Literally, every simple cake recipe needs eggs! They provide essential structure, texture, leavening, and even color. However, eggs are the ingredient that you never seem to have when wanting to bake some cakes!
There are hundreds of different egg substitutes that many people claim to be foolproof, but more often than not they don’t seem to work.
Luckily, we have tried and tested some egg substitutes to see which works best.
So, what are the 9 best substitutes for eggs in cakes? Our highest recommended substitute is mashed bananas for whole eggs and aquafaba liquid for whipped egg whites. Other than those, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, vinegar, pureed silken tofu, apple sauce, and even yogurt will work well.
In today’s article, we will be looking at all of these substitutes and exactly when and how to use them. We will also be looking at their pros and cons, as well as the ratios you need to use for each substitution.
What Are The Functions Of Eggs in Cakes?
Eggs have a multitude of functions in cooking from emulsifying sauces to creating the inner structure of cakes and other baked goods.
To better understand which substitutes you need to use (or choose from) you have to understand what the functions of the eggs are. Today, we will be looking specifically at the functions of eggs in cakes.
By determining which function you need the eggs for, you can determine which substitute will work best.
First of all, as you already know, eggs consist of egg yolks and egg whites. Usually, these two are used together in cakes, but it is not always the case. When they are used separately, they do tend to have different functions.
Egg whites are used to either help create the structure of the cake, or to help aerate it – it can also do both at the same time.
When egg whites are baked (regardless of the form they are used in) the proteins coagulate due to the heat of the oven and create a stable structure in the cake.
The way the eggs (especially the egg whites) are prepared is what creates different textures in cakes.
For example, when a whole egg is beaten and incorporated into a batter, you will have a “normal”, sometimes even dense cake texture. Even by just incorporating plain egg whites (without a yolk) you will still have the same result.
However, if you incorporated whipped (beaten) egg whites (without yolks), you can gently fold them into the batter, creating a much more aerated, open crumb texture in your cake.
Different types of cakes use different types of eggs to create very specific structures. Pound cakes use whole eggs to create a denser structure.
Genoise cakes are made by beating whole eggs over low heat and thereby cooking them – this creates a thicker batter and semi-aerated texture. For chiffon cakes, the yolks and whites are used separately.
The whites are beaten to create a meringue before being incorporated into the batter with the yolks. This creates a very aerated and rich cake structure.
When egg whites are incorporated into a batter as is, once they are baked, the proteins coagulate and form a spongy structure.
These egg whites can also create a different type of structure when they are beaten to create foam. This foam is gently incorporated into the batter, creating an aerated batter.
When this batter is baked, again, the proteins coagulate and create a much more spongy and airy structure.
When you incorporate whipped egg whites, it also acts as a type of leavening agent that helps add volume to a cake.
With structure comes stability, because without eggs in a cake mixture (or similar ingredients), the rest of the ingredients wouldn’t be able to stand alone.
Eggs, both the yolks and whites, help combine ingredients together and their protein structure is what binds them.
If you were to combine flour and milk and bake it, they wouldn’t hold together well; however, add an egg, and not only will you have a better texture, but it will hold much better.
Eggs naturally fall under the wet ingredients category when it comes to cakes. The sole purpose of adding wet ingredients is not only to help combine the dry ingredients but to add flavor and a different type of texture.
The more wet ingredients you have, the moister and softer your cake will be.
But, always keep in mind that baking cake is a science – more eggs will give you more moisture, but will also dramatically change the texture of your cake into a rubbery mess. So be sure to understand what you are substituting!
Eggs don’t really have any flavor or add much to cakes. While you might then be confused as to why we listed it as a function, it is because it doesn’t add any flavor while still being able to perform its other functions!
Many of the substitutes for eggs in cakes will add some type of flavor, so keep that in mind when choosing one – especially when making a vanilla cake!
There are very few substitutes that won’t add flavor while still being able to add structure and stability to the crumb of your cake.
Eggs do have an effect on the final color of the cake once baked. This is mostly due to the yolks which have a natural yellow color.
This added color helps create a beautiful, evenly baked golden brown cake. There are a few substitutes that will be able to add this color, however many won’t.
If you have a substitute that cannot add color, you can simply brush your cake with a bit of butter, some milk, or simply bake it a little longer.
How To Make Cake Mix Without Eggs
While there are so many substitutes for eggs in baking, not many of them work or are realistic. All of our substitutes today are foolproof and are guaranteed to work.
While they may make drastic changes to the cake, they aren’t necessarily bad changes!
Try to experiment with these different substitutes and see which works best for your needs! Here are our 9 best substitutes for eggs in cake mixes.
1. Mashed Bananas
Personally, we think mashed banana is the ultimate egg substitute for cakes. Mashed banana is arguably the most readily available substitute of all (for eggs specifically).
And even if you don’t already have some in your cupboard, you can easily find them everywhere!
Beyond that, mashed banana is very easy to incorporate without having tons of additional steps to follow. You can simply mash and mix – it is literally that simple.
It is also a fantastic substitute that will add all of the functions of regular eggs.
It adds structure with its fibrous texture, it is a substitute that easily binds ingredients together to create stability, it definitely adds a ton of moisture to your mixture, and finally, it will also help add color when baking your cake.
The biggest con we have, which isn’t necessarily a con, is the flavor that it adds to the cake.
It has a very distinctive and recognizable flavor; however, it is also one that can be easily masked. If you are making a chocolate cake, the strong cocoa and chocolate flavors will mostly overpower that of the banana.
You can also add some essences and extracts to your batter to enhance the flavor you want, for example, citrus or caramel.
To use this vegan substitute for eggs, you can substitute every whole egg with ¼ banana. This substitute works best for recipes with whole eggs that don’t need to be aerated.
