There are so many delicious and creative recipes around the internet. Some are good and some less. But how do you make the perfect cake? What do I have to pay attention to when baking cookies? With these helpful tips and tricks for vegan baking plus the ultimative guide for making ahead and storing notes any beginner will quickly become a baking pro!
Over time, I’ve seen, created, modified and rediscovered so many baking recipes that I just always succeed in every recipe. But it wasn’t always that way. This is the result of years of experience, knowledge, missteps, experiments and many hours of baking.
To help you get your next recipe right the first time, here are my top 7 baking tips and tricks. Of course, every kitchen is different, every oven, every stove and even the ingredients are different. That’s why the result can always differ in the end. But if you stick to the following points, then your chances are particularly good that you make the perfect vegan cake, brownies, cookies and Co!
7 Tips & tricks for vegan baking – Here’s what you should know
1. The right temperature
First tip: Whether baking vegan or not, you should always make sure that the ingredients have the same (room) temperature. For example, if the butter comes straight from the fridge and is hard, while the plant milk is lukewarm, you’re making life difficult for yourself. Exception: It is explicitly stated in the recipe that the milk / water / butter etc. should be cold. Note: If the ingredients are at the same temperature, they will react better and combine together more easily.
2. Different types of dough / batter
Familiarize yourself with the different types of dough. We distinguish between cake batter, yeast dough, shortcrust pastry, and puff pastry. Each of these doughs has different properties and characteristics. So you should always know what kind of dough or batter it is before you start baking.
- Cake Batter: cakes, muffins, cupcakes, brownies, blondies, layer cakes, waffles, crepes, pancakes, etc.
- Yeast dough: bread rolls, chocolate buns, breads, pizza, cakes, yeast plaits, croissants, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, etc.
- Shortcrust pasty: cookies, pie crust, tart crust, cheesecake crust.
- Puff pastry: apple turnovers, Danish pastries, filled puff pastries, pizza sticks, and more sweet and savory treats.
3. The ideal kneading / mixing time and intensity.
If you know what kind of dough you’re making, you’ll be able to handle it better. For example, yeast doughs are kneaded for a long time to make them smooth and elastic. Shortcrust pastry or pie dough, on the other hand, is kneaded short because you want it to end up crispy and not chewy. It is soft right after baking but hardens as it cools. So you can keep this in mind when baking cookies or pastries.
Simple cake batter, on the other hand, should only be stirred until the ingredients have just combined. Small lumps are okay. Here, less is more and it is better to stir a little shorter than too long, because the batter can also quickly become tough due to the gluten it contains. That’s why I recommend sifting the dry ingredients first, then mixing by hand with a whisk or spatula and not with an electric hand mixer. That way the cake will be nice and fluffy at the end.
For more tipps and information on making fluffy vegan cakes you can also read the blog post about vegan egg replacer.
4. Chilling shortbread pastry
For vegan shortbread recipes, you should chill the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour before processing, so that the butter becomes harder again, resulting in a less sticky dough. Of course, the cooling time may vary, depending on your fridge (the ideal temperature is around 7 °C). Tip: If your dough has accidentally become too hard, you can simply leave it in the counter for a few minutes until it has softened again.
In general, you can always stick to the fact that it’s warmest on top and in the door. So if you don’t want something to be stored too cold, put it in the top compartment. It is coldest at the bottom and in the vegetable box.
5. Baking time and kitchen equipment
Furthermore, when baking and cooking, you should always keep in mind that every oven and stove is different and can produce different results.
Also the baking time can vary depending on the dough, the amount of filling, the baking pan, the material and the oven. It is important that the oven remains closed during baking. Once the baking time is up, you can open it and check with a chopstick if your cake is done. If the stick comes out clean, it’s ready. Otherwise, bake it a little longer and rest again.
Once done baking, make sure that you give the cake / pastry enough time to cool down slowly. Modern ovens already have an automatic cool down function. For older ovens, I recommend putting a wooden spoon between the door so that the hot air can escape slowly. After a few minutes, you can open the door completely and let the cake cool.
6. The perfect texture – soft or crispy
If you want soft cookies or biscuits, I recommend that you 1. not bake them too long and 2. store them airtight when they haven’t cooled completely. Then they will retain the soft consistency. The longer the cookies cool in the fresh air, the harder they will be.
When making a vegan cheesecake, I always recommend letting it cool and set completely in the fridge before removing from the pan. Otherwise it will be too soft and will collapse.
