Vegan Gluten-Free Baking From Scratch : Rich Chocolate Cake With Peppermint Ganache | Winny | Skillshare

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Vegan Gluten-Free Baking From Scratch : Rich Chocolate Cake With Peppermint Ganache

teacher avatar Winny, Creative Baker

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Basics


    • 3.

      Ingredients Explained


    • 4.

      White Chocolate Peppermint Ganache


    • 5.

      Dry Ingredients


    • 6.

      Wet Ingredients


    • 7.

      Mixing The Ingredients


    • 8.

      Dividing And Baking The Batter


    • 9.

      Whipping The Ganache


    • 10.

      Filling And Crumb Coating The Cake


    • 11.

      Frosting The Cake


    • 12.

      Finishing Touch


    • 13.

      Storage And Serving Suggestions


    • 14.

      Class Project And Thank You


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About This Class

Welcome! This is an introductory class to specialty cake baking. You will learn the difference between conventional baking to vegan and gluten-free baking. This class is more than a how-to step-by-step guide. You will be able to apply your knowledge by preparing a delicious rich chocolate cake that is frosted in white chocolate peppermint ganache, all without the need of animal products and gluten! Having allergies or special dietary needs doesn’t mean you’re missing out.

This class is designed for beginners, baking equipments and tools required are minimal.

Key learning points:

  • Egg substitution
  • Dairy substitution
  • Baking without gluten
  • Improving the cake flavor
  • Assembling the cake
  • Troubleshooting tips
  • No-oven option

This cake is also free from : honey, gelatine, margarine, palm oil, xanthan and guar gum, with soy-free option.

Meet Your Teacher

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Creative Baker


Hi! I'm Winny.

I'm a baking and cake-decorating teacher from Indonesia. I have a background in hospitality management and I was formally trained in confectionary arts in Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts, Toronto, Canada. After completing my diploma program, I returned to my hometown Jakarta, Indonesia, and started my own cake decorating business, Trésor Cakes, specializing in novelty and wedding cakes.

