Typical ingredients in a cake include flour, sugar, butter, milk, a rising agent, and eggs. Other ingredients, like fruits, extracts, or frostings, can improve the flavor and enhance the look of the cake. However, some primary ingredients, like eggs, can be removed from the equation.
While eggs are often used to prepare cakes, baking a cake without eggs is entirely possible. There are different types of egg-free cakes, but that’s where their similarities often end – being egg-free. There are quite a few alternatives that can be used instead.
You won’t notice a serious difference in taste between egg-free cakes and cakes baked with eggs. However, if the substitute for the egg has a noticeable flavor – like bananas – the egg-free cake is likely to taste like its substitute.
Why are eggs useful in a cake?
Eggs serve different purposes in baking a cake, whether you’re using just the yoke, egg-white, or both. Eggs give cakes an airy feel, and bakers often add beaten eggs to the batter to make it fluffy.
Egg whites are often used as a leavening agent, but they’re useful in making the cake icing as well. Egg yolks add flavor to the cake while acting as a thickening agent. If you want to make a dense or heavy cake, egg yolks will come in handy.
What happens when you take the eggs out of the equation?
Without eggs, your cake will not have the same consistency and texture as regular cakes. Because eggs contribute to the ‘feel’ of the cake, alternatives are often used when baking an egg-free cake. Some popular alternatives include baking powder, a banana, or even tofu.
Why egg-free cakes?
There are some benefits to eating egg-free cakes, especially if you’re a vegetarian or prefer vegan options. Also, people may refrain from eggs due to religious purposes or allergic reactions.
Apart from these reasons, egg-free cakes also taste rather delightful, depending on the substitute you’ve used.
Common substitutes for eggs include:
- mashed bananas
- potato starch
- pureed fruits
- sour cream
How to know a cake is egg-free?
While some people will argue that egg-free cakes have an off taste, it’s not that easy to tell if cakes have eggs from taste alone. Remember, ingredients added to cakes are often set up to mimic the feel eggs give cakes. Also, cakes can have different tastes, depending on the recipe.
There are a few ways to tell if a cake is egg-free:
Ask the baker or store
If you’re ordering a cake, chances are you can ask for an egg-free one. Also, cakes on display will often state if they are egg-free or not. You can also ask the baker or person behind the counter if the cake you’re purchasing is egg-free.
Cakes with eggs are softer and spongier
While substitutes can achieve a similar feel to cakes with eggs, it is hard to mimic the density. An egg-free cake won’t be as soft as a cake with eggs. However, to tell if eggs have been used, you will need to cut into the cake to feel the softness.
Can you smell the eggs?
If you’re used to an egg-free diet, chances are you’ll be able to sniff out a regular cake with eggs. The unique smell of eggs is not easy to ignore when you rarely eat eggs. It should be noted that other flavors, like the frosting, can mask the egg scent.
Cakes will taste like the ingredients inside the batter. Whatever substitute you plan to use for an egg-free cake could be the defining flavor of the cake. With fruit cakes and other cake types gaining popularity, even with eggs inside, it will be hard noticing the difference in taste between egg-free and egg-full.