Baking without eggs takes us back to the days of our grandmother’s mayonnaise cake during the depression years, carefully made without oil or eggs. Eggs are usually a binder or leavening agent in recipes, but are known to cause high cholesterol and not part of the vegan diet. In today’s world, popular egg replacements still contain egg, so vegans need to replace certain parts of the egg in baking recipes – the whole egg, the yolk, or just the whites. Or simply look for egg replacements or replacers at the stores or online instead of egg substitutes. A good brand is Ener-G Egg Replacer for use in baking.
During the depression, people baked cookies or cakes without eggs by adding two to three tablespoons of water to replace each egg. The water worked adequately because it never changed the flavor of the recipe like mashed fruit does, it moistens and binds the dough like the eggs. For many recipes, sweet egg replacers will not work.
For thickening or binding purposes – such as gravy or in meat loaf – some popular vegan egg substitutes are cornstarch, applesauce, oat flour, meal crumbs, cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, mashed potatoes, instant potato flakes, or water packed tofu mixed with water. Cooked oatmeal or quick-cooking oats also work well, especially for meat loaf or meat balls. Other binding agents are tomato paste, rolled oats, cornmeal/flour, or whole wheat flour for things like vegetarian loafs or pasta dishes instead of adding eggs.
Many people use eggs for leavening in baking, needing to make the baked dish lighter or fluffier instead of heavy and sticky.
Experiment a bit and see what works best:
(1) one full tablespoon of soy or garbanzo flour beaten with one tablespoon of water;
(2) two tablespoons of flour mixed with one teaspoon of vegetable oil, then add two teaspoons of baking powder for each egg;
(3) ¼ cup pureed prunes replaces one egg;
(4) ¼ cup mashed potatoes equals one egg; or
(5) use ¼ cup silken tofu (to replace one full egg). Tofu is used when a lot of eggs are needed in a recipe, such as custards or quiches. One egg can be replaced by ¼ cup soft pureed silken tofu – perfect for any egg dish but it does not fluff up when preparing the dish.
For fruit cakes or desserts, fruit is an excellent vegan egg substitute as ¼ cup of applesauce or one banana equals one egg. In fact, most high pectin content fruit, such as apple puree, are excellent vegan egg substitutes. Another excellent egg substitute is three tablespoons of water mixed with one tablespoon ground flaxseed (or two and a half tablespoons of pre-ground flaxseed) to replace each egg. Other choices are canned pumpkin or mashed canned fruit added to cakes, squash pie or muffins. Depending on the recipe, some fruit substitutes need to have baking powder added with them as they have a tendency to make a baked item very heavy.
Some cake or soufflé recipes call for egg whites alone. One tablespoon plain agar powder with one tablespoon water can be used to substitute one egg white. The powder can be found at health food stores or even Chinese food stores. Once it is whipped, chill it and then whip it again – just like beaten egg whites. By experimenting, a person can always find easy ways to replace eggs in vegan baking that will work for them without changing the texture or flavor of the recipe.
Hugo Essog is a recipe tester for the vegan recipe website vegancooking.com.