Philip Khoury and his cookbook, 'A New Way to Bake' by Philip Khoury
© Matt Russell

Divine Desserts from Harrods’ Head Pastry Chef

Issue 2|Spring 2024

“I wanted to make treats that blow you away with the taste and indulgence you expect – just without animal ingredients.”

That’s how renowned pastry chef Philip Khoury describes the decadent vegan desserts – a huge hit with customers – that he concocted for the Harrods department store food halls. If a trip to London isn’t in your future, Khoury is at your service with his new cookbook, A New Way to Bake. And as PETA UK’s 2023 Best Vegan Cookbook award winner proves, whipping up show-stopping sweets using plantry staples – and no eggs or dairy – is a piece of cake!

Victoria Sponge

Makes 1 double-layer cake

Victoria sponge cake


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
2 Tbsp. muscovado or brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
6 1/2 Tbsp. peanut or sunflower oil
1 1/2 cups soy milk
2 tsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup cooked sweet potato,
peeled and cooled
1/3 cup Berry Jam (see recipe)
1 cup Thick Whipped Cream (see recipe)
1 cup raspberries
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting


  • Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C. Line the bases of two 8-inch round springform pans with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, gently whisk together the flour, cornstarch, superfine sugar, muscovado or brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Place the oil, soy milk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and sweet potato in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add the blended liquid to the dry mix and whisk until smooth.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the lined pans. Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until the top is smooth and golden and springs back when lightly pressed.
  • Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack. Once cooled, carefully run a sharp paring knife along the inside edge of each pan and gently release the cakes.
  • Trim the domed top off one of the cakes to make a flat top (discard the excess). Place the trimmed cake on a plate, trimmed-size up, for the base of the cake.
  • Whisk the jam so that it’s soft and spreadable. Using a small palette knife, spread it over the base cake almost to the edge.
  • Place whole raspberries along the perimeter of the base cake, leaving a raspberry-size gap between each one.
  • Pipe alternating dots of the whipped cream between each raspberry. Then pipe it in a spiral in the middle of the cake and out to the edge so the cake is covered in a generous layer of whipped cream.
  • Place the other cake, domed side up, on top and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Top with a single raspberry and serve immediately.

Berry Jam

Makes 3/4 cup



2 1/2 Tbsp. superfine sugar
1/2 tsp. agar-agar powder (see note)
2/3 cup strawberries, tops removed
1 scant cup raspberries
5 tsp. lemon juice


  • Mix the sugar and agar-agar together in a bowl. Add to a blender along with the berries and lemon juice and blend to a purée.
  • Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil then pour into a shallow container. Allow to cool to room temperature then place in the refrigerator to set. When ready to serve, blend or whisk the jam until smooth.

Notes: Agar-agar is a flavorless gelling agent made from seaweed. It is available in the baking section of many supermarkets and can be ordered online. This jam recipe makes more than is called for in the Victoria Sponge. Spread the extra on toast or biscuits.

Thick Whipped Cream

Makes 2 1/2 cups


10 1/2 Tbsp. superfine sugar, divided
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup plant-based milk
1 1/3 tsp. vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup vegan shortening


  • Mix 6 tablespoonfuls of the sugar and the cornstarch in a small saucepan. Then add the plant-based milk and vanilla bean paste, mixing well to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula until thickened.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature. It should be 15–20°C/59–68°F when used.
  • Add the shortening and remaining 4 1/2 tablespoonfuls sugar to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or to a large bowl and use electric beaters. Whisk until very pale and fluffy. Continue whisking while adding the cooled custard mixture a little at a time until it is all incorporated. It will become fluffier and fluffier. Use immediately.

Note: This recipe makes more than is called for in the Victoria Sponge. Use the extra sandwiched between cookies or graham crackers.

Additional Recipe Online!

For another recipe from A New Way to BakeAlmond Vostock, a bun of brioche dipped in syrup, filled with frangipane, and topped with nuts – click here.

Almond Vostock
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