There are tons of fantastic specially-made vegan recipes out there, but sometimes all you really want is to whip up an old favourite but in vegan style. Thankfully, there are a number of different options for replacing “essential” baking animal products to produce goods that are kinder, tastier and often healthier. Experimentation and trial is always key, but we aim to provide some starting points and ideas to get you going.
Eggs are a key component of baking, and probably the most difficult thing to replace when baking vegan. They make cake batters moist and light and help them rise. Depending on what you’re making, you can switch up the egg substitute according to whether you need moistness or airiness. That said, if you’re using a seriously eggy recipe (with four or more), it probably won’t convert well regardless of what you do.
- Silken Tofu. If you’re tolerant to soy products, a quarter of a cup of blended silken tofu replaces one egg. You need to blend it to get it smooth and creamy, then add any other wet ingredients directly.
- Bananas. Bananas create a lovely smooth and moist texture in baking, and will assist with raising. Half a blended or heavily mashed banana makes for one egg equivalent. Of course, the downside (or it could be an upside) is that it will make all your baking taste like banana.
- Flax Seeds. Pre-ground flax seeds are the easiest, use one tablespoon whisked together with three table spoons of water to get one egg. This creates an earthy taste, so it works best with whole grain baking. It does have a distinctive taste, so give it a try before buying a whole bag.
- Vegan yoghurt. Use a quarter of a cup of your favourite coconut or soy yoghurt to replace one egg. Especially good for moist recipes.
Butter is another common component in baking, used to keep batters rich and thick. It’s pretty heavy however, and these alternatives are not only vegan-safe but also much better for you.
- Margarine. Use the same amount of margarine as you would butter, but cut down on the salt – most margarine comes pre-salted. Use a brand that has a heart foundation tick.
- Coconut Oil. This comes in tubs, and at room temperature is a soft solid. You can use it exactly like butter, including melting it in the microwave (it has a lower melting point than butter though, so be careful if you want it to still be firm).
- Canola/Olive Oil. Oils can be used as a butter alternative, and half a cup of butter can be replaced with a third of a cup of oil. It works best in moist cakes such as carrot cakes.
Replacing milk isn’t too difficult, just pick your favourite from the following non-dairy alternatives and use the same amount as the recipe states.
- Rice Milk.
- Soy Milk.
- Almond Milk.
Coconut milk can also be used, but it can be a lot thicker than normal milks, so check the consistency first.
Vegan baking doesn’t mean giving up your favourite recipes, but it might mean you need to experiment a few times. Even if your cake isn’t as high as you want it or your cookies crumble, they’ll still be delicious until you figure out the best method.
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