These tasty mini-cakes are shaped like sushi but are sweet vegan treats. They may look as if they require plenty of effort but are not as hard as you might imagine, plus you’ll have a lot of fun making them. You can make this recipe with any kind of white cake although I’ve chosen this one because it’s firm and will be easier to shape. Rummage around in your kitchen cupboards to find sweets you already have that would look good as sushi fillings.
Makes 12-15 pieces
For the cake
185g self-raising flour
160g caster sugar
¾ tsp baking powder
120g vegan butter (room temperature, cubed)
80ml plant-based milk
120g vegan yoghurt
1tsp vanilla bean paste
For the buttercream
100g vegan butter (containing at least 75% fat, not vegan margarine)
180g icing sugar
Green food dye
For the sugar syrup ‘soy sauce’
50ml boiling water
75g dark muscovado sugar
1 piece of stem ginger in syrup
Brown, orange, pink, and red food dyes
Black and pink fondant icing
100g fine desiccated coconut
Various gummy sweets (orange, pink and purple colours work well)
1 green apple
Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/400F/gas mark 6 and grease an 18cm cake tin, then line the base with a circle of greaseproof paper.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients (self-raising flour, caster sugar, cornflour and baking powder). Then add in the cubes of vegan butter, and beat together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Add in the plant-based milk, vegan yoghurt and vanilla. Beat until combined. Then whisk using an electric whisk on high for another three minutes, until light in colour and fluffy. If whisking by hand, it’ll take longer.
Pour into the prepared cake tin, and then bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top springs back when pressed lightly, and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes, then run a knife around the edges and turn out on to a wire rack.
Once the cake has cooled, wrap in clingfilm and then place in the freezer for two hours (this will make the cake easier to cut).
To make the buttercream, whisk together the butter and icing sugar until soft and fluffy. Remove two teaspoons of buttercream into a separate bowl and dye this green – this will be the “wasabi”. Cover both bowls and set aside for now. Slice the piece of stem ginger into thin slivers. Add a tiny amount of pink food dye and rub into the ginger to make it look like the pickled variety.
Spoon some green buttercream into a small dish, and place the ginger next to it. Make the sugar syrup “soy sauce” by mixing the boiling water with the muscovado sugar until dissolved (place in the microwave in short bursts if needed). Then pour into a small serving dish.
When the cake is chilled, cut off the brown crusts and then use a small round cutter to stamp out pieces of cake. Use a sharp knife to cut out rectangular shapes, and carve the top edges so that they’re slightly curved. You are aiming for the general shape of the rice in nigiri sushi. Cut or stamp out as many shapes as possible. You will have leftover cake scraps – you can eat these as they are, or turn them into cake pops.
To make the maki-shaped cake sushi, use a palette knife to completely cover the mini round cakes with white buttercream. Roll out the black fondant until thin, then cut into strips. Wrap the cakes in the black fondant so the sides are covered but not the top. Sprinkle the outer edge of the cake top with desiccated coconut, and then put small chopped pieces of gummy sweets, marzipan or apple in the centre.
To make the nigiri-shaped cake sushi, use a palette knife to completely cover the rectangular cakes with white buttercream, then sprinkle over the desiccated coconut. Make the fish toppings by shaping the pink fondant into fish slices. Then paint using food dye mixed with a little water. Use a knife or toothpick to create texture. Place these on top of the coconut-covered cakes. Shape the marzipan into a rectangle to resemble tamago, which you can use as a topping. Wrap with another thin piece of black fondant. Present along with the condiments made earlier plus some chopsticks.