Our Old-Fashioned British Ground Rice Cake is a Vegan version on the traditional family favourite - Ground Rice Cake. This vintage British cake hails from the Victorian era and is prepared with everyday ingredients. With a texture similar to Madeira, Seed, or Pound cakes, the ground rice adds its own unique tasty texture to each bite. It also shares similarities in flavour and texture with the sponge from a British Battenberg cake. Each bite is so moist, light, and soft with the flavours similar to almond frangipane and marzipan - but vegan!
A slice of home-made rice cake is perfect for elevenses, afternoon tea, high tea, or as a tasty suppertime treat. It was traditionally baked for Christmas, as well as enjoyed as part of a New Years Eve [Hogmanay] buffet or party food spread along with slices of fruit cake and slices of cheese!
Not sure what ground rice is? Scroll down to our FAQ section for more useful information as well as substitutes and how to easily make your own ground rice.
🍰 What is an old-fashioned ground rice cake?
A British ground rice cake is similar to a British Madeira cake, as well as the classic British seed cake, and the popular American Pound cake.
A British ground rice cake is prepared with ground rice which is simply white rice that has been ground to a coarser texture compared with rice flour. The other ingredients of a typical ground rice cake are - self-raising flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and flavourings such as almond extract or lemon essence.
The texture of a ground rice cake is different from the airy crumb of a Victoria sponge cake, as the rice cake is denser. However, despite being dense rice cakes are also deliciously moist, soft, and light - similar to Battenberg cake!
📜 Origins of ground rice cake
Old-fashioned ground rice cake dates back to at least the 1800s Victorian era, as Mrs Beeton's includes a recipe for rice cake within her iconic cookery book - The Book of Household Management. You can find an electronic version of Mrs Beeton's book over on archive.org.
Mrs Beeton's rice cake
Mrs Beeton's recipe for 'Rice Cake' contained - ½ pound of ground rice, ½ pound of flour, ½ pound of loaf sugar, 9 eggs, 20 drops of lemon or the rind of 1 lemon, and ¼ pound of butter. Beeton also suggests that the lemon could be replaced with the essence of almonds. Beeton's recipe is rather like an old-fashioned pound cake.
Phillis Browne's rice cake recipe
Browne published the book A Year's Cookery in 1885 and her Rice Cake recipe contains - butter, flour, salt, baking powder, ground rice, sugar, dried currants, candied fruit peel, eggs, and milk. Browne's recipe is a little different from other traditional rice cake recipes as she includes dried currants, which are similar but much smaller than raisins, as well as candied fruit peel.
Bero flour rice cake
The Be-Ro Flour Company, originally known as "Bell's Royal," was established in the early 20th century by Thomas Bell, a miller based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Be-Ro successfully promoted their flour through the publication of affordable cookery books.
The Be-Ro cookbooks, were first introduced in 1923, and were filled with easy-to-follow, traditional British recipes that were aimed at every-day home bakers. They quickly became very popular and a staple cookbook in many British households. Over the years, the Be-Ro cookbook has sold more than 38 million copies, and is now currently on the 41st edition.
Recipes for Be-Ro rice cake feature in many of their editions. During the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, ground rice cake was a very popular homely bake. The main ingredients for the rice cake recipe contained within the Bero cook booklets were usually - 5 ounce of flour, 3 oz of ground rice, 4 oz of margarine, two eggs, a little milk, and the grated rind of a lemon. By the 16th Bero edition their rice cake recipe suggested 12 drops of lemon or almond essence rather than lemon rind.
Modern ground rice cakes
Today's ground rice cakes are very similar to the Victorian era rice cakes as well as the vintage and old-fashioned Be-Ro rice cake recipes as there has been no reason to mess with the recipe as it works so well! Be-Ro still has a very loyal following of Be-Ro recipe book fans who love to recreate old-fashioned home-bakes that are filled with tastiness as well as fond memories of their nan, grannies, grandma, or mums home baking.
Vegan ground rice cakes
For our vegan ground rice cake we replace the egg with soya milk thickened with apple cider vinegar, as well as adding some baking powder, which all works amazingly as the cake is wonderfully moist yet rises well. We also choose to flavour the cake with almond extract rather than lemon as we were going for a tasty Bakewell tart or Battenberg cake flavour, and the result is very delicious.
This Vegan Ground Rice Cake is flavoured with almond extract so could also be called an Almond Cake as its very much similar in flavour to delicious frangipane or marzipan albeit prepared with vegan-friendly ingredients. A slice of our ground rice cake does make a great substitution!
🥣 How to prepare
The ingredients you will need for this ground rice cake are nothing fancy and are just everyday pantry ingredients - ground rice, self-raising flour [self-rising flour], baking powder, caster or granulated sugar, plant-based milk, apple cider vinegar, almond extract, vegan-friendly margarine or baking spread or block - we like to use Stork.
If you have different dietary requirements then you can use your usual type of milk and baking fat.
Step 1: Add the milk, vinegar, and almond extract to a small jug or bowl, stir and set aside while you prepare the rest of the cake.
