The request was an orange cake. To my amusement, I later found out that the request would have been for chocolate cake, except that dogs aren't meant to eat chocolate cake, and my mother-in-law has a dog that is included in most edible celebrations. Some might express surprise that dogs can enjoy orange cake, but you don't know the dog in question.
When making birthday cakes for other people, I set my own taste preferences aside. Thus, if it seems difficult to make an enjoyable cake without eggs or dairy, I will make the cake with eggs or dairy. However, there are very few occasions where this proves necessary.
If you want to make an orange cake, it is very easy to find a vegan version. Some simple searching turned up several online variations of an orange cake first published in one of The Joy of Cooking cookbooks. All of the online posts talked about how easy the cake was to make, how moist and tender it was, and how it was enjoyed even by those who weren't vegan and who didn't usually like orange baked goods.
All of that sounded good, and so I made the cake a day in advance, taste tested mixture left in the bowl, and iced it on the day of the celebrations. Making a double-layer cake in two round cake tins that are slightly different in size always makes icing somewhat challenging (I should trim the bottom cake, but what a waste of cake!), but I decided to accept the somewhat messy appearance and generously sprinkle grated chocolate in an attempt to distract from it.
The cake was moist, light, fluffy, delicate, beautifully textured, and very well received by all (including the dog). However, it did not taste of orange. Having used the juice of four oranges in the mix, this was quite perplexing. I am still a little unsure what went wrong, other than that the cake may need zest as well as juice (this was done in one of the three recipes I looked at), and/or I used valencia oranges instead of the navel variety. I usually only buy oranges for juicing, and only for Mr B at that, and valencia oranges are the recommended variety for juice. It is possible that the navel variety are more flavourful for cooking.
Irrespective of the oranges you use, I recommend making my version with the addition of orange zest, or at least doing so if you want an orange flavoured cake. If you want a delicate, faintly vanilla cake you could omit the zest and just enjoy this as we did!
Makes two round cakes
3 cups plain flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups fresh orange juice (juice of 4 oranges)
2 tbsp orange pulp (as obtained when juicing 4 oranges)
1 tbsp orange zest (I didn't do this but would in future)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp non-dairy margarine
~2 tbsp vanilla soy yoghurt
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
Orange-flavoured dark chocolate, optional, for decorating
Preheat your oven to 175'C / 350'F and line two round cake tins with baking paper.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (orange juice, pulp and zest, vegetable oil, vinegar and vanilla).
Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir to combine.
Divide batter between the cake tins and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and non-dairy spread until fluffy and then add the yoghurt and vanilla and beat to combine.
Grate chocolate and sprinkle over the cake if desired.
Do you have much experience with orange baking?