Help me… I am a new vegan!


Vegan essentials

As a new vegan, I am learning which food I can use as replacement for milk/butter/eggs etc.

Milk is the easiest one, there are so many different varieties of non-dairy milk such as soya, rice and almond milk (definitely staying away from the hemp milk though).

Then for butter I usually just replace it with vegan margarine (anyone have other suggestions?).

Eggs is much harder, I’ve heard that ground flaxseeds are good, but I haven’t tried this yet (I will do soon!) I usually just use oil, mashed bananas or applesauce in my cakes, the last two only tend to work out when you want a fairly stodgy cake (like the vegan banana cake which you can findΒ here) rather than something light and fluffy like a Victoria sponge. I made a disastrous cake the other week, it’s one of my favourite vegetarian cakes, a lemon drizzle cake. Unfortunately, instead of the yummy cake I usually make, it was a baking powder disaster that tasted like dirty dishwater, unfortunate. Fortunately, I live with poor students who will eat any old rubbish, so it found a nice home in their stomachs, but there was no way I was eating any of that. So anyway, the point is that need help, is there anyway to make a lemon drizzle cake (or Victoria sponge style cake) that rises, doesn’t taste soley of baking powder and has a nice fluffy consistency? Or is that beyond the realm of possibility for a vegan? Please leave a comment below if you have some wisdom to share, it’s greatly appreciated!Β 

Quick update (31.03.2013) I just found this picture, which really helps.

No meat athlete

Update 25/04/2013

I have successfully made aΒ yummy vegan lemon drizzle cake, for the recipe click here.

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27 thoughts on “Help me… I am a new vegan!

  1. Hey, congrats on becming vegan! It gets super easy once you have all the alternatives.
    I don’t use margarine because it grosses me out (seriously, google how margarine is made), but I use Earth Balance buttery spread (they have soy free and a coconut oil formula too).
    For eggs I’ve had extremely good success with flaxseeds, they need to be ground though, and store them in the freezer or they’ll go rancid. I do about a 1/4 to 1/3 cup warm water to 1 tbl flax as one egg, stir and let sit until completely gelled. Banana or apple sauce work well for consistency but they wont bind anything like the flax will. Chia seeds do the same but are a bit more expensive so I don’t use them. I find that boxed egg replacer you can buy tastes weird.
    Maybe you’ll just need to look up a dedicated vegan lemon cake recipe, I find ones with apple cider vinegar in the recipe seem to turn out better.
    Good luck!!

    • Thank you for the reply.

      I have been looking into the different type of margarine we use, and If I can get “earth balance buttery spread” the I’ll definitely get some, the same with flax seed/

      If we find a vegan lemon cake that is tasty we will be sure to post it. Thanks

  2. I’m new to vegan baking too, but I have found a few things that work well for me. The key I have found is that it depends on what type of baking you are doing. Oil in place of butter works best if you want more of a crunchy cookie ( I highly recommend coconut oil!), but if you are ok with something a bit softer then I use apple sauce.
    Obviously if you are using either applesauce or oil as butter replacers, then for the egg you will want to use a flax egg or banana.
    Hope this helps πŸ™‚ Happy baking!

  3. I’ve bookmarked this recipe from one of my favourite veggie blogs. From the pic it looks perfect and while I can’t vouch for this recipe, I’ve made a couple of her other recipes and they’ve worked well. Looking at the ingredients, I’m guessing the key to this is *acid* she uses vinegar & lemon juice to activate the baking powder (I don’t think 2 tsp baking powder should taste too much). Second it’s a batter cake mix, which generally rises more easily than a thick cake mix:

    http://bitofthegoodstuff.com/2013/03/vegan-lemon-drizzle-cake-dairy-free-egg-free/

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  5. I have not made one myself, but my understanding of a Victoria Sponge Cake suggests that you may want to try an egg replacement powder (like Ener-G) or a soya yogurt to replace the eggs… Good luck! πŸ™‚

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  7. Just so you know, lovely, Vitalite, while delicious and vegan, is (at least in the UK) owned by the dairy industry. So if you buy it, you’re technically contributing to their profits. Just a heads up! Your choice what you do with the info :3 ❀

    Have an awesome day πŸ™‚
    Feel free to ask me if you need some recipes or advice! ❀

  8. I almost never replace eggs with anything other than a splash of water or soy milk. I succumbed to some egg replacer to duplicate my first ever vegan cookies but they weren’t any better with egg replacer. I might try the meringue recipe on the side of the packet though.

