How to bake cakes and biscuits without eggs

Whether you’re caught short, it can be mystifying working out how to bake without eggs. But with a little ingenuity, eggless cakes, biscuits, brownies and meringues can be delicious. There are many substitutes, but it’s important to use the right one for the result you want. Our handy guide walks you through.

Baking powder + bicarb + vinegar

This is our favourite swap for fluffy cakes. Eggs give bakes structure and lift, and a little extra raising agent plus an activating can handle this too. The swap is unnoticeable in small bakes, such as our vegan muffins and vegan chocolate cupcakes. Likewise, it works like a dream in eggless fluffy pancake mix (okay, not strictly a bake!). You can stretch this solution to a big birthday-style cake, such as our eggless chocolate cake and the luscious vegan chocolate peanut butter cake pictured below.

Caution – bakes can be a little dry, and too much raising agent will give a metallic taste. Always sift in bicarbonate of soda so small lumps are evenly distributed. Our eggless lemon drizzle cake gets around any dryness with its post-bake drizzle. Other solutions are to add more milk or yoghurt to the recipe, frost generously, or heap on plenty of whipped cream and fresh fruit.

We don’t recommend a formula for this egg replacement because there are too many variables and the results could be unpleasant. It’s best to use a tested recipe.

Mashed banana + baking powder

Eggs provide tenderness and moisture, and so does mashed banana. It also has a binding effect. Of course, it does taste of, well, bananas. So an egg-free banana cake is just the thing, as are banana muffins.

There are plenty of egg-free recipes that have been tested. But if you are replacing egg in an existing recipe:

1 egg = ½ banana (mashed and added to wet ingredients) + ¼ teaspoon of baking powder (added to dry ingredients).

Flaxseeds or chia seeds + water

The combination of soaked, ground flaxseeds and water makes an incredible egg substitute because it acts as a binder and locks in moisture. Flaxseeds (or golden linseeds) are sold widely and are fairly inexpensive. They do have a little nutty bitterness, so they’re best used in bakes with spice, chocolate or nuts to complement it. Whole flaxseeds will store for longer than ground so, if you can, grind them with a pestle and mortar or a spice or coffee grinder just before using. Flaxseeds are used in our egg-free brownies and vegan carrot cake.

1 egg = 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons of water, soaked for 5-10 minutes.

Chia seeds are more expensive than flax, but have less of a distinctive taste. They do show up in a finished cake, but can easily be hidden in a lemon poppyseed, banana or chocolate cake. Some bakers say that chia seeds do not need to be ground, just soaked.

1 egg = ½ tablespoon of chia seeds + 3 tablespoons of water, soaked for 5-10 minutes.

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