Eggs are used to bind a dish and, when whipped, may also incorporate air making a cake or pudding very light. Vegan egg replacement powders (such as Vegg, Follow Your Heart VeganEgg) are available from health food shops. However, many recipes can be adapted using one of the suggestions below. Just remember to bear in mind the final dish — you can’t use banana as a substitute when making a quiche!
Instead of 1 egg, you can use:
- 1 tbsp gram (chickpea) or soya flour and 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed and 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp ground chia seeds and 2 tbsp water
- 50g tofu blended with the liquid portion of the recipe
- ½ large banana, mashed
- 1/4 cup apple sauce
All baking requires butter, soya spread is a substitute but also flaxseed or olive oil. Try any oil really, again bearing the final dish in mind.
COW’S MILK ALTERNATIVES
There are many plant-based milks available. Some may be thinner in consistency than others, look out for those made from oats, nuts, rice, soya, hemp and coconut.
- Vegan Cupcakes Takeover The World is a brilliant book to get you started on the road to vegan cupcake obsession! Once we started thinking up our own ideas for new flavours there was always a recipe in there that could be adapted.
- Get an oven thermometer, some ovens can be out by as much as 90 degrees. 😈
- Check whether your cupcakes are done by inserting a clean knife it should come out clean, or by pressing the top of the cupcake – it should spring back.
- NEVER open your oven within the first 15 minutes or you could end up with sunk cupcakes. 😕
- Make your icing in a blender to get it really light a fluffy.
- If making more than one flavour of icing: transfer the basic mix of fat and sugar to a bowl before adding the flavouring/colouring. This saves time and water having to clean the blender after each batch.
- Most cake recipes can be made into cupcakes, you may have to adjust the specified cooking time and it also allows you to play around with flavours coming up with a complimentary frosting.
- If you end up with extra icing pop it in the fridge, we find it’s not in there long before it gets used up! We have also read that you can freeze it too.
- If you decide to get serious and invest in a piping bag, get the Wilton 1M icing tip (or similar open star tip), it’s great for making pretty roses and lovely swirls of frosting. We also find the larger tips give the best effect when icing cute little cupcakes.
- If you bake a lot of cupcakes for home consumption why not get some silicone baking cases and reduce your paper wastage? Or look out for unbleached/recycled paper cases.
- If you are trying out a new recipe or experimenting, halve the quantities, there is nothing more heart-breaking then throwing away a full batch of cupcakes. 😳
- Most Betty Crocker icings are accidentally vegan (read the label kids).
If you are adapting non-vegan recipes or even following vegan ones you may come across chocolate chips in the ingredients. Do not be disheartened, for there are vegan chocolate chips out there! Below are some options:
- You don’t HAVE to use chocolate chips, a smashed up bar of vegan chocolate has served perfectly well on many occasions.
- Dove’s Farm plain chocolate chips are also organic.
- Plamil do catering size bags of chocolate chips with reduced sugar and sugar-free options.
- Sainsbury’s dark chocolate chips are vegan.
Also check out our chocolate page for more information.
No cupcake is complete without some sprinkles but unfortunately, it is just another item that us vegans must be weary of. Fancy your cupcake with a side of crushed beetle, or better still their secretion? How about some cow or a touch of pig? No, not tempted? It took some time for us to find the brands that were animal free and also to know which cunningly disguised ingredients to look out for.
What to watch out for:
- Beeswax (also known as E901 glazing agent)
- Gelatine (cow or pig-derived)
- Food colourings – beware the infamous red colouring made from crushed beetles known as E120, carmine and cochineal.
- Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! (or shellac/confectioners glaze as it will be labelled) is a resin produced by an insect. It gives a shiny finish (may be used on non-organic fruit!).
Where/what to buy:
- All large supermarkets have their own branded sprinkles look out for the ingredients above, we like Asda unicorns and Sainsbury’s stars.
- Dr Oetker has some accidentally vegan products.
- Baking Time Club offer a monthly subscription service as well as one-off purchases. All their sprinkles are vegan.
- Quality Sprinkles use only natural ingredients.
- You can colour sugar yourself pretty easily, we prefer to use natural food dyes (using juices from fruits and vegetables e.g. spinach for green, beetroot for red etc).
- You don’t have to use only commercial sprinkles to decorate your cakes, items that are in your cupboard right now can cuten them up! Try nuts, seeds, fruit, chocolate, sweets, crushed biscuits (even a crumbled cupcake), cinnamon, sugar, a drizzling of agave or maple syrup, you don’t even have to use edible things (just make sure people know before they dig in!).
- If you’ve got some skills you can do some amazing things with fondant (if you’re buying ready-made make sure it’s vegan people).
- Vegan sweets also make great cupcake decorations.