There are mainly two categories of people who are keen on making/eating egg free cakes
a. Those who are allergic to eggs
b. Those who refrain from consuming eggs (Vegetarians and Vegans)
Those who have never eaten cakes with eggs, won’t automatically compare cakes with and without eggs and it is easier to come up with a tasty eggless cake recipe to satisfy them.
On the other hand those who have been eating and enjoying cakes containing eggs and have given up consumption of eggs, would look for an eggless cake that has a texture and taste similar to normal cake.
Many substitutes for eggs in cakes have been devised. Yoghurt (dahi), banana and apple sauce are the most well-known egg replacements for cake. In recent years, Chia seeds and Xanthan gum were added to the list. Commercial egg substitutes are not widely available in emerging economies and contain additives that a home baker may wish to avoid.
Let us assume you want to take a favorite cake recipe and devise an eggless version that gives almost identical results. What you will need to contend with is that eggs play a similar but not always identical role in various types of cakes. In a normal butter spongecake like the Pound Cake or Victoria Spongecake, eggs provide moisture and bind the ingredients for a good structure and create lightness. The yokes provide richness from their fat content. Whereas in an Angel Cake or Chiffon Cake, the whipped egg whites create its characteristic feathery lightness.
Each commonly used egg substitute has some properties of eggs. But none of them have all the properties of eggs. This makes it difficult to recommend any one of them as a standard substitute which can work well in every recipe of cake using eggs. It is necessary to understand the function of eggs in the specific cake recipe before mapping how to use an egg substitute in the recipe. Changes in the proportion of ingredients, method, baking temperature and time may be needed to get good results. It may need trial and error to arrive at a dependable recipe. If one is not quite knowledgeable about the basic science behind the role of ingredients and baking technics, it is better to follow a tried and tested eggless cake recipe than to try a substitute in a recipe with eggs.
I have been interested in eggless cakes from the time I started baking regularly as many of my relatives and friends did not consume eggs. I started with recipes collected from friends and magazines as there was no internet back then. I still use some of them. Later, when I started teaching baking /cooking, I started experimenting to develop more recipes for eggless cakes as I had many students requesting them. Though these cakes have been well received and appreciated, I was aware of their limitations in recreating a close match to the original cake recipe.
Recently I’ve been intrigued by an egg replacement that is making waves on the internet Aquafaba. This ingredient has great potential as egg replacement in cakes.Recently I have posted a recipe for Eggless Chocolate Cake that amazingly holds its own against the best of chocolate cakes. Those who tasted this cake agree and those who have always preferred cakes with eggs, could not believe it was eggless.
What is Aquafaba?
Contrary to the fancy name, it is just the liquid in which chickpeas (Kabuli Chana) are cooked. Aquafaba is an almost free, all-natural and healthy egg substitute. It is mostly used as replacement for egg whites, though some recipes use it to replace whole eggs. Most internet recipes use the liquid from canned chick peas. You can also use the liquid from home-cooked chickpeas. Some people have also been experimenting with the liquid from other types of canned or home-cooked beans.
How to make Aquafaba?
For Indians, this should be very easy. Cook the chickpeas (Kabuli Chana) just the same way as you would to prepare North Indian style chana/chole or South Indian Sundal.
Wash and soak chickpeas in water overnight. Drain and place in a pressure cooker. Add enough water to about 2cm above the level of the chickpeas in the pressure cooker. After the first whistle, reduce the heat to sim and cook for 15 minutes. Let the pressure drop gradually. Strain to separate the liquid from chickpeas. When cooled, the liquid should be the consistency of egg whites or thin clear honey. If the liquid is very thin, boil it down for about 5 minutes. The cakes which I have posted here do not need a meringue like egg-whites. So some variation in the consistency of aquafaba does not matter. This liquid can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 8 days.