Why and how to make cakes without egg
The Good, the Bad and the Eggless
What poor dingbats have to leave the eggs out of their cakes? People with allergies and food intolerance? Vegans who just get pleasure out of making life difficult for themselves?
No one would dream of leaving eggs out of baking if they could help it. That would be silly. There are clear categories in life and you have to stick to them. It's perfectly simple. There's the good, the bad and the eggless.
That's the traditional cake. You know where you are with that one. It tastes how a cake should taste, looks as a cake should look. It does things by the rules, won't let you down. All the same, can it really be trusted?
Those are the ones that look nice, lure you with their glossy icing and promise to pick you up from your low mood. But they've got a shady past, growing up on a package line, pumped up with preservatives and other chemicals from early on in life. They need them - life for them is hard and long. Unnaturally long. But don't blame them, they just do their job - get the money and fill you full of hydrogenated fats.
They don't follow the rules at all. They don't look how a cake should look, they're shorter, sometimes downright flat; they're the grimace amongst the baking world's smiles. Ugly? Perhaps. Ridiculous looking? That too. But inside them lies a heart of squidge and goodness. They're misfits but Is it possible that they're not all that bad? They certainly won't offer you a quick flavour fix but in the long run they could turn out to be the real ally.
Egg free carrot cake
Now, if you'd like to know my reasons for taking the eggless baking path then read on. If not, skip down to find a recipe.
Let me first of all say that if anyone likes munching on a great big slice of fudge cake with a nice cup of tea, that person is me. But you know, traditional cake versus eggless cake is like lust versus true love. With the former you may get a fleeting moment of pleasure only to feel lower than ever afterwards. And funnily enough, gaining weight isn't the problem. But spiritual well being is.
According to Yogic Philosophy, food doesn't just effect our moods but our whole outlook on life, the way we react to situations, how calm or tense we are. In short, anger, negativity, depression etc originate from our own diet.
So, you are what you eat - that's no new concept. A simple remedy for that is to follow a balanced diet, surely? But that's just it. The so-called 'correct' diet might be just the thing that is hacking away at our mental and spiritual wellbeing. And in the end, that has a big effect on our physical wellbeing.
So, what's this got to do with cakes? Well, I'll get to the point - it's because eggs are tamasic and consequently so are most cakes and biscuits.
Tamasic, roughly speaking, is a negative energy that is in certain food - these foods give no benefit to neither mind nor body and eggs are on that black list. And not only eggs. Meat, fish and alcohol are a few of the foods you might expect to find on the list; onions, garlic, mushrooms and red lentils are amongst those you might not expect to Tamasic. However, if you're practising Yoga seriously you should be familiar with all of the above.
I realise that this will sound far fetched to anyone unfamiliar with Easter spiritualism but anyone subject to panic attacks and anxiety will see the benefits first hand - they will certainly notice that tamasic food does nothing to help them. In fact, if one tries following the sattvic way of eating (the food kinds which produce positive energy) panic attacks, anxiety and depression are likely to subside. And not only that, a calmer mind tends to follow. However, it's also important that one's mental energy is channelised into worthwhile pursuits - this may be practising Yoga (by Yoga it is meant postures, meditation and spiritual practices), engaging oneself in work that will benefit one's community around or any pursuit one feels is uplifting.
Of course, for those of you who aren't fully fledged Yogis the benefits are limited but still, it's a bigstep in the right direction.
Right, now, if that was all too way-out for you here are some of my simple, mundane reasons for making cakes without eggs. Nothing too revolutionary here:
- practicality - you know when you just feel like a nice home made cake and there are no eggs in? And it's a Sunday. And besides, your conscience tells you that even if you do buy free range eggs the hens are still being mistreated. Unfortunately, in commercial farming today, it is a reality.
- squidge heaven - there are many alternatives to eggs http://www.pioneerthinking.com/eggsub.html, I use a mashed banana and the result is a flat, really moist cake, the texture of an enormous brownie. My carrot cake (see recipe below) is squidge-tastic and so light you can polish off the whole cake in one sitting. Of course, I don't always have bananas in either and in which case I put cake making aside for that day and go for making biscuits instead. (They don't need any egg replacement but one thing I do always have in is olive oil, which makes pretty tasty biccies );
- wholesome - you find if you don't use egg you don't need as much sugar to counteract it and the cake's natural sweetness comes out. Not that I think sugar is unhealthy (although white sugar and sugar substitutes make me highly suspicious) but it's just nice to taste the ingredients in a cake without stifling them with sugar.
By the way, it would be plain madness to eat a homemade natural cake after munching on a chocolate bar or packaged cake - you wouldn't taste it all. And that's what I mean - in a certain sense the packaged stuff dull your senses, leaving you at their beck and call, craving more. They're high maintenance mistresses as well - they need sugar and icing to keep them alluring whereas the real thing can stand on its own feet with simple ingredients. Natural cakes can't lure you with their shiny wrappers, they won't make your senses reel but they look after your heart and won't leave you feeling sick after overindulgence.
Egg free scones
Now, if you're interested in a recipe for egg free carrot cake - I can help you there, but bear with me because the recipe has undergone a metamorphosis over the years and I've given up measuring the ingredients. Try this:
- grated carrots 200 or even 300g or more (depends if you like it carroty - the more carrots the less sugar),
- mashed bananas (two,three, four - the more you put in, the squidgier it is),
- chopped walnuts (if you don't have any it doesn't matter),
- olive oil ( in the original egg recipe it was 175 fluid ml - I reduced it to 80 but sometimes even that much makes the cake too oily and so I do it by sight. I'll explain further down),
- flour (wholemeal is a good option but you can use normal. I've stopped putting in raising agent but you can do if you prefer),
- brown sugar (you can use white of course but bear in mind my friend's grandfather used to call it the 'white death'). Ah yes, quantity - well, the original recipe told me 175 g but that's way too much and besides the original recipe demanded three eggs be put in. I do the sugar by sight as well, will explain below)
Starting - so take one of the mashed bananas (this would have been where the eggs made their entrance) and beat it with the sugar (in a bowl, needless to say). Here, you have to put in an amount of sugar that won't make that solitary banana too sweet so it'll be something like, three or four tablespoons. Of course, at the starting point you could use more than one banana for a bigger cake and in this case you need a bit more sugar.
Other ingredients - once you've beaten the above together you should get a browny goo (not dissimilar to how egg and sugar looks). Now you have to bung in the carrots (the more, the merrier), the rest of the mashed bananas, chopped walnuts if you're using them and lastly enough olive oil (you can use sunflower oil if you like) to cover the whole lot nicely. When I say nicely, I mean the oil level shouldn't be seeping above the mixture but rather all ingredients should be nicely coated in oil, perhaps even oozing a little but not swimming in oil.
Flour - once you've mixed all the above around add some flour (sift it first to let some air in). I go by sight - usually two or three generous sievefuls or large handfuls but whatever let the mixture remain quite sloppy. If the cake mix is stiff when you pour it into the cake tin it will mean the cake will come out firmer and perhaps a bit drier. Still tasty though.
Happy ending - grease a cake tin (if you need to) and stick it in the oven at 180 degrees. One hour later, perhaps five or ten minutes more for luck and it's ready.
If you've used a lot of carrots it'll come out deep orange and really quite apt for Halloween. If you did want it as a Halloween cake you could decorate it accordingly (if you want to use chopped walnuts to decorate it, do it before you put the cake in the oven).
Anyone interested in further information on tamasic food can see: