One of the questions I’m asked most frequently when people try something I’ve baked is, “What did you use instead of eggs?” Most of the time I don’t know what to say because I didn’t take a non-vegan recipe and make it vegan; I took a vegan recipe from the multitude of those on the internet and made it. Also eggs, although a common ingredient in baked goods, are not a necessary ingredient almost all of the time.
Although I prefer to find other ways not to use them, reliable egg replacements do exist. There are a few store-bought varieties such as EnerG Egg Replacer and the Neat Egg. I’ve never used either of these personally, but I have heard good things.
If I am going to use an egg replacer, I’m going to use something more simple. For example, you can use flax meal or ground chia seeds in the same ways you would use the others. I don’t particularly like they way either of these things taste, so I also tend to pass on them.
The next option is a fruit puree. I don’t know the science of this, but a mashed banana, some pumpkin puree or applesauce really helps things like muffins and cake. The cake recipe I’m sharing today calls for some puree. I like this method because applesauce is pretty inexpensive, easy to come by and not something you have to go to a health food store to find. But this method is not foolproof. Sometimes I will make muffins with ample applesauce and they will not rise. I would still eat these but it isn’t the kind of thing I would offer up to omnivores in order to spread the word about how great vegan food is.
This is where leavening comes in. Vegan recipes tend to use more baking powder, as well as some kind of acid, like vinegar or lemon juice. When the baking powder and the acid touch you’ve got a fifth-grade science fair volcano on your hands. This is where the fluff comes from.
As an example of all this I’m going to share one of my favorite cake recipes from the wonderful blog called Minimalist Baker. This cake uses the leavening method in combination with a fruit puree to *replace* those pesky eggs and the result is dense, moist and fluffy like a cake should be.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and mixing the non-dairy milk with white or apple cider vinegar. You could substitute lemon juice here if you don’t have vinegar but the cake will taste a little like lemon. Let the milk and acid mixture sit for a few minutes. Next, add in the applesauce or another fruit puree. Add the coffee (or more non-dairy milk), vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking soda and salt. Mix well and incorporate into liquid mixture.
This recipe will either make one rectangular cake or two circular cakes so plunk the batter into whichever pan you’d like and bake for around 25-30 minutes. Poke a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean it is done!
The original recipe includes a frosting recipe but I have a super secret vegan tip for you. Most store bought frosting is vegan. Check the ingredients to make sure there is no lard (honestly why is that in some, I don’t get it) but most mainstream brands should be good! And that includes the cream cheese kinds. This frosting has some draw- backs, such as the use of palm oil and non-fair trade chocolate, but we all have to pick our battles.
So there, did I answer your question? I don’t have the simple answer that I feel like people are searching for but I can say that there are many ways to replace eggs in a baked good, the main one being don’t try to adapt a non-vegan recipe unless you know how to do that, just find a good vegan one where someone has already done it.
Be sure to check out the original recipe from Minimalist Baker at minimalistbaker.com/one- bowl-vegan-chocolate-cake.
- 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
- 2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups applesauce or other fruit puree 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (or sub milk) 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups organic sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt