But why stop there when there are so many delicious sweeteners out there? I use most of my baking Coconut sugar or maple. I love the taste and texture. There are many sweeteners out there Date syrup to molasses to agave, to experiment. They all taste and behave differently. Do a little research and play around.
Look for unrefined organic sugar.
As a rule of thumb, for every cup of sugar, replace it with ¾ cup of liquid sweetener. Coconut sugar works great at 1: 1 for light brown sugar, but since it dries a bit, I add two tablespoons of liquid for each cup.
6. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Just go try it and don’t be afraid if it doesn’t work. This is how you learn and develop personal preferences. A cake recipe calls for milk, try almonds and oats the next time. If butter craves, try coconut oil on the first bake and switch to one of the plant-based butter products on the second. For eggs, try coconut yogurt for your first brownie attempt, and then pumpkin puree for the follow-up exam. You will quickly find what you like in terms of texture and taste.
You can always refer to a similar vegan recipe on the internet to see how this baker deals with substitutions. Note that there are no hard and fast rules and that different combinations can produce similar results.
Sometimes things may not work as planned, but over 12 years of experimentation, most of my mistakes are due to general baking mistakes (if the recipe calls for parchment-lined pan, do it!) Instead of mistakes. Even if it isn’t what you imagined, a lot can be saved. Dry cake? Soak it or ripen it! Stuck in the pan? Make it a pudding or spoon cake! Too wet? Grill it! Crumbly? Use it as a sundae topper! With a little creativity I managed to save almost everything. If you study, you can probably tell early on, such as mixing a batter or dough, if something is wrong, giving you more time to save it. I also have a rough archive of everything I’ve baked along with recipe notes to help me remember what might need tweaking next time.
And besides, now is a perfect time to practice. Bake for you, bake for your small household! Test things out so you have a killer when we’re all ready to make our big debut Brooklyn Blackout Cake for your recently vegan father’s fall birthday.
7. Keep your pantry in stock.
A vegan pantry looks a little different than an omnivore. Yes, we need the same flour, baking soda, and salt, but I always have some extra ingredients – sweeteners, egg and milk substitutes – that make the veganization process less daunting. With this stuff, you don’t have to walk to the store every time you want to replace that cream.
- Vinegar (white or apple cider)
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
- Organic cane sugar
- Starch (tapioca or corn)
- Apple and other fruit / vegetable purees (canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, butternut squash)
- Neutral oils (refined coconut, avocado, rapeseed)
- A can of chickpeas for the aquafaba
- Alternative flours
- Non-dairy yogurt (unsweetened, not flavored) – I like Kite Hill
- Full fat coconut milk
- Non-dairy (I like almonds, but any unsweetened alt will work)
- Vegan butter (this are my favorites)
- Ground flax seeds / chia seeds
- Nut butter
Go out and dive into the archive – every archive! – or finally make your famous carrot cake for your friend with a milk allergy. Or maybe you are following this seasonal craving something-rhubarb in your future? Ah, the possibilities!
Kyle Beechey is a New York-based writer and baker with a passion for nibbling cakes and sprinkles.