‘Vegan shmegan’ is what I probably would’ve said not so long ago, well that was until my sister became one and making a birthday cake for her became my most challenging bake yet – and boy did I have fun!
If you’re an advanced baker and have your macarons mastered and your pâte à choux perfected, then tackling vegan baking will definitely give you a new challenge!
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Here are some vegan ingredient swaps that will come in handy:
Probably the hardest ingredient to replace in baking because of its versatility – it can bind, add air, create structure, texture and colour. Depending on it’s function though, you’ll need to swap it out with any of the below:
– To add air (whole egg): mix 1 Tbsp of flaxseed powder or chia seeds with 3 Tbsp water and allow to stand until gelatinized.
– To add air (meringue): drain a tin of chickpeas then reduce it by a third by simmering over low heat. Allow to cool and then whip in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
– To bind/emulsify: ¼ cup mashed banana or ¼ cup of pureed apple in pancake batters etc works very well!
If your recipe calls for buttermilk you can combine 1 cup of any non-dairy milk (coconut, almond, rice, soy) with 2 Tbsp of lemon juice. Whisk and allow to sit until slightly curdled and voila!
If the recipe calls for melted butter, simply swap it out with any melted fat – coconut oil, vegetable oil. If softened butter is required (eg. ‘cream butter and sugar together’), it is best to use a vegan margarine (Flora, Cardin, Ole).
The easiest replacement for cream would be full fat (none of that lite stuff) coconut cream. It packs a delicious exotic flavour punch that promises to make anything tasty! If whipped cream is what you’re looking for, just refrigerate for a couple hours. When you take it out of the fridge, don’t shake it. Scrape off the thick, top layer of coconut fat (leaving the coconut water underneath) and sweeten with ¼ cup of icing sugar. Whip until light and fluffy.
For those of you who aren’t aware, honey isn’t actually vegan. Luckily, there are many delicious replacements that will make sure honey never crosses your mind, let alone your lips. Agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses and date paste are but a few sweet replacements!
Now that you’ve got all this down, crank up the oven, don your apron and make these decadent vegan chocolate and date caramel bars. You’ll thank us later!