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There is much more demand nowadays for 'free-from' foods given the rise in awareness of food allergies and intolerances. Dairy-free cakes are relatively simple to tackle with vegan spreads and plant based milks like soya & almond. Gluten-free baking is also fairly accessible with GF flours from companies like Doves Farm and alternatives like ground almonds or oatmeal. Egg-free cakes however, have been somewhat more problematic / less successful - for me at any rate!

There are plenty of egg substitutes out there all claiming to do the job of an egg, but do they? Really? Eggs provide structure, rise, richness, colour and flavour to a cake. What could possibly replace them?

I had an order for a tiered egg-less Victoria sponge cake for a wedding recently (for religious reasons rather than dietary) so decided to have an 'eggsperimental' baking day. I tried seven different egg substitutes and got seven very different results! Some rose, some sank, some were dense, some were crumbly, there was too sweet, too dry, too tasteless, too rubbery... Needless to say, there was a fair bit of wastage along the way but there was a definite winner so bear-with!

I shall list below the egg substitutes used and the resulting bake, in order from worst to best:

Gram Flour: This is a chick pea flour and is supposed to mimic the binding qualities of egg. I would advise you to never ever use this in a cake. It was revolting. It gave the yellowy colour to the batter that you would get from eggs but my goodness, the flavour was something else!

Condensed Milk: There are quite a few recipes advising the use of condensed milk in place of eggs. I wouldn't advise it! The cake was really dense & rubbery and because of the high sugar content in the condensed milk, the outside of the cake went a very dark brown.

Apple Sauce: This tasted fine but didn't bake well. I think the apple sauce was too heavy for the rising agent and it simply sank in the middle. It look very sorry for itself :-(

Soya Milk: Waaaayy too sweet! It looked a perfect bake from the outside but eeww, it was eggscrutiatingly sweet.

Oil & Cornflour: This behaved and tasted more like bread than cake. It had the best rise by far but the texture was very open and bread-like rather than sponge-like. It was also pretty tasteless.

Banana: Now this I would eat again, the only problem was that it tasted like bananas...naturally you might say, but not the flavour wanted in a Victoria sponge.

Golden Syrup: We have a winner people. There was not much of a rise - but it didn't sink! - and the crumb texture was good. It had the best flavour and a decent bake on the outside.

It turns out that Golden Syrup was used as an egg substitute in cakes during the war so despite the advances in culinary techniques, the emergence of different flours and the increase in free-from foods & recipes, it is a WWII recipe that works the best!

Click on the link below to follow the recipe I used. I baked in 2 x 6" tins (rather than 7") and I filled the sponges with fresh cream as well as strawberry jam. Eggscellent!

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