Vegan Baking: a Piece of (Egg-free) Cake!
It’s very easy to make lovely vegan cakes. As with any cake recipe, follow the instructions faithfully and measure accurately.
Weigh everything. Cakes are a bit of kitchen science and need a fairly precise balance of ingredients. Use scales or cups, depending on the recipe
Use up or replace baking powder and self-raising flour quite regularly as these can lose some of their rising power. Or just use plain flour and baking powder - see hints below.
How can I make light cakes without eggs?
Eggs work in in two ways. They bind ingredients together; they also help them to rise. See the table below for suggestions for a variety of egg alternatives and what they work best in. Try the appropriate substitute in your favourite baking recipe. (Our favourites are flax meal OR aquafaba (bean water, usually from tinned chickpeas!)
Top Tips Well-oiled
Most cake batter works well with oil and oil is better for the environment than palm-oil margarine. But a few hints
- Oil doesn't work well in icing or pastry
- OIl works great in cake batter. Mix oil with other liquids then mix in to dry ingredients
- Use a mild-flavoured oil (ie not extra virgin or cold-pressed). Regular cooking oil (rapeseed) is fine as is Clearspring's Light Sunflower oil
- Converting marg to oil in a recipe: If a recipe calls for 100g, use 80ml oil + 20ml plant milk or water
Top Tips Icing (or Frosting)
You can easily make cake icing without butter. There are several recipes, depending on the cake's taste. Click here
Icing sugar. Most is vegan except for Royal Icing type, which contains egg white. Check L-Plate Vegan for brands
Fat. The recipes in the link above tend to use the following three types of fat - individually or a mixture.
1. Vegan margarine (' vegan butter') eg Biona, Pure, Suma, Vitalite. Quite bland and nice but more likely to melt than Trex - which is why a combination works well.
2. Trex white vegetable fat (vegetable shortening) - bland, tasteless and doesn't melt easily.
3. Coconut oil, unrefined (can be organic or not) or coconut block (less healthy than the oil). A stronger taste than the first two but works very well on some cakes, eg carrot, lemon. Block is less likely to melt than oil and also works well with margarine.
No icing is particularly healthy - it's fat and sugar after all! But hey, it's cake so OK as an occasional treat.
If you want to know about the health properties of virgin coconut oil see Viva!Life issue 60. In a nutshell, it's healthier than butter or lard but it's not as healthy as it's been cracked up to be! Eat in small quantities.
If you have worries about palm oil and the environment, read this feature. You decide.
Gently Does It - baking vegan-style. DON'T OVERMIX.
- Mix in by hand, gently but thoroughly. Egg-free mixes get too tough with electric mixers and such!
- Get the cake in the oven quickly. Have the oven pre-heated first. Once you've added the liquid to the raising agents, mix everything together fast - you want the baking powder etc working in the oven not in the bowl!
- Tap the mixing bowl on the work surface to remove air bubbles then again when the cake batter is in the baking tin.
A Bunch of Flours
Using plain flour plus baking powder not only saves money and space, but SR flour loses its whizz over time.
To convert: 150SR? Replace with150g/6oz/1 cup plain flour with 2 tsp baking powder. 110g SR? Replace with 110g/4oz plain flour plus 1½ tsp baking powder (Adjust according to the recipe).
And More Egg-free Tips:
1. Real Men Do Eat Vegan Quiche
Replace the eggs in quiches and flans with silken tofu. Our Red Onion & Thyme Tart recipe is very good indeed. To vary it, try different combinations of vegetables in the tart instead of onion, such as lightly sautéed mushrooms and red pepper, or mushrooms and steamed broccoli.
2. Pancake Day
Check out our favourite pancake recipe – and nary an egg in sight! Simple and lovely, it is easily converted from the sweet to savoury.
3. Scrambled Up
It’s not only baked items that can be replaced by eggs! See our tasty tofu scramble recipe
4. Baking without eggs? See our lovely egg replacer chart!
Picture of vegan cupcakes courtesy of the lovely www.google.com/url