Experimenting with a plant-based diet can open you up to a world of new cuisine, but what about your favorite baked goods such as cakes, pies, cookies and quick breads? The good news is there’s no need to give up those oh-so-treasured treats. There are plenty of alternatives for honey, eggs, butter, milk and cream. These tips will get you baking vegan in no time.
Replace butter with equal amounts of organic coconut oil, high-heat safflower or sunflower oil, expeller pressed canola oil, or non-hydrogenated dairy-free vegan margarine.
Replace honey with equal amounts of pure maple syrup, organic corn syrup (this is not the same thing as high fructose corn syrup), or agave nectar. As you experiment more, you may decide to use a little bit more or less sweetener, depending on personal taste. Turn this Honey Butter Apple Cake into a delicious maple-coconut apple cake by replacing honey with maple syrup, butter with coconut oil and the egg with powdered egg replacer.
Replace milk with equal amounts of soy, rice, oat or coconut milk. Canned regular or light coconut milk is a good cream replacer. Coconut milk packaged in milk cartons is usually quite watered down and is best used to replace milk or low fat milk in recipes. Make these Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins vegan by replacing the buttermilk with a combination of half a tablespoon lemon juice mixed with almond or other non-dairy milk to equal ½ cup. Replace eggs with flaxseeds or powdered egg replacer.
Eggs help baked goods rise. They provide moisture and texture, and they work as binders. Here are four vegan alternatives.
Powered egg replacer such as Ener-G Egg Replacer is my number one choice for vegan baking. Simply mix with water. For best results, follow the instructions on the package. Replace the eggs with powdered egg replacer in this Pear Bundt Cake recipe.
Baking soda and vinegar combined provides a nice substitution for eggs, helping baked goods to rise. This option is best for cakes, muffins and quick breads. As a general rule, if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking soda, you’ll want to replace some of the liquid with a tablespoon of either white distilled or apple cider vinegar.
Flaxseeds mixed with water or other liquid is a popular egg replacer that can work well in pancakes and waffles as well as a variety of baked, cake-like treats. The flaxseeds should be finely ground. Mix one tablespoon with two to three tablespoons of water in a small saucepan. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the mixture takes on an “egg-like” slippery quality. Remember, flaxseeds have a nutty, slightly earthy flavor, so you may want to use this method when baking with whole grains and/or spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Whole Wheat Cornbread Muffins use flaxseed in place of an egg. Be sure to replace the honey with maple syrup or agave nectar to make these truly vegan.
Pureed fruits such as bananas, prunes, figs, and pumpkin contain fibers, which help with binding in baked goods. They also provide flavor, moisture and natural sugar. One quarter cup apple or pear sauce, pumpkin or butternut squash, or half a mashed banana works well in cookies or brownies. This method won’t provide a lighter quality but will add taste and good nutrition. Try these Banana-Oatmeal Snack Cookies made with puréed banana and applesauce instead of eggs, and dried fruit instead of sugar.
What are your tips or favorite recipes for vegan baking? Let me know in the comment section below.