How To Substitute Ingredients For Vegan Baking (Vegan Cupcakes Recipe)

by Zara Mohammed, Lifestyle Columnist

Published in Lifestyle on 25th April, 2019

It's easy to bake without using eggs, butter and other dairy products when you know what substitutes to use. Keep reading to learn some basic vegan baking tips and discover some delicious vegan bakery recipes to try at home.

What Is Vegan Baking?

Vegan treats are really popular among vegans because they are so yummy, and so easy to make! You might think that baking cakes, biscuits and bread isn't possible without using animal products like eggs, butter and milk, but you might be surprised at the alternatives.

vegan bakery

Vegan baking is great not only for vegans but also anyone who suffers from dairy intolerance or allergies to ingredients like eggs, or just for those annoying times when you have run out of a typical baking ingredient, but might well have something else in the cupboard to use instead.

Vegan Substitute Ingredients In Baking

One thing to be aware of is that while there are plenty of alternative vegan ingredients to animal-based products, the results will taste different, and certain ingredients may not work for everything.

For example, if you are making banana bread it makes sense that the perfect sticky egg replacer could be bananas, but this doesn't necessarily mean that bananas would work as well as an egg replacer in another vegan recipe, such as a birthday cake.

It is important to bear this in mind when considering which ingredients to use for your recipes. So let's look at some common vegan substitute ingredients for baking.

Vegan Substitutes for Milk in Baking

Milk is an essential when it comes to baking, but no vegan wants to put ordinary cows milk into recipes. But which vegan alternatives would work best?

Here are some easy to find vegan ingredients that could work well if you substitute them for milk in equal quantities:

  • Unsweetened Soy milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Milk

When choosing from these three ingredients you should go for the one that makes the most sense for your recipe. Pick one that compliments the other flavours in what you are making. For example almond milk goes great with any nutty-based recipes, and coconut milk would work nicely if you are making something more tropical.

Tip: To make vegan buttermilk simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of your chosen non-dairy milk.

Vegan Substitutes For Butter In Baking

Here are some tasty ideas for vegan butter alternatives for your vegan baking:

olive oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil

If you are making something like a pie-crust or you need to re-create frosting it might be better to opt for a vegan margarine from your supermarket, and double check the label to ensure there are no hydrogenated oils included.

Vegan Substitutes For Eggs In Baking

Eggs are a protein, which help to form a structure in your baking, and they can affect the texture of the finished products. Here are some vegan friendly ideas to replace the eggs in your recipes.

  • Flaxseed - Replace one egg by mixing one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water, and let it sit for ten minutes.
  • Apple Sauce - Replace one egg with a quarter cup of applesauce.
  • Banana - Mash half of a medium sized banana to substitute for one egg.
  • Aquafaba - Did you know that the liquid in your canned chickpeas actually make a pretty awesome stand in for egg whites in vegan baking? You can whip it up to create volume just like you can with egg whites.

How To Bake Vegan Chocolate Brownies

Brownies are a classic yummy treat to bake a batch of to enjoy throughout the week. Here is how you can make a delicious vegan version to share with your friends, family and work colleagues.

vegan brownies


  • 5 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 200 g dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 170 g self-raising flour
  • 3 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 180 g golden caster sugar
  • Sea salt
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 230 ml unsweetened organic soya milk
  • 200 g pecan nuts


  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  • Grease a square baking tray (apx. 20 cms) with some oil and then line with greaseproof paper.
  • Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, but not touching the water and melt 150g of the chocolate in it and set aside to cool
  • Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into another large bowl.
  • Stir in the sugar and add a pinch of salt.
  • Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pods and add them to the bowl.
  • Stir in the oil, soya milk and melted chocolate.
  • Chop up the remaining chocolate and pecan nuts and stir them into the mixture, reserving just a few for the top.
  • Pour your mixture evenly into the baking tray and sprinkle over the remaining pecans.
  • Oven cook for 20-25 minutes. The outside should be cook while the inside remains gooey.

How To Bake Banana & Peanut Butter Vegan Cupcakes

These are a yummy and light treat to enjoy after your meal or with a cup of tea!

banana peanut butter cupcakes


  • 240g Self-raising Flour
  • F140g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • N240g Egg-free Mayonnaise
  • 2 or 3 Small Ripe Bananas - Mashed
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 25g Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips

(For The Icing)

  • 80g Vegan Margarine
  • 250g Icing Sugar
  • 25ml Almond Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Smooth Peanut Butter


  • Preheat Oven to 170 degrees, and line muffin tins with 16 cases.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, half a teaspoon of salt and the bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
  • Take another bowl or a jug and mix the mayonnaise, mashed bananas and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and combine - but don't mix too much or you won't have nice light fluffy cupcakes!
  • Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips over the cupcakes once they come out of the oven and allow the chocolate to melt on the cakes. Don't touch until the chocolate has hardened again.
  • Mix the vegan margarine and icing sugar in a blender and then add the vegan milk mixing on a slow speed until fully combined. The turn the speed up and mix for a further three minutes.
  • Finally, stir in the peanut butter and spread or pip onto the tops of your cupcakes
  • Store in the fridge and eat within two days.

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