavor and deliciousness here in the forest.
Vegan yogurt cake with red currants
- 1,25 cups / 195 grams all-purpose flour
- 0,4 cups / 45 grams almond flour
- 0,85 cups / 170 grams sugar
- 1,5 tsp baking powder
- 0,5 tsp vanilla bean powder
- 0,5 tsp salt
- 0,85 cups / 200 ml plant-based yogurt such as soy yogurt
- 0,4 cups / 100 ml plant-based milk
- 0,4 cups / 100 ml Extra virgin olive oil or olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 0,5 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cups / ~100 grams red currants or other berries
- For serving: plant-based whipped cream and berries
- Preheat oven to 392 F / 200 C. Line a 7 inch / 18 cm (in diameter) springform pan bottom and edges with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients: flours, sugar, baking powder and spices.
- Add yogurt, milk, oil, lemon juice and zest and mix until fully combined.
- Gently fold in the currants and pour batter into the pan.
- Bake cake in the lower rack of the oven for 45-60 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean. Baking time varies according to pan size and oven.
- Let cake cool for a while before serving. Serve cake with cream and berries.
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