A few weeks ago I had a real challenge on my hand, as I needed to come up with a recipe that got rid of the egg element of a cupcake. Easier said then done! I spend days researching different recipes, not quite understanding why you would choose to use vinegar, or why you would want to use an excessive amount of baking powder! (Well, in my opinion anyway!)
The first recipe I tried came courtesy of BBC Food Recipes, a well know place I usually go to when trying something new. I had high hopes for this easy egg-free sponge cake recipe. It all looked brilliant in the bowl. I was amazed that the texture still looked very similar to that of a normal batch of cupcakes, and even the taste was almost the same! Perhaps the mix may have been slightly thicker than usual, but even so, I felt confident popping them into the oven. It was only as they started to bake that I started to worry. The cupcakes themselves weren’t forming right, there was no almost melt to level out and then a steady rise. They just stayed the same shape, almost like a muffin would, and that’s exactly how they turned out. Well, the look of a muffin combined with the texture of a scone – very strange indeed, but not inedible.
As you can see, even from the texture of the sponge it didn’t look horrendous, it was just simply the taste. There was definitely something not quite right about the batch, but it was a great learning experience. I love experimenting and trying something new, and this certainly didn’t come without it’s challenges.
When making another batch, I thought about going completely down the dairy free route – no milk, no butter and no eggs. It was an interesting attempt and I was quite surprised with the results. The cake mix was almost like a batter, the best way to describe it is almost like shop bought cake mix. The batter was very runny, the complete opposite of my normal batch of cupcakes. I was too scared to give it a taste, but the vanilla extract gave it a familiar smell which did remind me of the good old cake mix I’ve grown to love.
Into the oven they went on 175C and 10 minutes later we had these ..
They were extremely light in colour and even lighter in texture. I was actually quite pleased with how they turned out, although on my next attempt they will certainly be going into the oven for an extra couple of minutes. Although the needle came out clean, a sign that the cakes are done, the sponge did stick quite considerably to the case, and so I think for that it needs just those few extra minutes, and to possibly help them brown off slightly on top.
You have to be so careful with cupcakes, a) not to overcook them, and b) not to under cook them. It can sometimes be a hard balance to get them right, something that has taken me years to perfect.
The recipe I used for this contained no unusual ingredients except the added tablespoons of oil and water, which would explain the runny cake mix. Taking out the butter, eggs and milk, the other ingredients followed similar measurements, and a quick mix together to combine meant the almost batter like mixture was ready to pop in the oven in a matter of minutes!
It was a very interesting experiment and I will definitely be trying to perfect this recipe in the future, to be able to add dairy free to the list of things I can bake would be a great achievement. I really was so surprised at how light the cakes were in texture, you almost thought the frosting might be too heavy for the cakes themselves! But they turned out well, and I was pleased with the end results.
Luckily fo me though, I now only need to make 20 instead of the original 100, and get to instead make 80 of my tried and tested original cupcakes. This makes me very happy, and hopefully there will be a few left over for me to have for myself as well! Did I mention I love a good cupcake!
Have you ever tried to make a dairy free cake?
How did you find the experience?
Do you have a recipe you can share that really worked for you?