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Egg Free and Non Dairy Cakes

Posted 18/01/2007 by Anna Hollisey

Ginger Cake

Whether for medical or ethical reasons non dairy (vegan) and egg free cakes present a real challenge to cake bakers. This article explores the options and substitutes available, and offers some delicious recipes, proving that non dairy. Egg free doesn’t have to mean non tasty!

Making Substitutes

Making a non dairy cake means substituting some of the Ingredients which we’ve come to depend on heavily in traditional baking. Fortunately, milk, yoghurt and butter can be replaced with soy milk, soy yoghurt and vegan margarine – which you should be able to find without much trouble. In fact, soy milk and yoghurt have been shown to offer extra health benefits – so they’re now widely available in most supermarkets.

Egg presents more of a problem. If you’ve read our article A Baker’s Guide , you’ll know that egg is used to provide a dry coagulation around the air bubbles and make the cake fluffy. Beaten egg plays an important role in binding the cake batter. Mashed or pureed fruit, gelatine, arrowroot or cocoa butter are recommended, and you’ll find egg replacement powder in health food shops (which will enable you to try your favourite recipes).

Whatever cake you’d like to make, the key is experimentation. Swap egg for pureed dates, sugar for molasses, and butter for vegan margarine. You’ll soon pick up tricks and learn how to turn a cake into a dairy free zone.

Using Fruit Purees

Mashed or pureed fruit (banana, apple, date, apricot, or prune) is a common substitute for egg. It provides moisture and flavour too. Try a fruit and nut loaf with pureed apple instead of egg.

Apple and Nut Loaf


  • 110g (4oz) margarine or vegan margarine
  • Pinch salt
  • 175g (6oz) muscovado sugar
  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 2 small cooking apples (peeled and chopped)
  • 110g (4oz) pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts (chopped)
  • 75g (3oz) stoned dates (chopped)
  • 3tbsp soy milk or apple juice


  • Put one of the apples into a saucepan with a splash of lemon juice, and soften over a low heat until you can mash it to a puree.
  • Tip this into a large mixing bowl or food processor, then add the margarine, salt, sugar, flour, baking powder and milk or apple juice.
  • Beat thoroughly to achieve a thick cake batter, then fold in the chopped apple, dates and nuts. Pour into a greased and lined 7” loaf tin and bake at 180ºC (160ºC Fan Oven / 350 F / Gas Mark 4) for up to an hour (when a skewer should come out clean).

Using Oil & Soy Yoghurt

Other vegan or non dairy recipes replace the butter and eggs with sunflower oil and soy yoghurt, which will usually create a moist, rich cake. It’s easy to make a vegan version of sour cream by blending 4tbsp soy yoghurt with 2tbsp soy cream and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Try this egg free version of our favourite Chocolate cake.

Egg Free Chocolate Cake

  • 225g (8oz) self raising flour (sieved)
  • 3tbsp good quality cocoa
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 200ml (7fl oz) soy yoghurt or vegan sour cream (see above)
  • 150ml (5fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 3tbsp golden syrup


  • Preheat the oven to 150ºC (130ºC Fan Oven / 300 F / Gas Mark 2) and put the tin of syrup in to warm up for 5 minutes.
  • Remove and pour 3tbsp into a jug; whisk in the oil, soy yoghurt and caster sugar.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder over the wet ingredients and fold together with a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 8” tin and bake for about an hour.

Using Syrup & Molasses

Sticky, rich and sweet, syrup, treacle or molasses are sometimes used to make up for the lack of egg in a recipe. It’s usually better to use treacle (a mix of refined and unrefined syrups) or molasses (unrefined sugar) as they’re higher in iron and vitamins. A little extra baking powder makes up for the heaviness of syrup, but don’t use too much – it will make the cake taste peculiar!

Gingerbread Cake

  • 2tbsp treacle
  • 110g (4oz) margarine or vegan margarine
  • 110g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 250g (9oz) self raising flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon


  • Warm the treacle, margarine and sugar in a saucepan until melted together.
  • Tip into a mixing bowl and sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
  • Fold together using a spatula and pour into a buttered loaf tin.
  • Bake at 160ºC (140ºC Fan Oven / 320 F / Gas Mark 3) for about an hour.

Keep Experimenting…

Just because you or your guests aren’t eating dairy ingredients doesn’t mean you can’t bring out a fantastic cake. Get your culinary imagination started with a flick through recipe books by Rose Eliot, Rachel Demuth and Barbara Cousins. Don’t be afraid to experiment – that’s how all the best cakes come about!

3 Responses to “Egg Free and Non Dairy Cakes”

  1. alli says:

    I have been asked to quote for a wedding cake…the only trouble is…its an Indian wedding and all tiers have to be egg free…they have categorically stated that it must not be dry otherwise I will get many complaints…I have two choices..I could say no, forget it, now or I could have a go and risk my good business name….I have done an egg free chocolate cake for an Indian man, found that although I didn’t overcook it, it was quite crispy but once decorated as a gateau, they adored it! The wedding cake would be plain and not chocolate. Help please?

  2. CakeBaker says:

    @ Alli – You could try using tofu blended with some veg oil (subst for part of liquid in your recipe) or using vegan replacement egg powder instead of eggs in a normal cake recipe. Or as in our choc recipe use soy yoghurt etc, and replace chocolate flavou

  3. DecorousCakes says:

    Hi, I’ve had a similar dilema and found a solution; make your egg-free cake and then once it is cool, not cold, pierce it with a slim skewer and drizzle diluted syrup all over it, not too runny, decorate as usual. This will ensure your cake is moist and what’s more adds an extra day or two to the ‘shelf-life’. Hope this helps; I like to know how it turns out for you :)

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