Anyone who has experimented baking with alternative ingredients knows that normal baking rules can’t always be relied on. Baking a cake might seem really simple, but there’s a lot of science behind it. Usually easy swaps can be made, like refined sugar for unrefined substitutes and regular flour, for gluten-free flours like oat or buckwheat. However, with eggs, the switch isn’t so simple. Often, the role of the eggs is to act as a binder, so here are some ingredients that will also do the job…
Both chia seeds and flaxseeds are hydrophilic, meaning they’ll absorb water. If you leave them to soak in water for a few minutes, they’ll form a kind of gel that almost has an egg-like consistency. Whenever any of our recipes say chia ‘egg’ or flax ‘egg’ this is how they are achieved. They don’t have a flavour at all, so can be added to almost anything. I tend to use them in cakes and pancakes.
Mash up a banana and you have a quick and easy binding agent. Of course, banana does have a pretty strong flavour, so if you’re not a fan, I wouldn’t recommend it as a direct egg substitute. Usually, I’ll use a banana when I really want the banana flavour to come through. Half a banana is more or less equivalent to one egg.
Avocado in sweet treats is not a secret anymore! As long as you’re careful to mash it up really well you won’t be able to taste it and the results are delicious. I think the best way to use avocado is in our famous chocolate frosting (in the book) as it gives a glossy and thick consistency.
Cashew, Almond, Peanut… any of these are great for binding mixtures together. If I want a creamy, subtle flavour then cashew is usually my go-to. However, almond and peanut butter’s stronger flavours can often be just what a recipe needs! Cookie, cake or muffin recipes are where you’ll usually find me using nut butter as a binder.
I don’t use this one as often, but it works really well in porridge squares and porridge muffins which is why I’ve included it. You’ll know that they are one of my favourite on-the-go breakfasts, and using apple sauce not only makes everything stick together but intensifies the flavour. However, I have been known to use it elsewhere, like in this Apple and Cinnamon Cake. Apple sauce is not the only option though – any flavour, such as mango for these porridge muffins, is great too.