If you want to soften a hard baked good (e.g. vegan waffles, cakes, muffins, brownies, chocolate brioche buns), simply heat it up briefly in the microwave. Then it becomes super soft and fluffy again. You can also defrost/heat frozen pastries directly in the microwave and they will be super soft and warm. By the way, the oven tends to dry it out. If you want something crispy, like bread, then the oven is better for that.
7. General tips
When baking vegan, it is important to follow a few rules and principles to make it successful. By replacing dairy products and eggs, we just have to be a little more attentive and bake more thoughtfully.
For example, if you want to make vegan layer cakes, it is better to bake the cake layers the day before. That way the cakes have enough time to cool and set. If you cut a vegan cake while it is still warm, everything may fall apart as it always super soft and fluffy when freshly baked. Whether baking vegan or not, always let the cake cool before cutting.
Vegan recipes without eggs often need more power in terms of leavening. However, so that the cake does not taste completely like baking powder, it is best to combine baking powder and baking soda. Since baking soda has twice the leavening power of baking powder, you can replace 2 tsp of baking powder with 1 tsp of baking soda. To better activate the leavening agents, acid like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice is also often added to vegan baking recipes. With this powerful combination vegan cakes rise wonderfully even without eggs!
FAQ for vegan baking
Of course, there are quite a few other points to look out for in vegan baking. Therefore, I have summarized a few in the FAQ. If your question is not answered in this article, feel free to post it in the comments below. I will reply it in a timely manner.
How to store cake?
As good as a homemade cake tastes, usually there is always something left over. So here I have a few tips on how to store sponge cake, cheesecake, yeast dough, pastries and pies. Did you know that you can make cake pops or cake pralines out of leftover cake in no time! Feel free to check out my recipes!
When storing and keeping cakes, the following basic rule applies: creamy cakes like cheesecakes, cakes with cream and / or fruit filling and fruit pies and tarts should be stored in the refrigerator. Dry cakes, loafs, breads, puff pastry and yeast pastries, on the other hand, should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Individual pieces of cake can also be wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, but storage containers are way better for the environment.
How long you can store cakes, pies and other pastries always depends on the type of pastry, the ingredients used and the storage method. Basically, you can keep creamy cakes, puff pastries and yeast pastries for 2-3 days. Sponge cakes, loafs, muffins, brownies, cheesecakes and bread usually keep up to 5 days.
Tip: If your cakes have become dry over time, you can heat them in the microwave for a few seconds and they will become wonderfully moist, soft and fluffy again! Creamy cakes such as cheesecakes, pies or tarts should not be microwaved, however, as the cream will melt.
How to make ahead and freeze
Most cakes and pies can easily be baked 1-2 days in advance and frozen for up to 6 months. To do this, it is best to cut the cake into individual pieces and first wrap them in plastic wrap or separate the individual pieces with parchment paper. Then place all the pieces in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. When needed, simply take out the cake pieces and thaw at room temperature or briefly in the microwave.
Which oil for vegan baking?
If you don’t want to do without the traditional butter flavor in your cake, you should use butter-flavored canola oil (Alba oil). Otherwise, neutral oils such as sunflower oil, canola oil or avocado oil are suitable. Olive oil is also suitable for savory pastries such as pizza or quiche. Coconut oil is also a good oil for baking, but it becomes solid at room temperature (and especially in the refrigerator), so the cake then also becomes firmer. Therefore, I use coconut oil only in loafs and breads like banana bread.
Can you also bake with vegan butter?
Of course! In the meantime there are numerous dairy-free butter alternatives, which are available in many supermarkets. Just like conventional butter, vegan butter also becomes solid when cooled, making it easy to make classic shortbread vegan. Especially when baking vegan cookies, vegan butter must not be missing!
How to make vegan buttermilk?
Vegan buttermilk makes the cake more moist. When making it, make sure you use soy milk, otherwise it usually doesn’t work. Alternatively, you can also use soy yogurt and mix it with milk.
Why does my cheesecake crack after baking?
If your cheesecake cracks after baking, you probably didn’t use even heat. You can check out my New York Cheesecake recipe as a guide. It tells you exactly what to look for when baking vegan cheesecake.
What can I substitute for eggs in baking?
The best way to do this is to read this article. It tells you exactly how you can replace eggs in vegan baking.
What is the best plant milk for baking?
About the different types of plant milk and what for which is best suited, I have written a separate article, which I will publish soon.
I hope these tips and tricks for vegan baking are helpful to you. If your question is not answered in this article, feel free to post it in the comments below. I will then answer them in a timely manner. If you still think of tips or tricks for vegan baking, which I have not mentioned, I would be happy about your addition!
Otherwise, I wish you a lot of fun baking! 🙂
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