My first layer cake was the most amazing two-day project. I used Sarah Britton's recipe for Blood Orange Chocolate Cake, which is completely plant-based and features a brilliant frosting made from dates, raw cacao powder and rice milk that successfully mimics the texture of buttercream.
I had a lot of firsts. My first time cutting cake layers, my first time frosting a cake, my first kitchen crime scene.
I ran into a problem early on, when the recipe called for the flour to be sifted. I am using whole spelt flour by Farmer Ground, and when it is sifted, large flakes of bran are left behind in the tray. I was torn about what to do - I figured Sarah was calling for sifted flour to combine the dry ingredients well and to end up with an aerated batter - but it felt pointless to be using such a nutritious whole grain flour if I was going to leave out the fibrous shell that makes it digestible! With two separate cakes on the agenda, however, it was the perfect opportunity for an experiment.
For the chocolate cake, I left the bran flakes out. For the blood orange cake, I mixed the bran flakes back in after sifting the dry ingredients. I was pessimistically expecting the chocolate cake to be the aerated, fuffed-up winner, but I was pleasantly surprised. The blood orange took the cake (I had to) on texture!
You can see the difference in both the size and the density:
This was not an ideal controlled experiment, as the recipes for the two cakes are different, but they call for the same amount of liquid and dry ingredients, so it is a trustworthy indicator. The bran flakes absorbed the wet ingredients, swelled, and moved aside for those evenly spaced air pockets that made for such a good crumb.
Best of all, after distributing a few slices amongst family and friends, I had a whole massive half of a cake to eat at my leisure, and because of the 100% whole, unrefined ingredients in this cake, eating it all by myself was not a problem - it is nutrient-dense, totally digestible and won't cause bloating or blood sugar spikes. Perhaps more maple syrup than one person should have in a week, but we all make sacrifices for the things we love, right?