A Beginners Guide to Vegan Baking
Do you ever just crave a decadent, gooey chocolate cake? How about the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies baking and then biting into them when they’re still warm? Maybe finishing them off with a glass of iced cold (oat) milk? If you’re anything like us, you definitely do! If you are new to being vegan, you may feel like luscious desserts are a thing of the past, but it’s not true! There are so many ways to make your favorite baked goods vegan.
Whether you are vegan, someone you know is a vegan, or you have dietary restrictions around eggs or milk, vegan baking is within your reach. Here are some helpful tips around vegan baking to get you and your pantry set up to make delicious vegan baked goods in no time.
What Is Vegan Baking?
Let’s start with the basics: what is vegan baking? Vegan baking does not use milk products (butter, milk, cream), eggs, or honey. It may seem impossible to bake anything without these items, but it’s not! Luckily, the vegan baking world has come a long way in the last ten years. There are many vegan products out there made specifically for baking, and there are tons of substitutions for pantry staples.
In vegan baking, the opportunities to bring out your creativity are endless. Once you get more comfortable understanding vegan substitutions, you can experiment with what plant-based milk works best for a particular recipe or which egg substitute works best. You’ll also start understanding when to use a vegan-specific recipe or when it is okay to simply substitute out ingredients in your family’s favorite recipe.
Remember that gooey chocolate cake we were dreaming about earlier? Well, most chocolates are made with milk products. But don’t fret! There are vegan chocolate products on the market that are just as versatile as traditional chocolate!
Pantry Staples for Vegan Baking
Setting up your pantry is key to vegan baking. If you are new to vegan baking, you’ll be happy to know that you do not need to throw all your current baking staples out. A lot of basic baking items are perfect for vegan baking. You’ll just need to update or replace a few items.
With these staples, if your vegan friend stops by and you want to whip up a sweet treat, you will be in luck! You can pull out your favorite recipe, and you will be enjoying a dessert with a friend in no time.
Like any baking, flour is a must. Since you probably already have it ready to go, all-purpose flour is perfect for most recipes.
Some white sugar is made by using bone char. Beet and coconut sugar are not made by using bone char. Also, organic sugar cannot be processed using bone char. That means that those three options will be good choices to keep on hand in your fully-stocked vegan cabinets.
If you’re looking to avoid sugar, MiiRO Sugar-Free Maple Syrup is a fantastic plant-based alternative, as well.
For the same reasons as regular sugar, make sure to look into what type of powdered or confectioners sugar you are getting. Powdered sugar produced from beet or coconut sugar or organic sugar will also be vegan.
Combining baking soda and an acid, such as vinegar, adds rise to many of our favorite vegan cakes, so you get that fluffy, delightful texture that you’ve been dreaming of. This combination replaces eggs in many plant-based recipes. The baking soda you have in your pantry will be perfect, so no need to worry about replacing that!
Baking powder is basically baking soda and a powdered acid, making any liquid, even water, activate the leavening process. Like baking soda, the baking powder you have is vegan and can still be used.
This is another item that can be used in vegan recipes if it is already in your pantry.
Egg replacement is sold by a few different companies. You can try them out and see which one works best for you, but they all tend to be very similar. On the packaging, you can see the ratio of egg replacement to water, and from there, it should be a simple swap. There are other egg substitutes out there to make, but egg replacer is the simplest option if you’re just getting started.
You can also keep flax meal on hand, because a mixture of that and warm water creates a substance that functions very much like an egg in baking.
There are a ton of milks out there that are not dairy. You can get soy, almond, coconut, oat, rice, and many, many more. Here is an area where you can get creative and find what milk works best for you. In fact, you might even find that one non-dairy milk works better in your coffee, while another works better in your baked goods—either way is totally fine!
Here is another area where there are a lot of options. Again, this is a personal choice as to which brand is your favorite, so have fun exploring! You’ll likely be able to use vegan butter just as you would regular in recipes.
Vegetable Oil and Coconut Oil
The vegetable oil in your pantry will be perfect for vegan baking as well. You can use anything from canola oil, which has a very basically no taste, to olive oil, which can alter the taste of the cake, sometimes for the better!
Coconut oil is also an immensely popular option for vegan baking, because it has a naturally sweet flavor that works with nearly any baked good.
Apple cider vinegar is a perfect acid to cause your baking soda to react in cakes. Many recipes will call for apple cider vinegar, but truth be told, we have used white vinegar in a pinch, and it worked great.
Vanilla extract is almost always vegan. You can look at the ingredients to make sure. There are many vanilla options out there to choose from, so take your pick.
We saved the best for last! You definitely need a good quality chocolate in your pantry for your baking needs. Make sure your chocolate is even good enough to snack on. You never know when that late-night sweet tooth will kick in.
Luckily, MiiRO sells both dark chocolate and peanut butter baking chips, so you can bake to your heart’s content.
Finding Vegan Recipes
Now that you have your pantry set up to bake vegan treats, how do you know what recipe is right for you? Well, just like anything else with cooking or baking, we all have our own tastes. The best way is to experiment. For a beginner baker, it is best to find a vegan recipe that is already tried and true and follow that recipe to the tee.
Once you get more confident with vegan ingredients, you can switch out one non-dairy milk for another, or try a different oil. You can even start substituting vegan ingredients into your old family recipes.
One baked item that we have found does not work well with a simple vegan swap out is cake. For some reason, just switching out the eggs with egg replacer doesn’t work as well as with cookies. This can also be said for brownies. But that just means you need to find a recipe that was designed to be vegan, like this brownie recipe or this cake recipe, and you’ll be good to go! Pretty soon, you’ll forget that you were ever baking with non-vegan ingredients—this stuff is just that good.
Your options are endless here. You’ll soon have vegans and non-vegans alike knocking at your door for your delicious treats.
If you’re looking for a vegan option, check out MiiRO TV. We’ve got tons of exclusively vegan recipe videos lined up and ready for you to give them a try. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert.
Vegan Baker Extraordinaire Pantry
So, you have chosen a recipe, and it calls for something that is a little more advanced than our basic pantry list. What now? Here are some items that are not needed in a basic vegan baking pantry but may be needed for a vegan baker extraordinaire like you!
You can make your own vegan buttermilk by adding almond milk and apple cider vinegar together and letting it sit to curdle. Look at you! You already have these staples in your pantry, so this one is nice and easy.
Vegan Sour Cream
There are many vegan sour cream options on the market today. There are also recipes out there to make your own with cashews. Do what works for your level of interest.
Vegan Cream Cheese
Everyone needs a good cream cheese frosting once in a while, right? Especially on a rich, fluffy chocolate cake… Note to self, find the perfect vegan chocolate cake recipe. There are many vegan creams on the shelves today. You guessed it, find the one that tastes the best to you.
There are many options for a honey substitute. An easy option is sugar-free maple syrup. Some other options are agave, molasses, brown sugar and water, and coconut syrup, if you eat sugar.
Create the Vegan Baked Goods of Your Dreams
Vegan baking can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are new to being vegan yourself or if you are not vegan and are baking for someone you care about. With a little organization upfront in making your pantry, understanding what vegan baking is and where to find the perfect recipe, and what vegan products they sell at the store, you will be on your way!
Now that you are set up, put on your favorite apron, grab your recipe for the sweet treat you have been craving, and grab your ingredients out of your stocked vegan pantry! Soon you will be enjoying a delicious, homemade treat. Now all that is left to decide, to share or not to share? Happy baking!