When I first started, I was faced with so many challenges. Especially because I was trained in Canada, where the climate is totally different from Indonesia. Working in a professional kitchen or school where the working environment is controlled very well is also different from our home kitchen. I will discuss these challenges as we... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hello everyone. Welcome to this baking class, where you will learn how to make this rich chocolate cake frosted with white chocolate peppermint ganache. This cake is not only vegan, but it's also gluten-free. So if you're someone with allergies or a business owner who wants to cater to people with special dietary needs, then this class would be perfect for you. Forget eggs and butter. We are going to use wholesome and environmentally friendly ingredients to make this cake. We'll first talk about how and why things work and discuss how to enrich the cake flavor. Because we're not going to compromise with the taste. You'll also get to learn how to make ganache that looks like a regular butter cream, but tastes even better than dairy-based frosting. And finally, you'll learn how to assemble and simply decorate the cake. This class offers more than a how-to step-by-step guide. It'd be a building block towards your journey in vegan and gluten-free baking. At the end of the class, I'm sure you'll feel confident to create this scrumptious treat at the comfort of your own kitchen. So join me in this class if you're ready to dive right into deliciousness. See you in class. 2. The Basics: Hi everyone. This is Winny, welcome back to my class here on Skillshare. Before we start the class, I want to quickly share with you why I created this class and how this class can help you. So I have personally switched to a vegan diet since 2017 because of an illness. After the shift, it was very challenging for me to find a cake that doesn't only taste good, but also using the best ingredients possible. Many cakes that are labeled vegan out there actually contain ingredients that I tried to avoid, such as white sugar, bleached white flour, hydrogenated fat, or trans fat, and even artificial butter flavoring, which by the way is linked to Alzheimer. That's why I've been experimenting with vegan and gluten-free baking myself since 2018. At first, everything was very confusing. I just couldn't really understand why I couldn't get the right structure, texture and good taste. We'll talk about this in a moment. But now I've become so much better at it. And I'm here to help you understand the basics. Wouldn't it be great if we can bake our own treats? Because this way we can control what goes into our body. First of all, let me briefly explain to you about the three main ingredients that are essential in regular cake baking. They are dairy, eggs, and gluten. There are several things that eggs do in a cake, but mainly it's to provide structure and stability. While variety of dairy products in a cake, such as milk, butter, or sour cream, have many different roles in cake baking. For example, hydrating the dry ingredients, giving a rich taste, and also coating the gluten to create softer crumbs. Gluten is a group of protein in some types of grains, most commonly found in wheat. It has viscoelastic and adhesive properties, which gives its elasticity, helping it rise, keeping its shape, and leaving the final product, such as a bread with a springy and chewy texture. Gluten molecules are activated when flour is moistened and normally we want to develop gluten by kneading the dough in bread baking or mixing cake batter. This is a picture of what we call the window pane test. The presence of gluten is the reason you can stretch out a piece of dough without it breaking or tearing. But in regular cakes and cookies baking, usually it is suggested to use flour with a lower content of gluten and also not to overmix the batter. Otherwise, you'll be developing too much gluten and making the cakes or cookies unpleasantly gummy. I guess the bottom line here is that there's nothing can really replace gluten. Maybe there will be future inventions that could replicate gluten. But at least for now, the best that we can do is combining several types of ingredients to mimic gluten properties. We're going to continue to the substitutions for these ingredients. But before that, please take a quick screenshot of this page. It covers troubleshooting tips for some of the most common issues in vegan and gluten-free cake baking. So this is the baking temperature and time guideline which worked for me for this cake. I personally use an electric oven with both top and bottom heat source. It might be different for you depending on what type of oven that you use. And here's a bonus. This is an alternative method If you don't have an oven at home. I have successfully used a large pot to steam the cake. And it turned out really, really well. If you're using this method, don’t forget to wrap the pot lid with a kitchen towel so the water is not going to drip onto your cake while it's steaming. 3. Ingredients Explained: In this chapter, I'm going to explain a lot of details and it's going to be a long one. So please bear with me as I go on. So here is our ingredients list and just a heads up, We're going to weigh each ingredient instead of using cups measurement. Because weighing the ingredients will give us a much more consistent result. Let's start with the dry ingredients. As you can see here, we're using several types of flour. In my opinion, every Baker has their own preference for gluten-free flour mix. And from my experience, gluten-free flour mix would give a better texture compared to if you're just using one type of flour. It's not impossible to use only one type of flour. I've seen other bakers do that, but I find that sometimes it could result in a more gummy or denser cake. The reason I'm not using the readily available gluten-free flour mix is because there are too many brands out there that may not be available in some countries. So with this recipe, you can see each ingredient. And I believe it should be available wherever you are. And also it's just so much cheaper to mix your own gluten-free flour mix if you want to replace any of the ingredient here, for