Vegan / Dairy Free Cupcake - Taste Test Responses

With the final responses in from my vegan / dairy free cupcake taste test, I guess it's time I shared the results. First, I'm going to share the responses and then I'll draw up my conclusions and the way forward for this Crafty Welsh Grandma's leap into this area of baking.

If you haven't seen or read the blog post about my first ever try at baking vegan cake, click here

The 12 cupcakes made were divided between six taste testers, of these six:
  • 17% were vegan
  • 33% were vegetarian and
  • 50% were neither vegetarian or vegan but had an 'omnivore' diet
I asked my volunteers to respond in three different areas of both the sponge and the frosting:
  1. Taste
  2. Texture and
  3. Aroma 
To prevent a long list of results, I will be giving the average responses overall

  • Of the Sponge: Overall, my taste testers were Very Satisfied
  • Of the Frosting: Overall, my taste testers were Extremely Satisfied
    • Of the Sponge: Overall, my taste testers were Satisfied
    • Of the Frosting: Overall, my taste testers were Extremely Satisfied
    • Of the Sponge: Overall, my taste testers were Very Satisfied
    • Of the Frosting: Overall, my taste testers were Extremely Satisfied

    The lowest 'score' in the three areas of both parts of the cupcakes came in the texture of the sponge with the individual comments as follows:
    • It wasn't as light as a vegetarian cupcake
    • The texture of the sponge was a little on the firm side
    • Initially, I thought they'd be hard and dense. As these were made yesterday they seemed to have softened up and were only slightly different from the vegetarian sponge.
    • Sponge was slightly denser than normal but did not lower the quality of the cake.
    • The texture was what let the sponge down, very dense, too heavy and too moist.

    The overall comments and feedback of the cupcakes were as follows:
    • I would not have known the difference. I'd eat them again
    • The overall taste and texture of the cupcakes is delicious. They are sweet and very tasty. The sponge is a little firmer than cakes made using dairy, but still delicious.
    • Overall, yes they were difference from the vegetarian ones. I know these were made yesterday but were still perfect, the sponge was not as dense as I'd expected. The cupcake, as a whole, is a bit of a winner. But I think some extra flavour extract wouldn't go amiss
    • Overall it tasted great, just ever so slightly denser than normal :)
    • Although the sponge was not as good as perhaps it could be, I really enjoyed the opportunity to taste. I had planned to have one for my lunch at work tomorrow, however I could not wait. Very satisfying indeed

    In conclusion:
    I'm rather pleased with myself if I'm honest. Although I would have preferred all three areas to have 'top marks', considering I'd never baked vegan before, I think I can honestly say that my taste testers were generally happy with the experience and taste sensation.
    I'd go as far as to say that the frosting aka buttercream, was quite a success and I have no need to worry about this part of my cake!

    The way forward:
    It goes without saying that my sponge needs working on to ensure it can be as light and fluffy, well, almost as light and fluffy as my 'standard' vegetarian sponge mix.
    I have been undertaking a little research on the egg replacer product I've used and, whilst this seems to be a common 'problem' with the lack of a real egg in the sponge, I have found some answers and will be trying them out.

    The way forward seems to be - Keep at it until I crack it!

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