Vegetarian Mousse Cakes Finally Arrived!

Onyx Hive Vegetarian Agar Agar
Picture by note thanun

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Cakes

After months of testing out different gelling agents for mousse, I finally have a mousse recipe I am happy with! The range of my lacto-ovo vegetarian mousse cakes are here!

I started to look into vegetarian and vegan cakes in late 2021, though I was still finding my feet in the cake world (still am), it was much more manageable to look into halal ingredients instead of the different variants of vegetarian ingredients.

What Makes It Vegetarian?

 

In my standard cakes, I use beef origin gelatin whereas in my vegetarian mousse, I use seaweed based setting powder, agar agar. This setting agent is quite popular in most east Asian countries.

Though, I do understand not all vegetarians consume diary and eggs, hence my cakes are lacto-ovo vegetarian cakes which does include dairy and eggs. While this is my range of vegetarian cakes for now, I will need to further research and test how to create a dairy-free mousse cake which is up to my standards. This process will passively progress into vegan cakes.

(Also read this: Halo - Nutella Mousse Cake)

 

The Challenges

 

Challenge One - Finding the Right Agar Agar
Not all agar agar is made the same, it can come in flakes and powder form. Also the seaweed farm that is picked from can alter the recipe on how much to use and how well it dissolves through heat.

I have tested over 5 brands of vegetarian setting agents from seaweed to fruit pectin but found the brand 'Powder Champion Gold Cup' agar agar to be one of the best powders to use in terms of ease and how well it dissolves.

Challenge Two - Melting the Agar Agar
Agar agar powder melts at a high temperature, between 85º to 95º C, it's important that you don't double boil as it will not reach the right temperature to melt. Direct pot melting with liquid is needed.

Challenge Three - Agar Agar to Liquid Ratio
Agar agar sets quite fast, even when warm! The powder to liquid ratio is significantly less than beef origin gelatin powder. For example, for my standard cakes, I would use roughly 1 tablespoon (~10g) of gelatin, whereas I would use 1.5 teaspoons (~3g) of agar agar to get a similar consistency.

Too much agar agar with liquid, for example, 8g agar agar to 150ml of liquid can be way too much as when you boil the mixture, the liquid will set and clump! Finding the right balance for my process was key.
Overall, I am stoked and happy that I managed to find a recipe that I can offer to lacto-ovo vegetarians and my next hurdle is dairy-free and egg-free cakes!


- Dante