example, brown rice flour, you could replace it with something similar, such as sorghum flour. But if you replace it with, let's say, coconut flour, you won't get the same desired texture. For the cocoa powder, I'm using the Dutch- process cocoa powder, which is basically natural cocoa treated with an alkalizing agent to lessen its acidity. This process makes “Dutched” cocoa smoother tasting and darker in color too. Okay, so our main leavening agents here is obviously baking powder and baking soda. And just so you know, I'm using double acting baking powder and the agar-agar powder here is to help strengthen our cake structure. I don't use gum in my baking because there are people who can't have gum and agar-agar powder makes an excellent substitution to xanthan and guar gum. Moving on to the liquid ingredients, we have coconut oil as the substitution to butter and would be the main fat source in this cake. Feel free to replace it with other types of neutral oil, such as sunflower or rapeseed oil. And then we have soy milk, strong coffee, and vanilla extract. These are the key ingredients needed to enrich our cake flavor. I like to use organic and non-GMO soy milk to add some creaminess but, if you can't have soy, you can replace it with other types of plant-based milk. Such as almond or oat milk. Now the coffee and vanilla extract will work together to improve the chocolatey flavor even more. So use the best vanilla extract that you can get. You won’t really taste a strong coffee flavor in the final cake. However, if you cannot have coffee, you can replace it with water. But coffee is definitely preferable. The main sweetener in this cake is sorghum sugar. I like to use it very much because the character is quite similar to white table sugar. And it doesn't taste very strong and overpowering, unlike coconut sugar, the color is also lighter than coconut sugar, and it also contains a small amount of minerals such as calcium and potassium. If you can't get it in your area, I'd recommend to use raw cane sugar instead. I won't particularly recommend Erythritol, because it has a distinctive aftertaste. And I find that Erythritol usually absorbs more moisture. So you might want to adjust the liquid ingredients if using it. For the next ingredient. So we have pumpkin puree, ground flax seed and psyllium husk. You might have guessed that these three are the substitutions to eggs and you're correct. While there are many other substitutions to eggs in vegan baking, such as applesauce. bananas, tofu. I use these three because they work really great in this recipe as a binder. And lastly, we have sea salt to round out and deepen the taste of our chocolate cake. One last note for the dry ingredients. I just want to say, even though you don't have gluten sensitivity, I think by combining several types of flour, it's going to be nutritionally better compared to the regular all-purpose flour. And of course, don't get me wrong. Cake is not a good nutrition source. But, you know, we can actually get creative and incorporate more fiber and other nutrients into our cake by adding more varieties and choosing better ingredients. So for the ganache, it's very simple. Ganache is basically just a mixture of chocolate, whipping or double cream plus any flavoring such as vanilla or in this case, peppermint extract. I know that there are dairy-free whipping cream options out there, but I prefer not to use it because first of all, usually it contains hydrogenated fat, stabilizer, emulsifier and food colorings. And I prefer to bake without additives as much as possible. And secondly, most of non-dairy whipping cream that's available in my country contains palm oil. And we are facing constant deforestation and forest fire issues linked to palm oil production. I try not to use it in my daily cooking and baking. Instead, I'm using a mixture of soy milk and coconut cream for this ganache recipe. The milk is to balance or neutralize the strong coconut flavor, and lighten the thick coconut cream. But again, if you can't have soy milk, you can replace it with any other neutral tasting plant-based milk. And don't worry about the taste of soy or coconut in the final ganache, I promise you won't even notice them if you're using the best pure peppermint extract. Last but not least, to decorate the cake, I'm using freeze-dried raspberries because it's healthy and the red pinkish color is a great contrast to the white ganache. But of course, you can definitely use whatever decoration you like. 4. White Chocolate Peppermint Ganache: The first step to make this cake is making our white chocolate peppermint ganache. Start with chopping the vegan white chocolate. And I'm placing them in my kitchenaid mixing bowl. If you're not using a standing mixer, make sure to use a bowl that is large enough because we're going to whip this ganache later. Next, mix the coconut cream and soy milk on a pan. We want to heat the soy milk and coconut cream into a simmer. And please make sure it's not boiling. And then pour the hot mixture over the chopped white chocolate and slowly incorporate the cream into the chocolate. If the cream is too hot, it will ruin the chocolate. So don't overheat. Break any bigger chunks until it's all melted. I'm using Nielsen Massey pure peppermint extract because this is the best brand I can get here. Keep stirring until everything is combined. And the final consistency should resembles condensed milk. With a plastic wrap, cover the surface, touching the ganache and then let it set in the fridge overnight or for at least six hours in an air-conditioned room. 5. Dry Ingredients: For the dry ingredients We’re just going to combine everything in a bowl and then mix them with a whisk. 6. Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine ground flax seed, psyllium husk, and warm coffee. Let them soak for about five minutes to thicken. And then add the pumpkin puree and the rest of the wet ingredients, mix everything with a whisk and just keep mixing until everything is well combined and lump-free. 7. Mixing The Ingredients: Sift the dry into the wet ingredients in two or three additions. This way, we can avoid creating big lumps in the batter. Combine everything with a spatula or mix with a paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer. it is necessary to mix gluten-free batter in a longer period of time to help strengthen the structure. So mix this batter vigorously for a good five minutes. It's a really good workout for your arm. The final consistency for this batter should be quite thick. