Vegan pound cake. The idea is simple, but the concept’s more difficult than it appears to be at a surface level. This isn’t chocolate cake with strong flavors to cover up missing elements or brownies that can have applesauce in place of eggs, this is a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, a pound of butter, and a pound of flour. Those are the only four ingredients truly needed for a pound cake, and by making it vegan, we have to alter two of those essential elements.
If we were trying to make this 10 years ago, or even just 5 years ago, I don’t think we would’ve been able to make it happen. Thankfully, the food industry has turned out some pretty outstanding meat, egg, and dairy replacement in recent years that allow us to tackle traditionally animal-product heavy recipes like this one.
The main things we need to figure out here is what to use in place of butter and eggs. When it comes to butter, our first instinct is to reach for a container of Melt Organic, a brand that creates rich, creamy, and affordable plant-based butter that damn near matches conventional butter in texture, flavor, and nutrition. The only other plant-based butter we know of and can recommend is Miyoko’s, albeit Miyoko’s is a bit too expensive for us to buy a pound at a time.
Eggs on the other hand are trickier to replace, as there isn’t a plant-based egg out there that can do everything thing a normal egg can. Hey Impossible Foods – we’re looking at you.
Eggs aren’t a simple product. They’re a complex mixture of proteins, fats, water, emulsifiers, and other natural compounds that make them uniquely special. For that reason, flax eggs, chia eggs, applesauce, peanut butter, bananas, and other simple plant-based foods just aren’t going to cut it as they don’t contain the proteins, fats, emulsifiers, and stabilizing properties necessary to stand up to eggs. That’s why we’re turning to an industrial egg replacer, the best one we’ve found being VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart. It comes in a powder, it can only replace scrambled eggs, and it smells really strange when you’re prepping it, but its flavor and effect on baked goods is very similar to that of the real thing.
Incase you’re unfamiliar with what separates pound cake from traditional sponge cake, pound cake has a finer crumb, denser texture, heavier weight, and more subtle flavor. Sponge cakes on the other hand get their delicate crumb, fluffy texture, and light weight from the addition of leavening agents, such as baking powder and baking soda + acids. Pound cakes don’t go through a big rise during baking as they don’t contain any leavening agents and what little rise they do have comes from the air that’s incorporated during the creaming process. For that reason, it’s imperative that we whip plenty of air into the butter, sugar, and egg mixture so that it doesn’t end up feeling like a loaf of fruit cake.
If you’re familiar with baking basics, making this pound cake will be a breeze. In all honesty, it’s less fussy than brownies, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and most other baked goods; this is as simple as it gets. And in this case, simplicity is sublime.
All in all, this vegan pound cake is:
- Moist with a fine crumb
- Buttery, laced with vanilla, and zesty
- The first *good* vegan pound cake recipe we’ve seen (humble brag)
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500 Million, I Got a Pound Cake
Classic Buttery Vegan Pound Cake with a Simple Lemon Glaze
A fine crumb, buttery flavor, and moist interior make this a pound cake impressive enough to fool any hardcore traditionalist.
- 16 oz cake flour, sifted
- 16 oz Melt vegan butter
- 16 oz vegan-friendly white sugar*
- 16 oz VeganEgg (13.75 oz cold water + 2.25 oz VeganEgg powder)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 180 grams (1 ½ cups) powdered sugar*
- 3 tbsps lemon juice
- zest from one lemon
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a 10 inch nonstick bundt pan, dust it with cake flour to coat, and shake out any excess. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together VeganEgg powder with cold water until smooth. Set aside.
- Sift cake powder into a large bowl (preferably one that’s flexible) and set aside for now.
- Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a standup mixer fitted the paddle attachment. Start on medium low speed until mixture comes together, then boost speed to high and cream until fluffy and light in color (reference photo with paddle attachment in post). Scraping down the sides with a spatula every minute or so; about 4 minutes in total.
- Add VeganEgg into butter mixture in three batches, mixing each one in until smooth before adding the next. Once incorporated, scrape down the sides, add in vanilla and salt, and beat on high for 2-3 minutes to incorporate more air.
- Stop the mixer, add in 1/3 of the flour, turn speed to low until just incorporated, then boost to medium speed until mostly smooth. Repeat for remaining batches, scraping the sides after the third batch.
- After you add the third batch, mix until just smooth (be sure not to over mix as to avoid gluten formation), then pour batter into prepped cake pan. Smooth out the top, place in oven, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean; 1 hr – 1 hr 15 min.
- Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then use a pairing knife to go around the edges of the cake to make sure it’s not stuck to the pan. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and rest until completely cool; about 4 hours.
- Assemble glaze by whisking together lemon juice, lemon zest, and powdered sugar until smooth. Add powdered sugar in three batches for easy whisking.
- Pour glaze over cake, slice, and enjoy! Store covered at room temperature for 3 days.
*Many bleached products such as white flour and sugar are processed using animal bone char, which obviously isn’t vegan. However, some brands such as Sprouts label their products with the “certified vegan” stamp, ensuring it was produced without animal products.
*For powdered sugar, also check to ensure vegan friendliness. Pro tip: organic versions are always vegan.