To some, dairy-free baking may seem like an enigma – especially when it comes to vegan cake. How can you possibly bake a soft, moist, perfectly textured cake with no eggs? How can you make a rich, creamy buttercream frosting with no butter and no cream? Well, it’s actually simpler than you might think! Once you've got a plan for those, the possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to the delicious vegan treats you can churn out. Here are five important tips and tricks to keep in mind for vegan desserts.
- Learn your egg replacements
There are a handful of ingredients out there that can replace eggs in baked goods, from ground flax seeds mixed with water to a mashed-up banana. Take a little time to experiment with each one to find a replacement that gives you the results you're looking for in what you're baking. Hence, it would become easy to bake egg-free cakes.
- Don't overlook aquafaba
The most recent addition to the egg replacement game is aquafaba, the liquid in a can of chickpeas. Using it up in your baked goods is a great way to avoid waste in the kitchen, and don't worry — any bean flavor that's lingering in the liquid dissipates when it's cooked.
- Consider your fats
Margarine has been the traditional substitute for butter, but many brands are made with hydrogenated oils that can be damaging to your health. If you're going to use margarine, seek out one that's free of those oils, like Earth Balance. Or try using coconut oil, which can be substituted one-to-one, or olive oil (use 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil for every cup of butter) instead.
- Don't forget to swap out honey
If you're baking vegan desserts, you might forget that honey is also considered out of the question. If a recipe calls for honey, just swap it out for an equal amount of maple syrup or agave.
- Opt for unsweetened non-dairy milks
Many non-dairy milks can be sweetened or flavored. Opt for the plain, unsweetened varieties to give you more control in your baking. Also keep in mind the consistency of the non-dairy milk you're using — soy milk is closer in consistency to cow's milk than almond, which is often quite thin, while coconut milk is especially thick.