Sunday, 21 October 2018

Seitan's Cake

Yes, this is a play on 'Satan' - Seitan's cake and with Halloween not that far away, I do like to make freaky food around this time of year to amuse myself, if no one else.  I admit its strange as I don't participate by dressing up and attending Halloween fancy dress parties.  The closest I get to it is when the children in the street dress up and knock on the door to 'trick and treat' - yes, its become a big thing in this part of the Welsh valleys. 

Let me tell you a story from my childhood.  At primary school one of the teachers told us a story about this Welsh lady in traditional Welsh costume wearing a paisley shawl.  I don't remember very much about the story, but what stuck with me was that if you looked closely at her Paisley patterned shawl, you could see the devil's face. 

I've always been fascinated in that kind of stuff, which may explain my liking of supernatural and psychological films and dramas like Hinterland.  The first series of Hinterland also references the painting of the Welsh lady in the shawl attending a small Baptist chapel, near Harlech, North Wales. It was in my adult life that I learned that the painting was called Salem (1908) by Sydney Curnow Vosper; and that he denied deliberately painting the devil in the shawl, but he did admit to painting another ghostly figure in the painting, which I never noticed.  Look at the window!  Please follow this link if you want to take look at the painting that I write about - the window and the shawl. If you can't quite make out the devil in the shawl, then follow this link by Wales On-line that illustrates horns, eyes and mouth. It still gives me the chills. 
Back to my seitan - 'satan' cake .  I've been experimenting with vital wheat gluten a lot lately. I think this is the best one so far that I have made, that is versatile in so many recipes. 

With vital wheat gluten readily available now in the UK, we are seeing an explosion of vegan junk food eateries opening up all over the UK including Cardiff, VX Bristol and The Flying Duck in Glasgow to name a few. You will even find that some Welsh, Scottish and Irish newly converted vegan millennial cookbook authors claiming to have created seitan recipes with no acknowledgement to its origins or the inspiration.  They just seem to like taking the credit for it as if it came out of their heads a bit like aquafaba meringue, but I am not that disrespectful or full of myself to take all the credit.  I have been using vital wheat gluten now for eight years and making seitan mock meat on and off - the most popular recipe on my blog is that for vegan chorizo sausages and its not mine - I was granted permission by Terry Hope Romero of Veganomican fame to share the recipe on my blog.  

This particular Seitan Cake has been adapted, inspired by lots of vegan cookbooks and blog recipes including Vegan Vittles by Jo Stephaniak (2007), Bryanna Clark Crogan's Vegan Feast Kitchen; my blogger friend Vic from The Life vegan food blog Seitan Steak and The Gentle Chef: Create 'Meat' Imitations (who by the way also has a cookbook for vegan 'cheese', 'eggs' and vegan 'seafood!').

I've used the seitan slices in Philly Cheese 'Steak'and Pitta pockets, but more about them next time. 

Seitan Cake
Round 10 inch cake tin.  
Double line the inside with foil - it will also need to cover the top well with no gaps. 
15g nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 mushroom cubes dissolved in 500ml hot water
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat oven to gas mark 4/180oc.
In a large bowl, combine the wheat gluten with the nutritional yeast, spices and herbs
In another bowl, mix together the mushroom stock, oil, tamari, apple cider vinegar and tomato puree until well combined.
Pour the stock mixture into the wheat gluten and stir well with a spatula or your hands to combine well.
It will come together. knead for a few minutes. Then press it into the tin. 
Cover over well with the foil, ensuring no air gaps, but not too tight as it will expand a little. 
Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Turn off the oven, but leave it in there for another 1/2 hour.
Remove from the oven,  It should be firm when you press it.
Leave to cool for a few hours, preferably overnight to cool down completely. 

Remove from tin and foil.   Slice thinly and carefully, preferably with a mandolin.
Please consume within two weeks or share it; don't waste it!


  1. great storytelling - I am not so fond of creepy stuff - I have never been a big fan of seitan so I often think of it as satan :-) I have looked for the face of the devil in your seitan cake after your story - it must be there :-)

  2. I'm still spooked about the shawl! That said, I'm still faintly terrified of seitan, despite my repeated attempts to make some that's edible!

    1. I know how you feel, it took me a while to be confident working with vital wheat gluten.

  3. I love Hinterland too!
    And Wales!

    This seitan looks perfect!
    And it makes me remember to do this one again, wich I love and haven't prepared for months!

    1. Thank you so much, the chorizo is our favourite too.

  4. This looks so good...I'm going to make it soon...
    Have a lovely day!

    1. Thank you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and please cook for required time to ensure cooked though and consume within 2 weeks.


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