Foray into Foret Noir: Adventures with Agar Agar and Soyatoo

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I’ve been wanting to create a vegan black forest cake for a while, so a recent family gathering presented itself as the perfect opportunity to experiment with one. Also, I came across this oddly named product “Soyatoo” at the local health food store, which aroused both my curiosity and suspicion. It’s a vegan whippable soy topping which comes in either the boxed version pictured below or a spray cream.

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There were several components to this cake that were new to me, and that I ended up struggling with. Aside from the fact that I’m still new to the vegan desserts thing, I’ve only used agar agar once before and I was scratching my head over what to do with soyatoo. But I had a vision of a cake with an ethereal miroir glaze, and it was to have the components of a black forest cake, with French-style aesthetics, and it was to going to be vegan.

I used a cake recipe from Fran Costigan’s non-dairy desserts class at ICE (seems I’ve gotten quite a bit of mileage out of this class). It turned out delicious and moist. I also used her recipe for a cherry cream made from silken firm tofu, reconstituted dried cherries and chopped chocolate as a basis for my cherry “mousse”. However, here’s where the soyatoo comes in – in order to stabilize it a bit more and create a more mousse-like texture, I added agar agar to a portion of the soyatoo, then added this to firmly whipped soyatoo. I then folded this whipped soyatoo into the cherry cream to create a mousse, which I refrigerated for a few hours. I lined the bottom of a cake ring with the cake (the same technique I used in my last post), spread a layer of cherry mousse over the cake, lined the sides with halved and pitted cherries at regular interval, and filled the ring with the remaining mousse. I let this set in the refrigerator while I went to experiment with my agar agar miroir.

A miroir or mirror is typically made with gelatin, but since I was making a vegan cake, I used agar agar dissolved in boiled cherry juice. I ended up having to create several few layers for adequate coverage, but I finally achieved the glass-like quality I was hoping for, which was thrilling!

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I was really happy that the cake turned out okay, that my experiments were successful overall. Next time, I would modify the cake to mousse proportion, adding another layer of cake, perhaps. Also, I thought the soyatoo had a slight aftertaste, though my husband thought it was quite good. I googled the product to see what others thought and it seems some people swear by this stuff while others have a less pleasant reaction. It’s a personal, subjective taste, but I think it’s a reasonable substitute for whipping cream, which I’d use again if essential.

One Response to “Foray into Foret Noir: Adventures with Agar Agar and Soyatoo”

  1. mina Says:

    what! how can there be no comments? this looks fabulous. i hope to achieve something as wonderful as your miroir with my humble package of agar agar.