Anyone with access to a good health food store knows it’s not difficult to find vegan baked goods. From brownies to cheesecakes, cupcakes to Twinkies (yes, it’s true), it seems as though the movement to produce vegan baked goods has taken on a life of its own.
One of the great things about this evolution in vegan taste treats is that it’s easier than ever to find top quality alternatives to share with people who don’t yet know the many joys of being vegan (desserts included).
Of course, these items can be expensive and, in some areas, difficult to find. For some, it’s preferable to satisfy one’s sweet tooth with a treat made from more wholesome ingredients (such as organic oils, whole-grain flour and unrefined sweetener). As an added bonus, home-made vegan baked goods allow you to enjoy a healthy sweet treat, while not being concerned about the ecological implications of pre-packaged ‘convenience’ foods.
Many of your favorite recipes for non-vegan baked goods can easily be “veganized” using these simple techniques.*
* NB: “Veganizing” traditional recipes for cookies, muffins and brownies tends to work really well. Cake recipes, however, are a bit more sensitive to adjustments. I would not suggest trying to “veganize” a cake recipe unless you are already a confident baker and experienced with vegan baking techniques. There are, however, plenty of reliable vegan recipes available for cakes and cupcakes. Here’s one for chocolate cake that is fantastic.
To replace one egg:
a) Packaged Egg Replacer (1 1/2 t. egg replacer + 2 T. water for each egg)
b) 1 T. soy powder mixed with 2 T. water
c) 1 1/2 T. ground flax seeds soaked in 3 T. boiling water for 15 minutes. Pour off excess water and use the gelled flax seeds.
d) Half a mashed banana
e) 3 T. apple sauce
f) 1 T. arrowroot powder
To replace milk or cream:
a) Store-bought non-dairy milk (such as a thick, rich soy/rice/oat or nut milk) or non-dairy cream
b) Home-made tofu milk (made by blending tofu with water). To prepare: Rinse and drain 8 oz. (one cup) of tofu. Using a blender, blend tofu with one cup water. Puree until smooth. Add one more cup of water and blend. This will yield 2 1/2 – 3 cups of tofu milk.
c) Silken tofu, pureed in the food processor, makes a great base for a “cream filling.”
To replace white refined sugar
(White sugar is not only very bad for your overall health, but it is often refined through animal bone char, especially in the US.)
a) Evaporated cane juice or other unrefined cane sugar such as Rapadura
b) Date sugar
c) Xylitol (birch sugar)
To replace honey
a) agave nectar
b) rice syrup
c) maple syrup*
d) barley malt extract
e) sorghum molasses
* To produce maple syrup, sap has to be collected and boiled down. During the boiling, a drop of lard, shortening or vegetable oil is sometimes added to prevent the sap from foaming up, and this ingredient is not listed on the label. When buying maple syrup, look for the kosher symbol, or call the company to see that they use vegetable-based defoamers.
Extra Healthful Hints
- To reduce oil in baked goods, replace some of the oil with an equal amount of apple sauce. When baking cookies, replace oil with apple juice
- To lessen the amount of gluten in a recipe, spelt flour can be used interchangeably with whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour (spelt flour is not, however, gluten-free. It simply has less gluten than whole wheat).
This information has been reproduced from Incredibly Delicious: Recipes for a New Paradigm by Gentle World, which includes over 500 recipes and all sorts of tips to help make the transition to veganism easy and delicious.