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Vegan cakes too moist?

I've made two cakes for a vegan friend, one the wacky cake a group of you suggested to me and the second cake was one I posted in our conversation about baking for vegans, a Mexican Wedding Cake that's just 2 c flour, 2 c sugar, 20 oz crushed pineapple, 1 t baking soda 1 t vanilla and 1/2 c chopped pecans.

The guy loved both cakes and just sent me an email telling me he thought the pineapple one was the most amazing thing he's ever tasted and they could sell it at Whole Foods. I think the guy is nuts: just yesterday I told my husband I was going to throw out the recipe because I thought it was too wet and kinda tasted to me like pineapple flavored flour.

As for the wacky cake, it was a hit but I was glad I was the one serving it because it was so gooey on the bottom--same as the wedding cake--I had to keep scraping off the server because so much stuck to it from the bottom.

I don't know, maybe some people like that, but to me a cake should be a bit . . . cakier. Is this what happens when you don't add eggs? Is there a better way to do a vegan cake? Or am I doing something wrong?

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  1. I've made the wacky cake quite often. Before I went vegan, I made it. It was super easy and always turned out perfectly. I've never had it be gooey on the bottom. Did you try mixing it in the pan?

    I typically mix all the dry ingredients together, and then all the wet, minus the vinegar. Then, I mix those together and then add the vinegar to that batch. I found that it kept the chemical reaction more evenly spread throughout the batter, and avoided flour clumps.

    1. have you baked anything else lately? it honestly sounds to me like either your oven temp is off or you're taking the cakes out too early.

      7 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I've been asking questions on the Cookware Board about oven thermometers because I've been thinking my oven is too hot. My cakes seem to be done way ahead of time. I mean WAY ahead of time: like if it says 30-40 min at 350, I get a clean toothpick at 25 min. Is the clean toothpick not a good indicator?

        1. re: Birmingham

          how is the pick clean if the bottom is still goopy?

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Well, do you really insert a toothpick all the way down to touch the bottom of the pan? I never have. And it's not possible with a lot of cakes. I insert it probably 2 inches which is what I would assume is normal.

            1. re: Birmingham

              yes, i poke it all the way in. i use bamboo skewers for tall cakes or a slim knife if it will be frosted.

              if the top is looking too done, it may be the position of the racks in your oven as well.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Okay, I'll admit I'm no expert, just a regular ol' home cook, but all the cookbooks and recipes I have, as well as those from my mother and grandmother, all say to test a cake with a toothpick, not a bamboo skewer. ;-) And all my cakes have been perfectly fine tested this way. It's only these last attempts at vegan cakes that have resulted in wet bottoms. And even if I had touched bottom with my toothpick, I think it would have been unlikely anything would have stuck to the toothpick: if the cake is nicely done and it's just the very bottom that's extra moist, it probably wouldn't have stuck to the tip of the toothpick--or even a bamboo skewer (which I wouldn't think would be as good as a toothpick since it's smoother).

                1. re: Birmingham

                  lol, i use the skewers because they are longer. if the bottom is goopy, your cake isn't finished baking. simple.

                  like others have said, i make that wacky cake often and have never had an issue. i've made a banana version too, no probs.

                  are you using the rack in the center of your oven? or higher?

              2. re: Birmingham

                You need to go ALL the way down through the cake, preferably diagonally. A toothpick isn't long enough to test anything thicker than a brownie - when the cake seems to be done on the top and around the edges it's still goopy in the middle, especially towards the bottom of the pan. I use a metal poultry skewer to test with, or you can use bamboo skewers if you want something disposable.

        2. I agree with goodhealthgourmet that it sounds as if your cakes are underbaked. I've made the wacky cake and variations of it many times as well, over the past 25+ years, and I've never had that result. It's moist, like good cake is moist, not gooey or wet. Do you have an oven thermometer with which you can check that the temperature is true?

          1. If anything, I think it's hard to keep vegan cakes moist enough - without the egg, it's sometimes possible for them to be a bit too dry / crumbly. I don't think this is a common problem, so I'd agree you should check your oven temperature and make sure the cake is done before taking out, and maybe play around with some different recipes.

            I have had good luck using standard cake recipes and using standard vegan egg substitutes (usually ener-g egg replacer or flax seed meal blended with some water), and some sort of solid vegetable fat if butter is called for. Or maybe try some of the vegan cupcake recipes and just don't make them as cakes.

            I did once have a deliciously moist vegan 9-layer carrot cake. My wife, who is normal not a fan of carrot cake (vegan or not), thought this was amazing. I think there was coconut milk involved, but I'm not sure how exactly it was made.

            1. that wacky cake is an easy go-to for me for chocolate cake. i think you're underbaking it. either your oven is low or you are taking it out too early.

              a pick through the center should come out clean.