vegan doughnuts covered in sugar in a paper bag

Baking can be challenging if you are a vegan. No dairy and no egg - two major ingredients when it comes to baking sweet stuff. But fear not - I have a few simple solutions for you that are pretty much foolproof.

The dairy part of the equation is pretty simple. You can try substituting butter with olive oil or coconut oil, often with fairly satisfying results. You will likely end up with a slightly denser cake, but I am quite partial to these anyway.

Dairy-free margarine also works in many bakes. Try these Mini vegan doughnuts, for example.

Replacing eggs in a recipe though can be a little trickier. I am yet to find a replacement for egg white that will create a pavlova or meringue. However, there are several egg alternatives that are quite ingenious. My latest discovery is chia seeds, which actually create an egg white-like consistency when they are combined with a liquid. However, they do however absorb moisture during cooking so you may need to increase the liquid in a recipe to compensate for this.

Baking is a science and a lot of it is a matter of trial and error, but when it comes to finding out what does and doesn’t work, lets just say I can tell you quite a bit about the latter. Egg replacement options usually work in recipes that require up to 3 eggs – anything over that and you will end up with a bit of a sloppy mess. Eggs work to bind baked foods that also give rise to the product – the rise isn’t vital but the bind is.

So, here are a few options for you if you are looking to use eggs to bind your cookies, cakes or pastry:

Mashed banana
This is one of my favourites as I always seem to have a ripe banana stashed in my freezer and they only take an hour or so to defrost. Simply mash 1/2 a medium sized banana and use that in place of one egg.

Chia seeds
These are a little more fancy, but I think they do a really great job. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and allow to stand until they are the same type of consistency as egg white.

Pureed fruit
Apple sauce is probably the simplest one to use as it can be found in the supermarket but feel free to use whatever you have available to you, pureed berries are really yummy as well. One egg is equal to 1/4 cup of pureed fruit.

You need to grind these then mix them with 3 tablespoons of water, they work in a similar way to the chia seeds.

If you are wanting to use egg to leaven you baked goodies then you can mix one tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil with 2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon baking powder.

vegan baking

A cup of this and a cup of that cake

I love this cake as it is so quick and easy to make. You can substitute the banana for apple puree and the chocolate chips for your favourite nuts. Also, I use coconut sugar but you could easily use brown sugar.

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup gluten free self raising flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 large ripe)
  • 1 cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4). Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Put the coconut, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips and coconut sugar into a bowl. Stir in the mashed banana and almond mix and mix to combine.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.

Serves 6 -8

Peanut butter cookies

  • 125g  (4oz) coconut oil
  • 125g (4oz) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125g/4oz) peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water, stand for 10 minutes
  • 1 3/4 cup gluten free plain flour or 1 cup buckwheat flour & 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 50g/1 3/4 oz) raw peanuts or almonds

Preheat oven to 180 C (350F/Gas 6).

Beat the coconut oil and brown sugar and light and creamy. Add the peanut butter, vanilla and chia seed mixture beat until smooth.

Fold in the flour and peanuts. Spoon tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared trays, bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 12

About the author

Jody Vassallo

Jody Vassallo is an award-winning recipe writer and food stylist who has spent the last 20 years writing recipes that inspire people to eat well. She has authored cookbooks for people with diabetes, celiac disease and a range of allergies and food intolerances. Jody has studied both Ayurvedic medicine and Macrobiotic cooking and weaves the wisdom of these traditions through her recipes and stories. For more about Jody go to her website,

Jody Vassallo