Vegan Baking – Without Dairy or Eggs (W/Bonus Recipe)

5 November 2015

Most of us have a sweet tooth, and especially a weakness for baked goods. The problem is for many vegans, it’s tough working baked sweets into our diet, because dairy and eggs are found in most recipes for cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies and even such items as pancakes and waffles.

The good news is it’s not that hard to substitute eggs and dairy in baking. Here are some recommendations.


Milk is commonly used to add liquid and fat content to a baked recipe. Unless you are making whipped cream, milk isn’t all that important to the structure of most baked goods and it’s quite easy to substitute.

Any dairy milk can easily be substituted with non-dairy milks in baking. Common alternatives are soy, almond, cashew, rice and coconut milk. Good to keep in mind: soymilk tends to be sweeter than dairy milk, and full-fat coconut milk can be a bit creamier than regular whole milk.

Non-dairy milks can quickly be used to make a buttermilk substitute. Suppose you need 1 cup “buttermilk”; here’s how you would make it: Place 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar in a measuring cup. Add enough non-dairy milk (of your choosing) until it reaches the 1-cup line; stir with a fork or whisk. Allow mixture to rest for 5-10 minutes. Voila, you have your vegan buttermilk! The juice/vinegar adds a flavor similar to buttermilk and also curdles the milk allowing it to become slightly thicker. Just as with its dairy counterparts, non-dairy milks with higher fat content will create thicker buttermilk.

An easy way to substitute heavy whipped cream is by using full-fat coconut milk. Simply chill the can overnight and remove the separated solid cream. Using a mixer, whip the solid cream on high with a ¼ cup to ½ cup of powdered sugar (depending on the sweetness desired). The coconut milk cream will become firm and hold stiff peaks, just like whipped heavy cream.

Solid fats like butter and margarine are sometimes integral to things like puff pastry, pie crust, shortbread, croissants, Danish pastries and certain cakes.  If you’re lucky your local supermarket or health food store will carry Earth Balance Products (look for buttery sticks and buttery spreads). Although it is possible to make your own vegan butter, just go to this site.


The function of using eggs when baking is to contribute to structure and incorporate air when beaten. Some surprising ingredients can be used to replace eggs and still provide firmness. For whole eggs there are a number of great options here.

  • A banana can be used in place of 2 eggs.
  • Mixing 1 tablespoon of flax meal with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, and leaving the mixture to sit for 5 minutes will create a jelly-like substance known as a flax egg, a great substitute in baking.
  • ¼ cup plain mashed potatoes can also be to replace one egg in a recipe.
  • ¼ cup of pureed pumpkin can stand in for a single egg in baking, depending on the flavor of your recipe. ¼ cup of non-dairy yogurt can be a healthy substitute for a single egg in baked goods.
  • Tofu is a great option in recipes that call for several eggs. Whip or blend soft tofu and use ¼ cup of the mixture to replace each egg.
  • EnerG Egg Replacer is an awesome store bought mix (also available online) and my favorite egg substitute. This product can be used in almost all recipes where eggs are needed with great success.

Bonus Recipe – Vegan Chocolate Cake

For the cake:

  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water (you may substitute warm coffee for this)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar

For the glaze

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons margarine or vegan butter substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons soy milk
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Prepare the Cake. Preheat oven to 350F (177C). In an 8 x 8 inch square pan, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt with a fork. Add the water or coffee, vanilla extract, vegetable oil and vinegar. Mix the ingredients together. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.
  • Prepare the Glaze. In a small saucepan bring the sugar, margarine, soy milk and cocoa powder to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer for 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Glaze the Cake. Pour the glaze onto cake and let it cool for one hour.

Stay tuned…Coming soon, “Dining Out – A Vegan guide”

Rae Indigo is ERYT 500

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