A lot of people think that vegan baking is really hard. Which is a complete myth! Whilst cakes, biscuits, and other treats usually contain lots of animal products, it’s actually really easy to make them using only vegan ingredients. You might think you need eggs and butter for the perfect cake, but there are so many good substitutes! Here are ten different common ingredients and their vegan baking alternatives.
Butter & Margarine
Butter and margarine are used in the majority of baking recipes but are really easy to substitute. The simplest way to do so is to buy vegan butter and margarine alternatives. My personal favourite is Vitalite dairy-free spread, although Pure and Flora also do really good vegan spreads. These work in exactly the same way as normal butter and margarine.
As well as vegan spreads, you can also substitute butter for oil. Coconut oil is a great one for sweet treats, as is olive oil. And don’t worry about your snacks becoming oily or dense, as they’ll still come out perfect! If you’re not big on oil then you can also use some vegetables and fruits as substitutes – sweet potato and avocado work particularly well.
Milk, Cream, & Buttermilk
Like butter, milk and cream are really easy to replace due to the availability of plant-based milk. Any type will work in baking, though my favourite is oat milk due to its low impact on the environment. Almond and coconut milk also work well. It’s also easy to find vegan creams, such as Alpro single soya cream. Or, you can use canned coconut milk as a vegan baking alternative (though this will affect the taste).
Buttermilk is also really easy to make – simply add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice to plant-based milk and leave to stand for five minutes. And if you need condensed milk then you can use condensed coconut milk instead. Why use cow’s milk when there are so many easy plant-based alternatives?
Eggs & Egg Whites
Eggs were my biggest worry when I went vegan, as they seem so integral to baking. As they’re a binding ingredient, you just need something with a similar consistency to achieve the same result. There are multiple ways that you can do this. Firstly, you can make a flax egg, which combines one tablespoon of ground flax/linseed with three tablespoons of water. Leave it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and then you’ve got a vegan replacement for one egg! Similarly, you can combine one tablespoon of chia seeds with four tablespoons of water, and leave in the fridge for the same amount of time. If you have neither flax nor chia seeds then one mashed banana does the same thing.
If you need to replace eggs in a recipe where they aren’t used as a binder then you can use applesauce, which works great in sweet desserts. Or, if you’re making meringues, mousse, or another dish that involves egg whites, then your best bet is aquafaba (the liquid that canned chickpeas are stored in). When whipped this ends up similar to egg whites so works really well.
It’s easy to worry that chocolate cake is a thing of the past when you turn vegan, but that’s not the case. Remember – cocoa powder is vegan! Many chocolate-based recipes only call for that as a flavouring, so that’s easy to deal with.
If you need to include melted chocolate or chocolate chips then you can find some great chocolately vegan baking alternatives out there. I particularly like rice chocolate! Some chocolate is also accidentally vegan – chocolate chips often are, and most dark chocolate is too.
I used to use honey in a lot of my cooking! It’s great for sweetening and glazing, however it’s not vegan. Instead, try maple syrup or agave nectar! You can buy both of these from the majority of supermarkets, and really help to add that sweetness to your culinary endeavours. I tend to go with maple syrup because it’s easier to sauce, but also because it just tastes so good! (Top tip: always go for A grade maple syrup rather than “maple sauce” as it’s much purer and therefore tastier!)
If you enjoy making sweets then gelatin (typically made from pork or beef) can seem hard to replace. One substitute that can work really well is a product called agar agar. Agar agar is a gelatinous substance sourced from red seaweed, and this does exactly the same thing from gelatin. Whilst it’s not usually found in supermarkets you can order it online, and then easily use it as a gelatin substitute. This means you can eat as many sweets as you like!
What are your favourite vegan baking alternatives to use in the kitchen? Share below, and don’t forget to like and pin if you enjoyed this post! You can read some of my other vegan articles and tips here: