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Watch: Students develop vegan, gluten-free mud cake mix

2017-02-10

A group of engineering students at Lund University in Sweden noticed that there were no vegan cake mixes available on the Swedish market. They set to work and came up with a dry mix that only requires the addition of oil and water. The final product contained no eggs or wheat flour, making it vegan as well as gluten-free – and had lower sugar content.

A major challenge for the students was how to achieve good consistency and taste without using eggs or wheat flour, but also sourcing affordable ingredients suitable for large-scale production.

They found it actually required engineering skills down to the molecular level to produce good semi-processed food.

After testing several alternatives, they discovered that the fibre-rich psyllium husk had good binding properties and could replace eggs. They used almond flour and chickpea flour in lieu of regular flour. When the students toasted the chickpeas, it gave the cake a characteristic, nutty flavour.

The mix was developed within the framework of a project course in Food Technology. As it is a student project, it is not yet available for sale, but one of the students behind the project, Anna Telfser, believes the product has market potential.

“The vegan market is growing, that is obvious. In addition, this product only contains natural ingredients, something for which there is high consumer demand”, she says.

The final product price is estimated be just over SEK 40.

“This makes it slightly more expensive than other cake mixes, as our ingredients are a little more expensive”, explains Anna Telfser, but she mentions other advantages: lower sugar content (26 g instead of 55 g/100 g) and a little more protein (5.9 g instead of 3.5 g/100 g) than an ordinary cake.

So what was the verdict on taste? Just as good as a regular mud cake, according to a tasting panel.

The project included Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition students Jitesh Jayakumar, Iliana Karasa, Yannick Leinweber, Louise Landin, Emma Malmqvist, Rebecka Olsson, Louise Selga and Anna Telfser.