Or is it? Egg is one of the 14 European Union listed food allergens which have to be identified in any food products. The Food Standards Agency provides information about what to expect in relation to these products for businesses and the public. A useful FSA link with information about this is provided here.
I discussed the increase of veganism in my last blog and eggs would be another food item not eaten by people with this lifestyle, whether or not they are allergic to them. Researching information for this blog has brought me face to face with reasons why they might make this choice. If you are interested and have a strong stomach then read this article by the Vegan Society. Advance notice it is not an easy thing to read about but thought provoking.
Egg use in cake baking
However, whilst being aware of issues related to egg use my focus here is on the use of egg in baking.
Of all the food allergens that I needed to remove from our kits I found egg to be the most challenging. They have an incredible amount of important attributes for baking and can be used whole, yolks or whites alone. For example the whites are used in meringues. Whole eggs are used as a raising agent, to help provide structure, taste and colour in sponges. Egg yolks are used by themselves in custards and desserts such as Creme Brulee. To help explain more I’ve attached an excellent article I found by Jenni Fields of Pastry Chef Online.
bakeit freefrom egg explorations…
So, what to use to replace egg? I needed to find something that could be posted as well as help make the cake as ‘normal’ as possible. My first attempts used egg replacement powders. These are readily available, just google that term. But to me the end product tasted nasty, nothing I wanted to be giving to my customers.
My second attempt focused on using fruit puree. But how to source this in a way that could be posted? Lots of checking out supermarkets for apple sauce that was not in glass jars, impossible to find. I then had the concept of using prunes, which come in small tins. Actually these worked very well in our chocolate cakes. The prunes are drained, keeping the liquid, and the stones removed and passed though a sieve. I used the puree with as much of the liquid as necessary to make the cake batter of the right texture. I love prunes and they gave a rich taste to the cake, worth a try if you like them too.
Having proved that puree as a replacement worked, it was back to supermarkets for more inspiration. I found it… baby food! In particular HiPP Apple and Pear puree which comes in plastic pots of the perfect amount for my kits. I chose their simplest variety because it is less likely to cause any fruit related allergic reactions.
And this is where I have stayed. Using the puree makes our cakes moist and slightly denser than those which use egg. But they are delicious and enjoyed by everyone who tries them, with or without food allergies, vegan or not. Check our our Luxury Chocolate Ganache Sandwich kit, perfect for dessert or a special afternoon tea.
Ok, to my recipe for this blog. Another choice of egg replacer is flax, made into what are called ‘flax eggs’. This recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake by Cucina Nicolina uses these and sounds delicious.
I’m rather jealous because my attempts to develop a lemon drizzle cake have failed thus far.
Well there is a lot in here, but I have covered egg in a single blog! My next one will be about gluten, wonder if I can do that in one. Suspect not but oh how I love a challenge!
Wishing you happy times until then. Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more about our cake kits or anything that I have talked about here.