In recent weeks the UK has turned into a nation of enthusiastic bakers. If the supermarket shelves are anything to go by, it appears that us Brits cannot survive without flour, yeast and toilet roll. What a combination…
All jokes aside, increased interest in baking is a fabulous thing. Cooking brings people together and can be even be meditative, offering an opportunity to slow down, relax and focus. And home-baked food tastes great!
Vegan baking has exploded in lockdown. More and more people are choosing to remove or reduce consumption of eggs, butter and other animal products for health, environmental and animal welfare reasons. Vegan baking has the added bonus of often using cheap store cupboard items and some surprising ingredients you may never have heard of.
Fear not, by the time you’ve finished reading this article you’ll know your aquafaba from your flax egg and will be well equipped to get baking – the vegan way.
We’ve included some great baking recipes from our sister site Vegan Recipe Club and listed our top tips to help you create a culinary masterpiece!
- Make sure your raising agents are in date
- Cakes are best made from room temperature ingredients
- Buy a set of measuring cups as they’re super easy to use and most US recipes use them
- Try not to over-use baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. ‘Just a little bit more’ can have the opposite effect so stick to the amounts given in the recipe
- Try using Naturli Vegan Block instead of dairy butter – it has a deliciously creamy taste
- Switch out honey with agave, maple, date or golden syrup
- Aquafaba behaves almost exactly the same as egg whites – perfect for meringues, marshmallows, macarons, mayonnaise and mousse
- Soya milk is closest to dairy milk in terms of consistency so it can be one of the best for cooking. You can also create an alternative to buttermilk using soya milk and a little vinegar
- For an alternative to sugar, try using stevia or xylitol (be careful as too much can have a laxative effect and be aware that xylitol is toxic to dogs)
- If you can get hold of flour, or only have a little, try making a polenta cake. You can use gram flour for pancakes or farinata
- There isn’t a one size fits all egg replacer as there are lots of different things you can use depending on the dish. For raising you can use bicarbonate of soda and baking powder but get a copy of our egg replacer chart to see all the various ways you can use vegan binding agents/egg replacers here
- Try not to over-stir your cake batter – just make sure it’s thoroughly combined
- Try to stop the raising agents (baking powder and bicarbonate of soda) working before they’ve hit the oven and remember that liquid activates them. In a lot of vegan baking you’ll separate the dry ingredients from the wet. Only add the wet ingredients to the dry once you’re ready to put the dish in the oven and this will help stop the raising agents activating too quickly
- One tip we’ve learned from Ms Cupcake is to tap out the bubbles in cake mixtures. She recommends giving the mixing bowl a whack on the counter just before it goes in the oven and then again when it hits the oven shelf – this is to stop the raising agents working prematurely
- Check the oven temperature is correct before putting your bread/cake in
- Store your bakes in a cake tin or sealed container – not in the fridge as they will go stale
Here are our top cakes and baking recipes: