Baking Substitutes: The Egg-speriment
WARNING: the word "moist" is used multiple times throughout this article.
Lately, I've been trying to eat less animal products (for a bunch of reasons which I won’t go into here - the internet has well and truly covered them) and have transitioned to mostly vegan baking. The results have been interesting. My personal favourite has been a cake which turned leathery on the outside while adopting a texture reminiscent of Clag glue within. Yum!
After some research, I think I've worked out the problem: eggs. Eggs play a vital role in traditional baking, providing lift, moisture, and cohesion. In other words, they make your cake airy, moist, and stop it from falling apart. Magic.
In the interests of science (and my taste buds) I roped in Kindlings co-founder, Kat, to join me on a quest to find the best vegan egg substitute.
Honestly, our expectations were pretty low. I thought that egg substitutes using mashed up fruit might be edible but anything involving ground up seeds pretending to be eggs was going to taste like chalk.
We tried out a basic raspberry muffin recipe with various egg substitutes that are recommended for leavening (airiness) and gave them each a score out of ten for appearance, flavour, and texture.
The substitutes we chose (taken from here and here) were: flax eggs, chia eggs, mashed banana, apple puree, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, and an oil mix. I’ll go into more details of how to make each of these egg replacements later on. Being total science nerds, we also did an experimental control using real eggs for comparison.
A combination of vegans and highly sceptical egg-eaters, who would never dream of an eggless cake.
For those of you playing along at home, you can find the Raspberry Muffin recipe here.
Conclusion and evaluation
Our hypothesis was completely wrong! Ground up seeds pretending to be eggs reign supreme!
I reckon we can break up the egg replacements we tested into four categories:
1. Never ever ever ever try: bicarb and vinegar & the oil mix
2. Fine if you’re okay with your baking morphing into something else: mashed banana & apple puree
3. Good replacements that can pass as eggs: chia eggs
4. Better than real eggs (AKA ~magic~): flax eggs
P.S. There are a bunch of egg replacements we haven’t tested like aquafaba (which mimics egg whites) and store-bought powdered replacements. If you’ve tried any of these please let me know in the comments so I can incorporate them into my baking (I am super keen to make vegan macarons!).