Step 2: Add the sugar and margarine to a mixing bowl and cream together using an electric hand whisk for about a minute. Alternatively, use a hand whisk or mixing spoon and beat the mix for longer.
Step 3: Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, and stir through the salt and ground rice.
Step 4: Add about a third of the flour mixture into the creamed margarine and stir. Next add about a third of the milk mixture to the creamed margarine and stir. Continue two more times until all the mixtures are combined.
Step 5: Transfer the cake mixture to a cake pan - we use a 6 inch cake pan - and bake for one hour. Cake has baked when its nicely golden, risen and firm, and a skewer popped in comes out clean.
Your ground rice cake may dip slightly in the middle of the cake surface but it doesn't mean that it is under baked rather it just means that this is a deliciously moist cake with a tasty denser crumb compared with other sponge cakes - its more like a Madeira cake, Seed cake, or a Pound cake. However, this ground rice cake texture is also soft and light.
🧾 Recipe notes
Store the rice cake wrapped in parchment or baking paper and a second layer of kitchen or Aluminium foil and place into a cake tin or food container. The cake can be stored for 3-4 days, potentially a day or so longer if kept somewhere cool and dry.
The whole cake can be wrapped in food wrap and a second layer of kitchen foil and popped into a freezer bag or container, and frozen for 2-3 months. Or wrap individual slices and freeze.
Ground rice is rice that has been milled or ground down into a coarse powder. It's slightly grainier than rice flour and is commonly used in a variety of traditional British desserts such as shortbread, biscuits, puddings, and cakes. When used in baking, it provides a nice light texture to the bake.
In the UK, you can usually find packets of ground rice in the supermarket aisle where the custards, rice pudding, jelly's, ready-made flan and pie cases, and baking ingredients are located. Look for the Whitworths brand as this is commonly stocked in supermarkets as well as small grocery shops.
Ground rice may also be found on the world food aisle as its an ingredients that is also used in Indian cooking. Alternatively, online retailers such as Amazon usually have ground rice.
If your outwith the UK and find ground rice difficult to source then have a look in International stores, Asian stores, Wholefood stores, and online retailers such as Walmart online in their international [Indian] food section, or simply prepare your own batch of ground rice following the easy method outlined below.
Yes, you can easily prepare your own ground rice at home and this is especially useful if you live in a country or area where ground rice is difficult to source.
Here's an easy guide:
1. Start with uncooked white rice such as long grain white rice or white basmati.
2. Place about a cup of rice in a blender or food processor that is suitable for grinding dry ingredients. A coffee grinder could also work though you may need to grind in smaller quantities.
3. Pulse the rice until it reaches a coarse, grainy texture, similar to semolina. Be cautious not to over-blend, as you might end up with a powdery consistency, closer to rice flour.
4. Once you've achieved the desired texture, store the ground rice in an airtight container until you're ready to use it. It should last a good few months.
No, ground rice and rice flour are not quite the same, although they both originate from rice. Ground rice has a coarser texture, similar to semolina, while rice flour is much finer and more powdery. Because of the difference in texture, they can have different effects in recipes, so they aren't always interchangeable.
We have not tried this cake with rice flour but it may be fine although the texture of the finished bake may be different as it won't have that coarser grainy texture that ground rice provides.
Some people have even had success using shop-bought baby rice - which is rice ground to a fine powder and sold in packets labelled 'baby rice' as its a food intended to wean baby's onto solids.
If you do try this cake with rice flour or baby rice do let us know as the information will help other visitors!
You could technically replace the ground rice but it wouldn't be a ground rice cake. Instead of the rice you could use semolina [the type intended for cooking semolina pudding] which has a course texture similar to ground rice, or go with ground almonds.
Yes, some traditional ground rice cake recipes are flavoured with lemon instead of almond so you could add the zest of a lemon along with a few drops of lemon essence or extract. The exact amounts will depend on the potency of your lemon flavouring.
We used Stork baking spread as its vegan-friendly and always works great in baking. But any vegan butter or vegan-friendly margarine that is suitable for baking or cooking can be used. Also, any baking fat or baking block that is vegan-friendly can also be used.
If your butter or baking block is quite hard then soften it up by bring it up to room temperature before creaming with the sugar, as this will make it easier to mix.
You can sub out the apple cider vinegar for fresh lemon juice, white vinegar or white distilled vinegar, or rice vinegar.
We like to use soya milk as it has a high protein content which works well for baking and reacts to the vinegar by thickening it up nicely. However, oat milk or almond milk are also suitable. Although, feel free to use whatever milk you normally use for baking and cooking.
Caster sugar, known in some countries outside the UK as superfine sugar, is a type of granulated sugar but with much finer crystals, which are midway in size between granulated sugar and powdered sugar.
This fine texture allows caster sugar to dissolve more easily making it a good choice for light sponge cakes.
If you're unable to find caster sugar, granulated sugar can be used instead for our vegan ground rice cake.
