Baking sweet, delicious treats can be a daunting task when you have to do it without certain ingredients. Maybe you have never baked an eggless dessert before, or maybe you’re a Suzy Homemaker. Either way, I have some basic guidelines to help you get great results every time you want to bake egg-free nibbles.
Read the Recipe Before You Start!
Sounds pretty obvious, right? It’s actually not uncommon for people to rush through the recipe and miss parts of it. Don’t worry, I’m guilty of this too! Sometimes when I am in a rush, I don’t take the time to read the recipe – when you rush through a recipe like this, what happens? Do you usually end up with disappointing results? Have you ever left out an ingredient or gotten halfway through to find out you were missing something essential? Please, don’t waste your time, effort, and money by hurrying through a recipe and skipping a step (or more).
Strictly Follow the Recipe
It can be tempting to substitute the ingredients in a recipe based on what you have at home, but the results? Often a disaster on a plate. I do not recommend doing this unless the recipe suggests suitable alternatives.
Measure Ingredients Correctly
There is no doubt about it: If you want to bake like a pro, you need to use a kitchen scale.
Baking is not very forgiving, and with no eggs, binding can get messed up if the ingredient ratio is not perfect. To put it plainly, the difference between successful and failed eggless baking can lie in adding a little too much or too little of any one ingredient.
Most American kitchens are equipped to measure ingredients by volume with measuring cups and measuring spoons, but I highly recommend using a kitchen scale. A scale is not a big investment, but it will fundamentally change your baking results.
Use Ingredients at Room Temperature
This simple baking tip is often overlooked. Bakers take it lightly and pour ingredients right out of their refrigerators. Well, if you want a better texture and light, puffy bites, quit it! The results will pleasantly surprise you.
There are scientific reasons behind this advice: When butter or milk are at room temperature, they emulsify to capture air. Then the trapped air bubbles grow with the heat in the oven, achieving a bakery-worthy, fluffy texture in your cakes and cupcakes.
When I call for “softened” butter, it means the stick of butter will easily bend without breaking and will give slightly when pressed. To soften butter, let the refrigerated butter sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes; cut the butter into pieces to speed up the process. If you are short on time, you can place the cold butter in a resealable plastic bag and pound it with a rolling pin until it reaches the desired temperature (65 to 67ºF / 18 to 20ºC).
Don’t Overbeat the Batter!
What happens when you overmix the batter, particularly when it is eggless?
Overbeating gives your cake and cupcakes a tough texture because all the air gets deflated. By overmixing the batter, you are also overdeveloping the gluten.
Mix just until you’ve evenly distributed the ingredients throughout the batter. Use a plastic spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, and don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl for any pockets of flour or other ingredients.
Don’t Open the Oven Until the Baked Good Has Set
It can be super tempting to open the oven every few minutes to check on your cake. For the sake of baking a perfectly puffy cake, don’t—at least not during the first two-thirds of the total baking time.
Each time you open the oven door, you let out some heat, causing the temperature inside to drop. This will also lead the rising cake to sink because the cake’s interior will not get time to rise and set properly.
So, what’s the takeaway idea?
- Leave the oven closed until the minimum time is stated in the recipe.
- If you have to check on your cake before it’s ready, do so by pulling the rack out instead of removing the whole cake from the oven.
Know Your Oven
Every oven is different! Unless you have a new or regularly calibrated oven, its temperature is likely inaccurate. Because of this, your baking time can vary, and an inaccurate oven can ruin your baked goods if you don’t adjust accordingly.
Here are some tips to help avoid oven-temp issues:
- Preheat the oven for at least 15 minutes before you get started to give it plenty of time to reach the ideal recipe temperature.
- Place an oven thermometer in your oven so you can read the inside temperature in real-time.