15th January 2009
No cupcake is complete without some sprinkles but unfortunately it is just another item that us vegans must be weary of. Fancy your cupcake with a side of crushed beetle, or better still their secretion? How about some cow or a touch of pig? No, not tempted? It’s taken me some time find the brands that are animal free and also to know which cunningly disguised ingredients to look out for. I also like to make things that bit harder for myself and prefer only sprinkles that are coloured and flavoured with natural ingredients.
First off here are some of the ingredients you want to watch out for:
- Gelatine (cow or pig derived)
- Food colourings – beware the infamous red colouring made from crushed beetles known as E120, carmine and cochineal.
- Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice! or shellac/confectioners glaze as it will be labelled, is a resin produced by an insect. It gives a shiny finish (may be used on non organic fruit!). I see this on Wiltons sprinkles, I have heard rumours that there is a vegan alternative, but Wiltons have never got back to me on that…
Now follow my sprinkles of choice:
- Silver Spoon silver balls with other brands these normally contain gelatine so I was over the moon to find these. I get these from Sainsburys.
- Asda rainbow hundreds and thousands
- India Tree Nature’s Colours I have the string of pearls, I would love to have the whole range but they are mega expensive and the only UK stockist Whole Foods has a limited selection.
- Dr Oetker’s chocolate strands which are available in most supermarkets.
- Dr Oetker’s sugar alphabet perfect for personalising your cupcakes, I used to get these in my local Sainsburys but can only find them now in Tesco.
I did at one stage think about trying to make my own sprinkles, you can colour sugar yourself pretty easily apparently, but of course for me this would then mean using natural food dyes (using juices from fruits and vegetables eg spinach for green, beetroot for red etc). I like to go to my local baking supply shop and lust over the vast array of sprinkles they have on offer, but I always end up leaving empty handed when a review of the ingredients reveals things I can’t even say let alone guess what they might be.
Another option is to put your creative hat on, you dont have to use only commerical sprinkles to decorate your cakes, items that are in your cupboard right now can cuten them up! Try nuts, seeds, fruit, chocolate, sweets, crushed biscuits (even a crumbled cupcake), cinnamon, sugar, a drizzling of agave or maple syrup, you don’t even have to use edible things (just make sure people know before they dig in!). And if you’ve got some skills you can do some amazing things with fondant (if you’re buying ready made make sure it’s vegan people!).
Cakey Makey has a selection of vegan sprinkles as well as a few additive free ones too and try Scrumptious Sweets, Vegan Store or Veggie Stuff for things like vegan Haribo and other sweets. Organic is a little tricker I have only come across one US brand Let’s Do Organic and you can buy their Sprinklez here.
I am always on the look out for new vegan natural decorations for my cakes so if you find any let me know!