by Erin Trauth
Let’s face it, amigos – life can be hard sometimes. Fortunately, while the going does get tough from time to time, there aren’t many problems in life that can’t be fixed with a bite (or seven) of a piping-hot baked good. In the face of adversity, it’s time for fresh-from-the-oven cookies, gooey-centered brownies, and velvety-to-the-touch cakes. Just the thought of this stuff incites bulldog-like drooling for many of us…and the taste has a certain way of putting all of life’s troubles back into perspective. So, when I became a vegan, forgoing baked goods was simply not an option. But how would I find treats that don’t require usual baking staples like eggs, milk, gelatin, and honey (honey is not vegan!?!)?
Like any good vegan would do, I sought alternatives – and found that a vegan can have her cake and still bake it, too. For the next few weeks here on Foodie Tuesdays, I will be going over some vegan baking alternatives. First up? Eggs!
Eggs have two essential functions in baking: binding together ingredients/thickening liquidy bases, and leavening, which basically means giving baked goods that light and fluffy texture. There are ready-made egg replacements available in your local grocery store, but some have ingredients you probably don’t want in your cake, so it’s usually best to find your own replacement (this route will usually save you some money, too). Depending on the recipe and its normal egg function, you can easily replace eggs with a ton of ingredients you probably already have somewhere in the pantry.
Here are a few alternatives that work for different recipes. Play around and see what works for you! Each of these mixtures can be used instead of one egg in your favorite non-vegan recipe.
In breads and cakes, leavening is needed. For recipes in this context, try:
¼ cup soy or almond milk blended with a few Tbsp. silken tofu.
Not down with soy? Try this instead: 2 Tbsp water, one Tbsp. oil, and 2 tsp. baking powder.
In recipes that call for thickening and binding, try these tricks:
Boil 1 Tbsp. of ground flax seeds with ¼ cup water. Let boil 2-3 minutes and then whisk vigorously, until a runny, snotty mixture forms. Yum. Add this to your recipe as you would an egg.
This simple cornstarch mixture also works well: Mix 2 Tbsp. plus 1 Tbsp. water.
Other options? Substitute ¼ cup of smashed bananas, pumpkin, or applesauce – be warned, though, that that flavor might come out in the final product (an added bonus, if you ask me!).
Tofu is awesome for recipes which call for several eggs, like custards, meringues, and quiches — just substitute one egg for ¼ cup blended silken tofu.
Okay, I’m starting to get hungry…here’s a recipe for a great basic vegan chocolate cupcake base to get you started on the quest to replace those eggs with something better for your health and for the planet.
Any other egg replacement ideas not mentioned here? Tell us in the comments below!