If you haven’t heard of aquafaba, prepare to have your life changed forever!
This is a fantastic vegan substitute for eggs, especially egg whites, that comes from the chickpeas liquid – yes, that liquid that comes from the can that many people usually discard!
Once you’ve drained the chickpeas, keep the liquid separate. This liquid can be whipped to create a type of vegan meringue. This means you can use it as a substitute for whipped egg whites in cakes and many other baked goods.
Despite not being a very well-known substitute, we love it because of its affordability, ease of use, and effectiveness. There are very few substitutes for whipped egg whites and aquafaba substitutes it seamlessly!
It will help leaven the batter, create a soft and airy texture, and give some structure and stability to your cake.
It will not however substitute egg yolks great. It doesn’t add any color to your cakes, it won’t add richness, and it will not add any noticeable flavor.
For every egg you have to substitute (even if it is just egg whites) you can use 3 tablespoons aquafaba liquid. We never incorporate it as is and always whip it.
This is a substitute that you will find virtually everywhere and for a very good reason. Ground flaxseeds create a very similar consistency to beaten eggs once it is mixed with some water.
This means that it will create a nice texture in cakes and help add a good structure. It does however have some downsides.
The first downside is that it cannot be used as a leavening agent for cakes like chiffon or chocolate oil-based cakes (both of which use beaten egg whites to help create volume).
No matter how long you try to beat it, it will only resemble a beaten whole egg, never whipped eggs.
The second downside is that it has a very distinctive, hard-to-disguise nutty and earthy flavor. You can try to hide it using essences and extracts, but it will still be difficult.
It is still a very effective substitute for whole eggs in cakes if used and incorporated correctly. To substitute one whole egg, simply combine 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 2-3 tablespoons of water.
Allow the flaxseed mixture to sit and swell for a couple of minutes before incorporating it into your batter.
Tip: Don’t use this substitute if you need to replace more than one whole egg. It will change the consistency of your cake too much and give it an unappealing texture.
4. Silken Tofu
Tofu is basically condensed soy milk. There are many different types available on the market, mostly ranging in moisture levels. Regular tofu has been pressed into blocks and has a very low moisture content.
Silken tofu, however, has a high moisture content, meaning it also has a very soft consistency. You can simply blend this product in a food processor to create a smooth lump-free puree and incorporate it into your batter.
It doesn’t have a very overwhelming flavor so will easily blend in with the rest of your ingredients. It will also help create a very solid structure, but cannot be used as a leavening agent.
To substitute 1 whole egg, you can simply add ¼ cup silken tofu puree.
5. Apple Sauce
This is a classic and age-old substitute for eggs in cakes especially. Apple sauce is another ingredient that you probably already have in your pantry. It has a more neutral flavor compared to bananas and almost has a similar texture.
What makes apple sauce a good substitute is that you can easily add a leavening agent like baking powder into the recipe with it, which will help aerate the batter and prevent the sauce from weighing it down.
Apple sauce is easy to incorporate, will add a ton of moisture, create a nice structure, and won’t affect the flavor of the cake too much. Simply substitute one egg with ¼ cup applesauce.
Vinegar is a great substitute for egg whites. However, it has to be mixed with baking powder or baking soda.
These ingredients will react with each other and great a powerful leavening effect that is hard, even impossible, to achieve with other egg substitutes.
It doesn’t work great as a substitute for structure or as a binding agent. We would recommend using this substitute with something like banana to help bind and leaven the cake batter.
Make sure you follow the recipe exactly as this substitute isn’t very easy to pull off. There are a lot of varying factors, and you definitely need to experiment with different recipes to see which works with this vinegar substitute.
Also, don’t use this substitute if you need to replace more than one egg. Even though the vinegar won’t affect the taste of the cake as much as you would think, the more you add the more the texture and structure will be affected.
To substitute one egg, combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 teaspoon of baking powder or soda.
7. Yogurt, Buttermilk, or Kefir
All of these ingredients will make a good substitute for whole eggs in cake mixes. Even though they won’t act as a leavening agent themselves, it is easy to add some to the recipe which will compensate for that part.
Always choose neutrally flavored products. We prefer using plain double thick yogurt (also called Greek yogurt).
Buttermilk has a slight acidity to it which may chemically react with some of the other cake ingredients and ultimately change the texture.
Kefir is a type of fermented milk that has a similar consistency to yogurt and buttermilk.
Make sure you take notes when substituting these ingredients with specific recipes to see how it changes it – this way you have something to work from and adjust if needed in the future.
You can substitute every egg with ¼ cup yogurt or buttermilk or kefir. If you want to create a leavened cake, make sure to add some baking soda or powder to the recipe, or increase the amount already present.
8. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are very similar to ground flaxseed. You can either ground it into flour or use it whole. You can grind chia seeds at home with a pestle and mortar or spice grinder, or you can buy it in a pre-ground form.
Ground chia seeds are also mixed with water, allowed to sit for a while, and then mixed and incorporated into the batter. Just like flaxseeds, it has a very similar texture to a beaten whole egg.
This means that it will also not make a great substitute for whipped egg whites, but should rather be used instead of whole eggs. It has a very neutral flavor so is easier to use compared to other substitutes.
To use chia seeds, combine one tablespoon of whole seeds with 3 tablespoons of water for every whole egg.
Allow the seeds to swell before incorporating them into the batter. Do not use chia seeds if you need to replace more than two eggs.
9. Egg Replacer
While we aren’t the biggest fan of artificial egg replacers ourselves, we cannot deny their effectiveness and ease of use.
You can simply follow the package instructions for various different uses and ways to incorporate it into your batter.
One that we would recommend most is this one from Bob’s Red Mill. It is easy to use and very affordable. Having a packet or two of this in your cupboard might just save the day!
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