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Vegan Baking Basics for Beginners

written by Brooke McKelvey September 12, 2017
Vegan Baking Basics for Beginners

Picture this: You wake up to prepare a family dinner and walk downstairs to get your coffee. As you add your favorite almond milk creamer you look around with a growing sense of dread. This is the first year you’ve hosted the your family since becoming a vegan, and you clearly haven’t thought through hosting everyone (and your in-laws) for the scrumptious meal that they have come to expect at your table. You’re known for your delectable pastries, pies, and cakes, but how on earth do you make them now that you don’t have eggs, butter, milk, or cream?!

Don’t sweat it, we’ve got your back. Vegan baking can be just as fun and easy as the baking that you already know, and all of the crucial ingredients derived from animal products can be easily replaced with plant-based goodness. Whether you’re a vegan veteran or making a new shift in your lifestyle, these tried and true recipe substitutes will be sure to work with all of your favorite recipes.

Let’s Get Down to (Vegan) Basics

Most people find that vegan baked goods taste nearly identical to their non-vegan counterparts. However, the consistency of the final product might feel a bit different. Here’s why: Most dairy-based ingredients act as binding agents that hold your recipe together and provide a final texture. When looking for a vegan recipe, it is important to read through it and find a description of the texture and taste. Good vegan recipes will give you a comparison to similar non-vegan desserts, but sometimes vegan substitutes will yield a slightly different texture and outcome in familiar recipes.

To avoid surprise, test a small batch of a familiar recipe, replacing dairy-based ingredients with your new vegan substitutes.

Easy Vegan Substitutions

Eggs Milk Butter Heavy Cream Honey
1 ripe banana per egg Full fat soy milk Vegan margarine Non-dairy creamer Agave syrup
Soy yogurt Coconut milk Unrefined coconut oil Coconut milk (put in the fridge a day ahead) Maple syrup
Ground flax seeds Cashew milk Rice syrup
Applesauce Almond milk


No Time to Bake?

If you don’t want to risk it, or don’t have time to test your new vegan cupcake recipe before a party, we totally understand. Here are a few vegan treats that you can pick up (and maybe even pass off as your own).  

  • Los Angeles
    • Vegan donuts from Donut Friend
    • A vegan cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes
    • Vegan apple pie from The Pie Hole
  • San Francisco
    • Vegan pies from Mission Pie
    • Special order some of Christa’s famous vegan cookies from Hey Cookie
  • Portland
    • Vegan cheesecake from Back to Eden Bakery
    • A beautiful cake from Sweetpea Bakery (They are 100% vegan)
  • Seattle
    • Vegan cookies (and ice cream) from The Cookie Counter
    • Mighty-O Donuts which are not only vegan but organic and non-GMO
  • Austin
    • Cupcakes from Capital City Bakery
    • Custom vegan cakes from Happy Vegan Baker
  • Chicago
    • Amazing vegan brownies from Delicious Cafe
    • Vegan and gluten free carrot cake from Loving Heart
  • Boston
    • Italian vegan desserts from Caffe Vittoria
    • Cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes
  • New York City
    • An assortment of vegan macaroons from Confectionary
    • Vegan marshmallows from Sweet and Sara to make s’mores
  • Washington, DC
    • Incredible pastries and cakes from Sticky Fingers
    • Black velvet cupcakes from Red Velvet Cupcakery

You’re a Vegan God / Goddess

Now you are ready to conquer dessert vegan style! We would love to see which of these substitutes are your favorite. Share your favorites with us by tagging us on Instagram @dessertweek or using #dessertweek. And follow us on Facebook for more easy dessert ideas every day of the week!

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