Egg- Free and Non-Dairy Cakes

Whether for medical or ethical reasons non-dairy (vegan) and egg free cakes present a real challenge to cake bakers. This article explores the options and substitutes available, and offers some delicious recipes, proving that non-dairy.egg-free doesn’t have to mean non-tasty!

Making Substitutes

Making a non-dairy cake means substituting some of the Ingredients which we’ve come to depend on heavily in traditional baking. Fortunately, milk, yoghurt and butter can be replaced with soy milk, soy yoghurt and vegan margarine – which you should be able to find without much trouble. In fact, soy milk and yoghurt have been shown to offer extra health benefits – so they’re now widely available in most supermarkets.

Egg presents more of a problem. If you’ve read our article A Baker’s Guide , you’ll know that egg is used to provide a dry coagulation around the air bubbles and make the cake fluffy. Beaten egg plays an important role in binding the cake batter. Mashed or pureed fruit, gelatine, arrowroot or cocoa butter are recommended, and you’ll find egg-replacement powder in health food shops (which will enable you to try your favourite recipes).

Whatever cake you’d like to make, the key is experimentation. Swap egg for pureed dates, sugar for molasses, and butter for vegan margarine. You’ll soon pick up tricks and learn how to turn a cake into a dairy-free zone.

Using Fruit Purees

Mashed or pureed fruit (banana, apple, date, apricot, or prune) is a common substitute for egg. It provides moisture and flavour too. Try a fruit and nut loaf with pureed apple instead of egg.

Apple and Nut Loaf
  • 110g (4oz) vegan margarine
  • Pinch salt
  • 175g (6oz) muscovado sugar
  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 2 small cooking apples, peeled and chopped
  • 110g (4oz) pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped
  • 75g (3oz) stoned dates, chopped
  • 3tbsp soy milk or apple juice
  • Put one of the apples into a saucepan with a splash of lemon juice, and soften over a low heat until you can mash it to a puree.
  • Tip this into a large mixing bowl or food processor, then add the margarine, salt, sugar, flour, baking powder and milk or apple juice.
  • Beat thoroughly to achieve a thick cake batter, then fold in the chopped apple, dates and nuts. Pour into a greased and lined 7” loaf tin and bake at 180 deg C for up to an hour (when a skewer should come out clean).

Using Oil and Soy Yoghurt

Other vegan or non-dairy recipes replace the butter and eggs with sunflower oil and soy yoghurt, which will usually create a moist, rich cake. It’s easy to make a vegan version of sour cream by blending 4tbsp soy yoghurt with 2tbsp soy cream and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Try this egg-free version of our favourite Chocolate cake.

Egg-Free Chocolate Cake
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour, sieved
  • 3tbsp cocoa
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 200ml (7fl oz) soy yoghurt or vegan sour cream (see above)
  • 150ml (5fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 3tbsp golden syrup
  • Preheat the oven to 150ºC and put the tin of syrup in to warm up for 5 minutes.
  • Remove and pour 3tbsp into a jug; whisk in the oil, soy yoghurt and caster sugar.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder over the wet ingredients and fold together with a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 8” tin and bake for about an hour.

Using Syrup and Molasses

Sticky, rich and sweet, syrup, treacle or molasses are sometimes used to make up for the lack of egg in a recipe. It’s usually better to use treacle (a mix of refined and unrefined syrups) or molasses (unrefined sugar) as they’re higher in iron and vitamins. A little extra baking powder makes up for the heaviness of syrup, but don’t use too much – it will make the cake taste peculiar!

Gingerbread Cake
  • 2tbsp treacle
  • 110g (4oz) vegan margarine
  • 110g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 250g (9oz) self-raising flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • Warm the treacle, margarine and sugar in a saucepan until melted together.
  • Tip into a mixing bowl and sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
  • Fold together using a spatula and pour into a buttered loaf tin.
  • Bake at 160ºC for about an hour.

Keep Experimenting…

Just because you or your guests aren’t eating dairy ingredients doesn’t mean you can’t bring out a fantastic cake. Get your culinary imagination started with a flick through recipe books by Rose Eliot, Rachel Demuth and Barbara Cousins. Don’t be afraid to experiment – that’s how all the best cakes come about!

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