Trust me - baking vegan is easy as pie. Once you learn the basics there is no stopping you from climbing vegan cake mountain. So here are some simple tips and tricks to get you started!
- Egg Replacers
Know your egg replacers and what works for different baking. Don’t just swap one egg for your favourite egg replacer. First establish what the egg does for the recipe, is it for binding or for making the recipe fluffy? Sometimes it’s as simple as just adding some vinegar. For a detailed explanation of egg replacers go here: https://www.sarakidd.com/dont-stress-about-egg-replacers/
- Baking Powder
Make sure you’re using active baking powder. Baking powder helps make your cake rise. Test your baking powder by adding half a teaspoon to warm water. If it fizzes then it’s all good! If it’s dead in the water you need new baking powder.
- Baking Soda
Make sure you’re using active baking soda. Just like baking powder, baking soda helps make your cake rise and is generally used in more acidic recipes. Put a few teaspoons of white distilled vinegar in a cup and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. If it fizzes then it’s all good! If it’s dead in the water you need new baking soda.
- Cake Flour
When making vegan cakes, always aim to use cake flour. Cake flour is a finely milled delicate flour with low-protein that will help your cake be more fluffy and light. Usually you can buy this in the supermarket but otherwise you can make your own by replacing 15g of every 110g of plain flour with 15g of corn flour and then sift a few times.
- Vegan Butter
Let’s chat about replacing butter. When substituting with a vegan butter, you may need to include a veggie fat or a veggie shortening in the recipe to get the right texture, as non-dairy margarines have a more fragile structure. I would experiment with 3/4 vegan butter and 1/4 veggie shortening as a starting ratio.
You can create a great alternative to buttermilk. For every 100ml of soy milk, add about 10ml of vinegar (or 1 tbs) and stir until it becomes ‘activated’. Vegan butter milk also help bind your recipe together so it acts like an egg.
- The Oven Is Your Friend
Always pre-heat your oven for 30 mins beforehand and use an oven thermometer to check the temp is accurate. If it’s not at the right heat, wait. This affects how your baking will turn out. Ovens can be the reason your bake failed. If you would like to know more about how to work your oven, check out my February article in UK publication, Vegan Food & Living magazine.
- Don’t Seize Up!
Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature (unless stated in the recipe) as it can cause your batter to seize up and become tough and flat once baked.
- Do Your Prep Work, Kid!
Make sure that once your batter is ready it goes straight into your baking pans and then the oven, so do all your prep work first before mixing the batter.
- Don’t Over Beat It
Never over beat! Over beating will develop the gluten more and lead to less fluffy cakes and gluten streaks. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl in stages, to make this easy divide into 3 parts and add slowly. After adding ⅓ of the wet ingredients, gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry mix with a spatula. Repeat until all combined. Don’t worry if there are lumps as they will bake out. Never over stir your mixture.
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