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Instead of Eggs Vegan Views 66 (Autumn 1994)

"What? No eggs either??" You can almost feel the consternation in the voice of the enthusiastic cook! "But you can't make cakes without eggs!!" Take heart! You can avoid all eggs and still make excellent cakes. 'Vegetarian Lifestyle', a magazine that has come to us from New Zealand, gives the following complete explanation:

Eggs have four uses in baked goods: liquid, leavening, lightness, and binding.

Liquid is easily replaced using two tablespoons of water, soya milk, juice, or vegetable stock for each egg. Eggless cake batters are thicker than eggy ones, so add extra liquid cautiously. Eggless cakes are also moist, so generously oil the cake tin.

Leavening is when carbon dioxide is released in a batter or dough to add lightness to a mixture. Yeast does this in bread, and an alkaline reaction does it in cakes and quickbreads where alkaline baking powder and soda react with moisture or other more acidic ingredients.

Beating eggs incorporates air into them, contributing to the leavening. When not using eggs, the acid-alkaline reaction must be increased. Either replace each egg with an extra half teaspoon of baking powder, or replace the milk or water with a more acidic liquid such as soya yoghurt or add two teaspoons of lemon juice for every cup of soya milk. Dilute any acidic liquid added to half strength with water to prevent a gluey batter.

Lightness can be achieved by gentle handling as well as proper leavening. Thoroughly beat the fat and the sweetener together to incorporate air. Handle the finished batter gently to keep it from deflating when transferring the pan to the oven.

Binding makes recipes stick together. Binders are particularly useful in cakes, pancakes, fritters, and biscuit batters. Eggless cakes can be crumbly and biscuits spread out and lose their shape. Grease and flour oven trays to help biscuits stay together. Adding a mashed banana to baked goods binds them, as long as the banana flavour blends in.

Commercial egg replacers bind well and also help leavening, but are expensive and not very nutritious. You can make your own egg replacer by mixing together 1/2 cup of arrowroot and 1/2 cup soy flour. Store in a tightly covered jar. Two tablespoons equal one egg and will bind most at standard cakes and quick breads. The soya flour adds to the nutritive value.

Another substitute for one egg is 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and two tablespoons of water. This works especially well in cakes and biscuit recipes with only one egg.

Replacing eggs in other foods

Eggs are used in many other foods and replacing them is not always easy. Where eggs are used to hold food together - such as casseroles, burgers, vegetable dishes, and bean and grain loaves, there are many alternatives.

Mashed potato or avocado, tahini, and nut butters all act to bind food.

Wholegrain and nuts make a crumbly mixture so a soft and sticky binder is needed.

Breadcrumbs or oats bind bean burgers, while nut butters bind grain burgers.

A good binder for loaves is: for each egg boiled one tablespoon of oats in 5 tablespoons of water and used immediately.

Eggs also act as an emulsifier of fat - that is keeping it in suspension rather then separating out. The lecithin in tofu acts as an emulsifier when oil is added slowly, so tofu can be used to make mayonnaise: the classic example of emulsified fat.

1 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vinegar
6 tablespoons oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla.

1) Sift dry ingredients. Mix together set ingredients. Make well in center of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients.
2) Mix and place in greased cake tin.
3) Bake 180C for 30-40 minutes.

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Cross-reference: Cookery & Recipes