Think eggs, milk and butter and you will think of cake. It’s only natural for the mind to go there. And it is precisely because of how synonymous these ingredients are with cakes and cookies that vegan baking can seem so tricky. But despair not, it is 2020 and information and options are aplenty. If you love baked goods and want them to be a part of the vegan world, here is how to do it.
Let’s look at some of the substitutes for the baking ingredients.
Milk in baking is used for flavor and texture. As far as milk substitutes go, the options are endless. You can use almond milk or soy milk. Some recipes can also be substituted with coconut milk or any other vegan milk as per preference. If the baking recipe calls for buttermilk, you can add 2 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to a cup of soy milk. This mixture is an excellent vegan substitute for that.
People who love cooking or baking know that there is a certain pleasure in making things from scratch. It’s little things like paying attention to the details, the tiny things that are not often spoken about but end up making a world of difference to the final product. Keeping that in mind, we would like to point out the advantages of vegan milks. It is that a number of these, while easily available in stores, can also be made at home, be it almond, soy, walnut or chickpea milk.
Most follow a similar recipe and you will love this cake made from scratch like a parent loves a child. Keep that in mind next time you try your vegan hand in the kitchen.
After talking about milk, of course we need to talk about cream. Now, how do you really go ahead and veganise this part of baked goods? The answer is pretty simple and actually, full of flavor. We got one word for you – coconuts! Yes, Coconut milk is naturally thick and when chilled for a few hours, becomes rich and satiny. If you want to use it on top of a pie or in your coffee, you can whip coconut cream after refrigerating it overnight. That makes a lot of difference.
If you are someone who is not nuts about coconuts, (ugh ugh* get the pun), you can opt for cashew milk instead. It behaves in a similar manner to coconut milk and can be bought from the store or made at home.
Informative: How to Make Vegan Ice Cream – Quick And Easy
The purpose of butter is to add flavor and texture, as well as help the baking rise evenly. The most obvious substitutes would be coconut or olive oil in the recipe. Keep in mind that the quantity of oil to be used is different from that of the butter. You should use ¼ cup of oil for every 1 cup of butter.
There are a number of other substitutes available in the market like vegan shortening, vegan butter, margarine etc. You can pick one depending upon your preference.
If you are using a recipe that calls for honey, don’t think twice before substituting it with maple syrup, agave syrup or applesauce. You can use as much of these substitutes as you would use the honey. While we cannot completely say about the maple or agave syrup, applesauce for sure can easily be made in your kitchen.
Honey is used for sweetness and also to caramelize the dish to some extent. The vegan substitutes step very well into these honey duties, as we would like to call them, and go a step ahead in being an effective substitute for sugar, should you want that. The result is definitely high on flavor. Then with some expertise, you will find that it is very nuanced and an enhancement of your previous palette.
The role of eggs in baking is for purposes of leavening, binding, moisture and structure. Let’s look at the possible substitutes for eggs in respect to each of these functions.
The light and fluffy nature of your eggs is thanks to the leavening properties of eggs. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is very effective as it lifts up your batter by creating the required gas bubbles. The quantity of the substitution should be this – for one egg, mix 1 tbsp of baking soda with 1 tbsp of white vinegar. This is very workable for a lot of simple homemade cakes, and is actually more cost effective in the long run.
If you don’t want your cakes and cookies crumbling down while keeping them in the vegan territory, look no further than the ground up flax seed powder. Mixing 1 tbsp ground up flax seed meal with 3 tbsp warm water creates a thick, viscous liquid that can substitute 1 egg. Not to mention that flax seeds come with their own share of health benefits, which means that there won’t be a lot of regrets for letting go of eggs.
For moisture, use a mashed banana or some applesauce. They make the cookies very moist and give them that ‘melt in the mouth’ quality. They are especially perfect for when you want your recipe to be dense.
The beauty of vegan baking is that tofu can be used as a substitute for eggs. One egg can be replaced with ¼ cup of pureed tofu. Instead, if you need the egg white for increasing the height of your dish, 1 tbsp agar powder in 1 tbsp water is what you are looking for. Chill it for some time and then whip it again. It will be ready for use then.
This is not exactly a substitute to anything, but we decided to mention it here for its singular property of being able to add a spring to your vegan cakes. Vegan bakes are often accused of being dense. So as an alibi against those accusations, adding a pinch of Corn Starch will aid in the formation of the light airy structure of your confection.
Baking is a science and if approached accordingly using said substitutes, it wouldn’t seem so intimidating. If you are new to vegan baking, a tip you should follow is to know your quantities. It’s important to know what is the substitute to be used and how much of it should be used. Once you have that down pat, everything falls into place.
Another thing to keep in mind is, of course, the vegan cake won’t taste exactly the same as the regular one. But that doesn’t mean that it is something better or worse. It’s a different palette, that’s all. Once your taste buds adjust, you will have the time of your life with said options. And we will take the credit for some of that if you have read our article.