Moo-ve Over for Vegan Baking! Your Guide to Dairy-Free Treats

Written by Sydney Winkler on July 27, 2017

vegan baking

We all love a decadent dessert after dinner or a sweet breakfast treat on the weekends. But if you’re vegan — or thinking of going vegan — you might be hunting for ways to recreate your favorite baked goods without any animal ingredients. That means no eggs, butter, milk, meat, or any other animal byproduct. (What?! Brownies with no butter??)

That’s what makes the idea of vegan baking intimidating. How am I going to make a cake without eggs or butter? But believe it or not, vegan baking is a lot easier than you may think. With a little innovation and creativity, you’ll be surprised at how simple and delicious vegan goodies can really be.

It’s time to get baking. Ready? Let’s get started!

Vegan baking substitutes

Vegan baking substitutes are very easy to come across. While they’re everywhere, you have to know where to look.

You can find a lot of vegan options and substitutes in the organic section of your grocery store. Eggs, milk, and butter are the three main non-vegan ingredients used in many traditional dessert recipes, so you’re going to have to replace them if you plan on making a vegan dessert.

We’ll start off with vegan egg substitutes.

Eggs

Vegan egg substitutes aren’t necessarily made to taste like eggs (though some are), but rather to replace their function. Eggs are the binding ingredient in desserts. And importantly, they’re the leavening agent in baked goods: Eggs help them rise and expand in the oven.

General grocery stores have vegan egg substitutes. Typically, you’ll only have to add water to the designated amount of egg substitute needed. Here’s a list of my favorite vegan egg substitutes. Each of the following mixtures and foods are equivalent to one egg:

Flax eggs, aka “fleggs”

  • Mix 1 tbsp. of flax seed with 3 tbsp. of water. Blend until thick and creamy.

Banana

  • Mash half of a banana.

Chia seeds

  • Mix 1 tbsp. of chia seeds with 1/3 cup of water.

Soy protein powder

  • Mix 1 tbsp. of soy protein powder with 3 tbsp. of water.

Butter

Butter is used in almost every type of baked good. It’s a must in baking. You’ll find it in brownies, cupcakes, cookies — you name it, it’s there. Luckily, finding vegan butter is as simple as picking up a different — but maybe surprising — ingredient. Here are some vegan butter options to try:

Earth Balance

  • This butter substitute is available as regular or whipped in most grocery stores.
  • Also comes in sticks (so you can measure it out just like regular butter sticks!) and spreadable containers.

Avocados

  • Mash up 1 cup of avocado to substitute 1 cup of butter.
  • Tip: Try using a food processor to puree the avocados first.

Coconut oil

  • Coconut oil is a 1:1 ratio to butter, so essentially 1/2 cup of coconut oil is equivalent to 1/2 cup of butter.
  • Coconut oil usually comes in a solid form, so you you’ll need to work with it a little. Here are some tips on how to use coconut oil in baking.

Silken tofu

  • Silken tofu works great in place of eggs in dense baked goods like brownies, quiche, and custards. One egg equals 1/4 cup of pureed silken tofu.
  • Tofu only adds moisture, so you’ll need to add baking soda or baking powder to your recipe.

Milk

Believe it or not, there are so many vegan milk options. Many vegan milk substitutes out there are made from nuts. You can also make your own if you want to embrace your inner DIY — check out this recipe for homemade cashew milk.

But if you’re allergic to nuts, you can use a soy-based milk. And if you’re allergic to soy or not a fan of the taste, you still have options, like coconut milk! As I said, there’s a never-ending list of vegan milks. Here are my favorites:

Almond milk

  • Almond milk comes in many different flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and unsweetened.

Soy milk

  • This is a great option if you’re allergic to nuts.

Coconut milk

  • Coconut milk is commonly used to make vegan ice cream.

Cashew milk

  • Cashew milk is similar to almond milk, but thicker and creamier.

These are just some of the most commonly used vegan substitutes for milk, butter, and eggs, but they’re not all of them. It’s a good idea to try out various substitutes to see which ones do well in certain recipes. Once you start baking, you’ll know which ones work better for which recipes and why.

Vegan dessert recipes

Vegan desserts can be difficult to come by at a restaurant or grocery store. And most people insist on using butter, milk, and eggs to create a yummy and creamy dessert at home.

But you can still have a decadent and sweet dessert with vegan substitutes. Here are some of my favorite vegan recipes that I love making:

Vegan Banana Pancakes

These vegan pancakes are a perfectly sweet kick-start to your morning.

banana pancakes

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Want to add some vegetables to your dessert? Check out these healthy alternative cupcakes.

carrot cake cupcake

Vegan Sugar Cookies

These super soft and chewy sugar cookies are made with a homemade glaze. They’ll have you feeling nostalgic again!

sugar cookies

Vegan Coconut Ice Cream

Cool off this summer with vegan coconut ice cream. It’s the perfect satisfying treat that won’t make you feel guilty after eating it.

coconut ice cream

These are just the tip of the vegan-dessert iceberg. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop! Here are 47 vegan breakfast recipes to try now that you’ve got the basics of desserts covered.

Remember, vegan baking is just like regular baking — the creativity and passion matters most. If you’re intent on baking without animal ingredients, it can definitely be done. Let me know which substitutes and recipes are your favorites!


sydney winkler

Sydney Winkler is the site manager and writer for CakeJournal.com. CakeJournal is the place for all of your cake and baking needs. You can find tutorials and recipes ranging from the perfect cake pop to homemade galaxy ice cream. CakeJournal is all about fun, fondant, and frosting (and cakes, cookies, and cupcakes). CakeJournal’s Youtube channel is another great baking resource. Make sure to check them out!

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