    I highly recommend Hazelnut milk for hot chocolate but cut it with soy milk because it is too rich on its own.
    I also recommend Vegusto cheese especially the gold one, this is the only vegan cheese I’ve found good enough to eat straight with bread and wine. Red cheddar cheezly is just about okay in sandwiches but the others I would only eat cooked and I’d avoid scheeze.

    • ok cool, that’s good to know, will try doing some cookies just using soya milk then and see how they turn out (plus it’s an excuse to make more cookies).
      I haven’t tried hazelnut milk, but the next time I go to the shop i’ll get some and give it a go (hoping it’ll taste a bit like nutella…)
      Haven’t heard of that cheese before, will try it, I was told that scheeze is really horrible.
      Thanks for the advice, I have some more things to experiment with now.

      • Have you got the vegan cookies take over the world (or whatever its called) book. Some good recipes in there.

        Joy of vegan baking also good especially the chocolate bread and butter pudding. The cake scoffer which is like Β£1.25 is also worth it just for the chocolate banana cake!

    • I don’t have any vegan recipe books as I usually just take them off the internet but I should definitely invest in at least one good one, possible birthday present from the family, thanks for the suggestions.

  9. Eggs are tricky to replace. I recommend Allergycare Vegan Whole Egg Replacer, which you can buy at Holland & Barrett. I also recommend The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Steen & Newman. The main issue with subbing in ingredients like bananas and applesauce is that they really affect the over all taste of the cake. Plus, I strongly associate applesauce cakes with dieting for weight loss! πŸ˜‰ (Applesauce is a dieter’s friend, when reducing fat content.) Good luck with your baking experiments! πŸ™‚ x

    • Thank you, I’ll have a look into that. Yes, I really like banana and applesauce as replacement in banana and apple cakes but it’s a problem in anything else really. Also I want to be able to make more difficult recipes that just won’t really work with a banana/applesauce as replacements.

      • Hey Laura! It sounds like you’ve already heard most of what I have to say, but I just want to put my two cents in here. I always use ground flaxseeds in place of eggs and it works like a charm for me. You don’t have to blend them in the blender like it says on the No Meat Athlete chart. I just put 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds and 3 tablespoons of water per egg in a bowl and whip it with a metal hand whip. Then I let it stand for a couple of minutes until it thickens up. Because you have to wait for it to thicken, I always do this first and then get my ingredients out for what I’m baking. Some people cook the flaxseeds and water to thicken them. If you do this, let the mixture cool before adding it to a recipe. And as far as butter, as has been suggested by others, I use Earth Balance. I don’t use Earth Balance often, however; because it’s made with oil and oil is not recommended on the plant-strong diet I’m on (here’s a link about my diet: http://honkifyourevegan.com/2013/02/20/what-is-a-plant-strong-diet/). Still, when I do use butter, Earth Balance is the only thing I use. I don’t know if you ever eat or use yogurt in baking, but So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt tastes amazing! I think it’s better than dairy cow yogurt. Anyway, I’m so happy you’ve gone vegan, and you will find great substitutions for everything in time. There’s some experimentation and failures at first to be sure, but you’ll discover what works.

  10. Welcome to the blogosphere! Based on the responses I’ve seen so far, you’re in great company. Having been vegan for over a decade now, I can tell you that experimentation and combination is the key. Don’t be shy to play around – I’ve often found that replacing 1 egg with ground flax and another egg with banana or apple cider vinaigre gives great results. The same goes for gluten free baking – it’s always best to combine a pile of different flours instead of going “whole hog” with coconut or almond flour. I look forward to seeing what you come up with (especially the lemon loaf – I’m obsessed with them!).

    • Thanks for the advice, I get a little nervous about experimenting with egg replacements as it has led to disasters in the past, but i’ll keep trying! I’ll be working on the lemon loaf soon hopefully, I love them too πŸ™‚

  11. Neat! I just went vegan a few months ago and it’s been hard but well worth it. Recipes are hard to find sometimes but I’ve been living off of vegie burgers, salads, beans and green smoothies lol..

    • Yeah, I know what you mean, it can be pretty hard to replace things in regular recipe, I’ve been eating a lot of pasta because it’s really easy and you can get so much great veg into them. Also curries are really good, as a lot of them will be vegan anyway. Good luck adapting!

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  15. Apple Cider Vinegar and a leavening agent such as baking soda work well to help something rise in place of eggs.

  16. Hi there, have you tried organic sunflower butter or “pure” sunflower dairy free sunflower butter as a substitute to butter? It’s very nice just got to get used to the taste when baking with the “pure” sunflower butter the taste becomes unnoticeable in certain bakes.

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