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I really enjoy reading your blog. I would be obliged if you could answer my query . I baked a traditional fruit cake this Christmas using the ORGRAN No Egg powder after years of not being able to eat one since adopting veganism. I am happy with the way it turned out. It did rise and was moist even though there was no vegan butter used. But I feel that may be it could rise more and turn out a wee bit more moist, but I guess that was because I am a novice at baking as compared to other cooking methods. I will now try baking more complicated cakes/pastries with the No Egg powder. Being a novice at baking, I do not feel very confident using tofu or other egg substitutes as far as baking goes.

There is no vegan margarine available in Goa. There is a company called Dakini Health Foods that does make cashew, sunflower, almond, peanut butters which are vegan. I have tasted their cashew butter which tastes good, but I was a little skeptical about using it in my cake as it appeared dense as compared to dairy butter. Can I use them after blending in my cakes/pastries?

Kind Regards

Gemini Xettigar

Goa, India.

N.B. Please find the recipe I used for baking my cake here (. Any suggestions for improvement will be welcomed . Would it be better if the vegan butter mentioned above was used instead of olive oil?
Friday, December 30 2011, 09:16 AM
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Accepted Answer

Saturday, December 31 2011, 04:47 PM - #Permalink
0 votes
Hi Gemini!

Fruit cake is normally dense and does not normally rise very much during baking due to the following reasons:

-The large amount of fruit displaces flour and hence gluten which is necessary to trap escaping gas for optimal rising.
-The alcohol slightly interferes with gluten development.
-The large amount of fruit weighs down the dough and prevents gas bubbles from dispersing throughout it.

Fruit cakes are supposed to be moist however. To increase moistness you could either add slightly more water, oil, or decrease the second stage of baking time by 15 minutes or so.

I don't recommend adding nut butters to batters unless you're doing so for flavor development- as in a peanut butter cake for example. If margarine (aka vegan butter) isn't available in your area I recommend making your own vegan butter or using canola or a light flavored olive oil (not extra virgin) as your recipe suggests. If you use oil I recommend adding 1/8 teaspoon of salt for every 1/2 cup of oil.

It also helps to substitute about 10% of the oil with unrefined coconut oil to increase flavor depth. Nowadays I use this method for most of my current vegan recipe development unless I'm making something that uses butter flavors as a primary flavor component like shortbread.

So how do we substitute oil and margarine accurately? Keep in mind that when substituting for margarine we have to take into account that it's usually around 20% water and 80% fat. So substituting a 1/2 cup of canola oil for 1/2 cup margarine will usually result in a slight change in the consistency of your recipe. This can sometimes be ok in some recipes but when designing recipes and "veganizing" traditional recipes I find that it's crucial to keep the fat and water contents as accurate as possible.

For accurately substituting vegetable oil for margarine I usually break down my fats into Tablespoons and do simple rounding to approximate the fat and water content. So to substitute canola oil for 1/2 cup margarine I would note that a 1/2 cup of any liquid equals 8 Tablespoons. Using the 80/20 rule I round out the canola oil being about 6 1/2 Tablespoons and I add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of water to end up with a total of 1/2 cup. I then would add 1/8 teaspoon salt and If I'm really wanting maximum flavor development I'd substitute 1 Tablespoon of canola oil with 1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil as I mentioned above.

Does this make sense? I don't want to confuse you too much but if you really want to bake without margarine and get tasty results, this method has really helped me.

Oh and I like the starch-based egg replacers like the one you mentioned but for the past several years I've been using mostly flax seed egg replacer with great results. I prefer it because it's less processed.

Good luck!
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