Everyone loves cake.
Well, ok, maybe not everyone – some people have more of a savory than sweet tooth, but I honestly never met anyone who actually disliked cake. My boyfriend Tobias (T for short) is no exception. Except that – he’s allergic to egg whites. Not fall-over-dead-if-he-sniffs-them allergic, but allergic enough that if he eats any significant amount, he feels it and it’s not nice.
This is the story of a (rather great) cake designed by me especially for him. Or – for anyone else who can’t handle egg whites but can eat separated yolks. Or just for anyone who has leftover egg yolks after making merengues, and loves cake (or hates pasta carbonara and the like). The best part of this cake is that T can eat it. The runner-up to that is that it tastes rich and gorgeous and has wonderfully light texture and that both, he and I want to eat it. The third best thing about it it is how incredibly easy it is to make.
Now, let’s face it – eggs are great for baking. They give lift and lightness and structure to pastry, and most cake recipes require them. And yes, one egg per cake is still enough egg white to upset T, so those are out. And so I have discovered soon after beginning to date him oh, a year and a half ago, that my boyfriend has grown to reasonably adult life without eating much (or any to speak of) cake, which for someone as 1. naturally skinny and 2. having a monstrous sweet tooth as him, is just plain wrong.
Of course, there are many “eggless” cake recipes which can be found on the internet, both for egg-allergy sufferers, and among the vegan community. Unfortunately, all that I have tried until now have been miserably disappointing. First, because most of those combine the egg-free with dairy-free and give hideously ugly ingredient lists including attractive items such as ‘vegetable shortening’, ‘[Random-Brand] egg substitute’, ‘tofu’, ‘soy protein isolate’, etc. Excuse me but… yuck. Just yuck. Second, because frankly, none of them looked good – and those I tried (not naming any names here) weren’t “the best” anything, left alone cake. So there I was, left to figure out how to feed T some cake. The quest looked a bit hopeless, until I came across this recipe on Radiance Recipes (a vegetarian blog that sadly hasn’t been updated in the past year or so) and thought… ok, at least it’s not dairy-free, and maybe I can try and modify it just so it uses an egg yolk – and so this cake was born.
As I have said, I have modified the recipe somewhat, for one thing because I prefer volumetric measurements, and also because Sweden has no self-raising flour specified in the original recipe. Also, I think that this cake could carry something like a cream cheese frosting really well, and I suspect it’ll also work great as cupcake batter. I will have to try it eventually, with pretty piped frosting and all.
Update: After trying this again, with even better (more moist!) results, I suggest using quark (kesella, 10% fat quark – ricotta cheese can also be used) instead of yogurt, and using a 250g box of it – and also 2 egg yolks instead of 1. At this point, you can probably omit all or some of the water. This gave a slightly more solid, but more moist and flavorful cake which we loved even better than the original given below.
In any case, here’s what you will need (makes enough to fill a 9-inch or ~22cm round cake form):
- A handheld or stand mixer. I have a handheld and it is more than sufficient.
- 2 cups (250g) plain flour (if you want to use self-rising flour specified in the original recipe, omit the salt and baking powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder (I use a measuring spoon for this, more precise than a random teaspoon out of a drawer)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3-4 tablespoons dessicated coconut
- 50-60g butter, softened and cut into small pieces
- 0.9 cup (200g) sugar. I used demerara.
- 220g full-fat (I use 10% Turkish) yogurt OR a 250g box of quark (10% fat kesella – ricotta cheese can be used)
- A few tablespoons of cold water (to adjust batter depending on varying yogurt consistencies)
- 1 egg yolk (from large egg) (or 2 egg yolks and skip some of the water)
- 1 tsp real vanilla sugar or a few drops real vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 orange
What to do:
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Grease and flour your cake form. You can line the bottom with baking parchment but I didn’t find it necessary – the cake separated very easily.
- Mix all the dry ingredients other than sugar in a bowl with a whisk to incorporate coconut and leavening agents thoroughly.
- In another bowl, using whipping blades of the mixer, blend butter with sugar, orange zest and vanilla sugar until it resembles coarse crumbs in size.
- Add yogurt and vanilla essence (if using that rather than vanilla sugar).
- Mix until roughly combined and blend in the egg yolk.
- Add the dry ingredients carefully and mix into a thick batter. If batter is too thick and doughy, add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time (to compensate for how drained your yogurt was) until batter it thin enough to scrape into the form and even out with a spatula, but not runny.
- Place the form into the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden-brown and a toothpick comes out dry if inserted into the middle of the cake.
- Remove from oven, cool in pan for a while and then turn out onto a rack to cool further until powdering with sugar. If you plan to frost the cake, make sure it is cooled completely before you do.
We ate this fresh, with just a dusting of powdered sugar on top, but I think this is the sort of cake that would also go really really well with some whipped cream and fresh fruit, or as I’ve mentioned, a good cream-cheese based frosting. I may have to make one with orange oil or zest to match the flavor of the cake which isn’t very strong, but the orange and coconut come through quite distinctly. A little tang with that would be oh-so-good!