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Oct 15, 2011 09:24 AM

The vegan carrot cake that wouldn't bake...

i made this recipe not too long ago. i followed it to a TEE except i added in some raisins and a cup of pineapple chunks. ok, so i didn't follow it to a tee but almost. i put it in a 8x8 pan and baked it at 350 for 1.5 hrs. the cake was slightly browned and curled from the edges. the long stick i used came finally out clean since at 50 minutes it was still raw.

so the next day i bring the cake to an event and start slicing. well, lo and behold the cake is barely baked. it's the consistency of cheesecake or a pudding. WTH did i do wrong?

could it have been the pineapple? has anyone ever experienced a similar problem? it's definitely not my oven b/c the day before i baked a batch of cupcakes and a week later i baked two cakes for my son's birthday and they all came out perfect.

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  1. I'd guess the pineapple -- the moisture in the pineapple was enough to seriously throw the balance of your ingredients off.

    Next time I'd try it with dried pineapple - but 1 cup of pineapple (and the resulting juice that it will give off in the oven) is a LOT of juice for just 2 cups of flour to absorb.

    1. A comparison of Alton Brown's carrot cake leads me to think that the vegan recipe used his, or a recipe very like, as a starting point.

      Brown's recipe uses more flour though, and a little less sugar. It uses the same measurements of baking soda and powder. BUT, Brown's recipe used yogurt instead of applesauce. You need an acidic ingredient to activate the baking soda, and I suspect strongly that applesauce isn't acidic enough.

      I know nothing about your egg sub. Does it usually work well in baked products?

      I think the carrots measurements are pretty much the same.

      Your recipe adds a bit more sugar, and a bit less flour. I think your vegan recipe would be too sweet for many tastes. You could, I think, use Brown's recipe but with a sub for the acidic yogurt. Can you curdle coconut milk? Soy or almond milk? Do those liquids bake well? You probably know more about that sort of thing than I do.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        next time i will use his recipe and use the egg sub. i can use yogurt just not eggs due to an egg allergy :( i bake with ener-g all the time and have no problems (except i hate how eggless baking sometimes renders a thin taste, clearly the egg adds richness) i may use flax seed since i like the nutty taste of it.

        i DO think it has something to do with too much moisture from the carrots and pineapple. but the wooden skewer came out clean. SMH!

        1. re: trolley

          I think the applesauce was to replace the yogurt. I think yogurt might add a little tartness to the flavor. If the applesauce is sweetened it will also add to the sweetness of the cake. You need some flavor interest, I think. I understood that soy flour was used to sub for eggs. Perhaps that is old information. Good luck with the cake.

      2. That particular brand of egg substitute needs to be mixed quickly and immediately incorporated into the ingredients. Even a few minute delay can result in a denser product.

        I discovered this when I made 3 loaves of banana bread. I had everything measured for each batch, just had to mix the wet and the dry for a minute. I mixed each batch of egg sub., then finished each recipe. Perhaps 5 min. total between completing the first and the third loaf. Huge difference in density in the end product!

        2 Replies
        1. re: meatn3

          Really? I've used it for years and never noticed a difference depending on how quickly it's added after mixing.

          One other way to do it (the package says it's Ok) is to just mix the Ener-G in with the dry ingredients, and add the extra liquid with the liquids.

          Substituting ground flax seeds or flax meal whizzed with water is another common egg substitute.

          1. re: will47

            I haven't tried the alternative method - good to know!

            But really, yes - there was a huge difference in the three loaves and there was no other difference in their make up.

            I've made three loaves before and after at the same time with eggs and they have all been uniform - so that rules out my oven being wonky.

        2. were they raw or canned pineapple chunks? Pineapple has enzymes and Im wondering if it might have had an effect on the proteins in the egg substitute.

          for example it is not recommended to use fresh pineapple with gelatine - not something you'd do, probably.

          But if you did in fact add through the pineapple a lot of extra liquid to the cake, it could turn it into a pudding. was it edible?