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes to allow the flour to soak in the moisture. Don't forget to preheat your oven during this time. You also want to prepare the baking pans and cut the parchment paper to cover the bottom and the sides of the pans. 8. Dividing And Baking The Batter: Use a kitchen scale to divide the batter equally into the prepared baking pans. Baking with two shallow pans like this is much better compared to baking in one taller pan. Because usually gluten-free flour is denser than regular flour, they could sink to the bottom and making it more difficult to rise, thus creating a dense cake. If you choose to use one taller pan, you can try rising the temperature at the first 15 to 20 minutes and then lower the temperature for the rest of the baking time. But please know that it will also take a longer baking time if you're using one taller pan. Since this batter is quite thick, I'm using an offset spatula to smoothen the surface. I'm using my old trusty electric oven here. And as the oven is preheating, I had placed a pan filled with hot water on the bottom rack and it will generate steam that is going to help moisten our cake. The batter is now ready to be baked. Don't forget to use oven gloves, because what I do here with my bare hands is kind of dangerous and I don't want you to get oven burn. Finally, here's our baked chocolate cake. Let them cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before removing and wrapping them with plastic wrap and chill overnight. 9. Whipping The Ganache: After setting the ganache for a few hours or overnight, Let's check if it's ready to be whipped. If your ganache is straight out of the fridge, bring the ganache to room temperature first before whipping it. As you can see here, in a solid but also spreadable. This is the consistency that we're aiming for. You can use this as it is is to frost the cake. But I want to show you how whipping the ganache could really lighten the color and makes it look like a regular buttercream. You can use a hand mixer or like me, I'm using a Kitchenaid mixer on a medium to medium high speed and whip it until it doubled in volume, And the color turned pale. It will turn pale very quickly as it incorporates air. Here's a real example of the ganache turning too soft. Maybe because my working environment was quite warm that day, so this happened. It's not dripping, but it's not firm either. If this occurred to you, just pop it in the fridge for about ten minutes before we return it to the mixer. Look at that. It looks super creamy, doesn't it? Popping it in the fridge really did make a difference. Can you even tell that this is dairy-free? Now we have this perfect silky smooth ganache frosting ready to be used. 10. Filling And Crumb Coating The Cake: We're finally down to the assembling step. The chocolate cake is preferably cold, so it's not very crumbly and easier to work with. Place one layer of cake on your chosen cake board. I did not secure it onto the board because I'm not delivering this cake anywhere. But if you are, please secure the chocolate cake onto the board with a dollop of ganache. Using an offset spatula, spread the cake filling, which is the whipped ganache evenly. And then place another layer of chocolate cake on top of it and gently center and press the cake. For those of you who is new to baking, this next step is called crumb coating. The term is pretty self-explanatory. We're basically coating, covering or masking the cake with a thin layer of ganache to seal the crumbs. Before we frost the cake with a final thicker layer of ganache. It doesn't have to be very neat. And we're going to chill this in the fridge for 15 minutes before we do the final frosting. 11. Frosting The Cake: After we chilled the crumb coated cake for 15 minutes, we want to frost the cake with a thicker layer of ganache. If you want to learn more about the decorating technique, you can check out my older video on Skillshare. It's about how to work with buttercream. So basically I just frosted this cake evenly. Because this cake is suitable for the holiday season. I thought I’d create this matching snow-like texture by dabbing the spatula all over the ganache. And if you don't have an offset spatula, actually, a spoon could also work just fine. 12. Finishing Touch: Well, this might feel like a very trivial thing, but don't forget to clean your cake board, grab a paper towel, dip it in warm water, and wipe away the grease on the cake board. As I mentioned before, I'm using freeze-dried raspberries for the topping. They kind of resemble candy cane, but this is like the healthy version. Have fun and decorate this cake with anything you like. Maybe use some other fruits, nuts, sugar or chocolate decorations. Fresh cut flower, or even gold leaf for a fancier look. 13. Storage And Serving Suggestions: It's easier to cut this cake while it's really cold. So ideally, you can chill this cake overnight before you cut and serve it. If you want to get a really clean slice without any crumble, deep your knife in hot water, and then wipe it before using this warm knife to cut the cold cake. Repeat this step for every slice you make. I'm sorry, I did not do that in this video. I just wanted to quickly show you what the inside looks like. This cake would be best consumed within five days. You can wrap the sliced or unsliced cake with plastic wrap to prevent it drying out in the refrigerator. 14. Class Project And Thank You: Thank you so much for joining me everyone. I hope you learned something new from his class today. And now it's your turn to make this cake for the class project. Post your cake pictures here and share your baking experience with all of us. If you have any question, feel free to ask me on the discussions panel. And if you enjoyed this class and feel that this class is helpful, please kindly give your review. That says for today everyone, I hope to see you in other classes. Till then. Take care. Bye bye.