Our Vegan Ground Rice Cake has the delicious flavours and textures of a British classic Battenberg cake and is a good plain cake to enjoy for everyday eating as well as for special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Harvest suppers, Hogmanay Buffets, or Christmas Eve spreads.
Traditionally, for a Hogmanay buffet spread to enjoy while waiting for the New Year bells to ring in the New Year - ground rice cake was served alongside the fruit cake, sultana cake, seed cake, Madeira cake, cherry cake, slices of cheese, sandwiches, sausage rolls, shortbread, crisps [chips], and other nibbles!
👪 More traditional bakes made vegan
Vegan versions of traditional bakes are a comforting sense of home, brimming with nostalgia and cherished memories of loved ones in the kitchen. Even if you don't have personal recollections of family members baking, it's never too late to begin a new tradition. As you can create lots of treasured moments with your loved ones in your kitchen, starting today or share your home-baking with others.
Try out a few of our family favourite bakes - This Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cake and this Welsh Apple Cake which is so delicious served hot for dessert with vegan custard. A good way to use up any leftover pumpkin is with this Pumpkin Fruit Loaf Cake and the number one all-time British favourite for an afternoon tea is always Victoria Sponge Cake!
Even though all our bakes and cakes are vegan they are prepared with every-day pantry ingredients and are perfect for everyone who loves delicious traditional home-baking.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Old-Fashioned Ground Rice Cake
- 6 inch cake tin
- greaseproof or baking paper
- 2 Mixing bowls
- small jug or bowl
- electric hand whisk optional, as can whisk by hand with a hand whisk or mixing spoon
- 220 millilitres plant-based milk [we used soya milk]
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
Rest of cake:
- 170 grams vegan margarine [use one suitable for baking, we used Stork baking spread]
- 140 grams caster sugar [or granulated sugar]
- 142 grams self-raising flour [self-rising flour]
- 85 grams ground rice [see recipe notes above for how to make your own if necessary]
- ⅛ teaspoon salt [we used sea salt, UK self-raising flour contains no added salt, if using US self-rising flour the salt can be omitted as this usually contains salt]
- Preheat the oven to 160 Fan, 180 C, 350 Fahrenheit, or Gas 4.
- Pour the milk, vinegar, and almond extract into a small jug or bowl. Stir and set aside while you prepare the cake.220 millilitres plant-based milk, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
- Grease the cake tin with margarine and line with baking paper.[For this bake do try and use a 6 inch cake tin as the size is important to achieve the good rise. We picked up an inexpensive cake tin from our local hardware store for just a couple of pound -£2.50 to be exact! It was the Wham brand]
- Add the margarine and sugar to a mixing bowl and cream together using the electric hand whisk, or an alternative such as a hand whisk or a mixing spoon, and beat until combined. This will take about 1 minute using the electric whisk and longer using the alternatives.170 grams vegan margarine, 140 grams caster sugar
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and add the ground rice and salt. Stir everything together.142 grams self-raising flour, 85 grams ground rice, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Next add about a third of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl with the creamed margarine and stir it in. Next add a third of the milk mixture and stir. Repeat two more times until the flour mixture and the liquid mixture are all mixed through the creamed margarine. If the mixture decides to split don't fret as the cake will bake fine.
- Scoop the cake mixture into the cake tin and level out the surface. Bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour. If using a fan oven check at 55 minutes baking time as fan ovens tend to bake faster. Don't be tempted to check the cake before these times unless you know your cooker bakes unusually fast!
- Cake is ready when its risen, firm, and has a good golden colour on top although not too brown. A skewer popped in the cake will come out clean.
- Leave the cake in the cake tin to cool for at least an hour or for longer until its completely cool before removing from the cake tin.
- Nutritional data is for guidance only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients vary.
- Store the rice cake wrapped in parchment or baking paper and a second layer of kitchen or Aluminium foil and place into a cake tin or food container. The cake can be stored for 3-4 days, potentially a day or so longer if kept somewhere cool and dry.
- Or wrap well with food wrap and a second layer of kitchen foil and pop it into a freezer bag and freeze the entire cake or individual slices, for 2-3 months.
- Your ground rice cake may dip slightly in the middle of the cake surface but it doesn't mean that it is under baked rather it just means that this is a deliciously moist cake with a tasty denser crumb compared with other sponge cakes - its more like a Madeira cake, Seed cake, or a Pound cake. However, this ground rice cake texture is also soft and light.
- Ground rice cake was traditionally prepared to be enjoyed over the Christmas festivities as well as part of a Hogmanay [New Years Eve] buffet or spread where it could be found along side slices of fruit loaf cake.
- It was also a popular old-fashioned afternoon tea, tea time, or High tea bake.
- Many people remember enjoying slices of cheese, such as Wensleydale cheese, along with ground rice cake. Slices of vegan cheese are a nice accompaniment especially for a buffet.
- For useful recipe notes and FAQ's including how to prepare your own ground rice do check out our recipe notes above this recipe post.
Prepared our Vegan Old-Fashioned Ground Rice Cake? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe so do pop back and drop us a comment below and click the star ratings. It's very much appreciated. Thanks so much! Jacq x