Monday, June 30, 2008

The Townsville Show

A few weeks ago I was talking to some other members of the Townsville Animal Alliance, and we were discussing the pros and cons of having a stall at the Townsville Show. The Show is the Australian equivalent of an American county fair—agricultural displays, demolition derbies, rides, greasy food, farm animals, and competitions for local crafts, produce, and baked goods. It’s sort of the antithesis of an animal rights group.

But wait—baked good competition? We decided that we had to enter vegan baked goods. I emailed an inquiry, and got back a very detailed list of categories, rules and conditions. There were almost 90 categories, not including the junior section, but I settled on two: Madeira Cake and Small Cakes.

After I entered the paperwork, I realised I’ve never eaten a madeira cake and all I knew about it was that it was orange-flavoured. I did some googling and discovered it’s an orangey pound cake. I’ve never made a poundcake... but I remembered reading good things about the recipe from Veganomicon. So my first task was to get ahold of that recipe. I left comments and sent emails to other bloggers, and eventually Vegan Noodle emailed me a copy—thanks!

Two weeks before the Show I modified the pound cake recipe and made some practice versions. Here are my Mexican Chocolate practice cupcakes.

I made sure to share my Madeira Cake with lots of non-vegan friends, to make sure it tasted like it was supposed to taste. I got rave reviews, so I was all set to enter the show.

So Thursday night I got to baking. I did it properly, measuring and sifting and doing steps I sometimes skip. I made the Madeira Cake first. (It had to be in a 20 cm round tin, even though madeira cake is traditionally in loaf form... weird.)

Then I made the cupcakes, which I dipped in a dark chocolate ganache. The ganache was a bit lumpy looking, so I sprinkled the cuppers with icing sugar. Unfortunately, it melted and left white puddles—so we chose the six cupcakes with the most uniform patterns and entered them.

We dropped them off at the Cooking Pavilion on Friday morning, and then they were judged and displayed for the duration of the show. The only trouble is, you had to go to find out if you won...

Madeira Cake (based on Vanilla Yogurt Poundcake from Veganomicon)

1 c. blended silken tofu
½ c. orange juice
1 c. soy milk
1 t. white vinegar
1 ¾ c. raw sugar
¾ c. vegetable oil
3 t. vanilla
1 ½ t. orange zest
3 c. flour
4 ½ T. arrowroot powder
2 ¼ t. baking powder
¾ t. bicarb soda
¾ t. salt

Preheat the oven to 170. Grease and flour two loaf pans or round cake pans (or one of each). Combine orange juice, soy milk and vinegar, set aside. In a large bowl, combine tofu, vanilla, soy milk mixture, sugar, oil, and orange zest. Using a stick blender or electric mixer, blend until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and then sift into wet ingredients. Fold together, and then stir vigorously for several minutes until a smooth, thick batter forms. Pour into prepared tins and smooth tops. Bake for 65 to 75 minutes—don’t open the oven for the first 45 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely. Best the day after baking.

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

1 ½ c. plain flour
1 c. sugar
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. bicarb soda
¼ t. salt
1 c. cold water
¼ c. vegetable oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. vanilla
1/2 t. cayenne powder (optional, but I didn't think the CWA would be too keen on it so I left it out)

Preheat the oven to 180. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners. Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a jug, combine cold water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined. Spoon into prepared tins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and cool completely before icing.


VeggieGirl said...

Wow, your Madeira Cake and cupcakes are fabulous!! Wait, so who won?? :0)

Vegan_Noodle said...

They both look like winners to me!!! I think it's awesome that yall entered them in the competition.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Can I be the judge? please? The madeira cake looks specially perfect.

Groover said...

What a cool thing to do and thanks for sharing the recipes. Weird that they don't call you to let you know if you won.
Your post reminds me that we have EKKA coming up in August. One more holiday and then the very loooooong stretch till Christmas without any :-(

Sanja said...

I think it's great you participated even though you don't like the Show - great way to do some vegan outreach. :-) Your cakes en cupcakes look wonderful!

The Vegan Snorkeler said...

Looks great to me! Great idea entering your vegan creations!

Vegetation said...

Mmmmmmm yum! The cupcakes look great despite the melted sugar, feel free to send some my way ;)

And I gather you didn't go so don't know who won?

Katy said...

Yay for vegan bakers! Both treats look delicious!

Liz² said...

cool-looking madeira cake, and congratulations on the wins!