I have read that one important role of eggs in cakes is to add proteins that denature with heat and then link together giving the cake structure. Given that proteins are so varied and abundant in nature, I was wondering whether there are vegan sources of protein that can perform the same function. Has anyone experimented systematically with this?

EDIT: This is distinct from the question of whether there are vegan egg substitutes that can be used in cakes. Since eggs do multiple things to cakes and since these roles are emphasized more or less depending on the cake, there is not going to be a single answer to "what is a good egg substitute for cakes?". I asked this question to try to learn specifically about whether there are ways to mimic the protein network that eggs create in cakes using vegan proteins.

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    You don't need eggs at all for cake. You can build structure in other ways, ranging from creamed butter to soda water Commented May 5, 2017 at 23:17
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    @Journeyman Geek. I'm curious to know more about this answer. Could you give a more detailed explanation or provide a link?
    – Ari Herman
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 1:36
  • Flax seeds contain protein and are an excellent substitute for eggs (in consistency too) for baking. 1 TBS ground flax mixed with 3T water = 1 egg. Let it soak for a bit and it will form a gel.
    – walbuc
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 14:02
  • The pastry chef at Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge, MA, actually chemically analyzed eggs in order to develop vegan bakery recipes such as meringue. This was probably about 5 years ago before they opened. Unfortunately I don't believe the results of her work are openly available. Given the success of the bakery, I would say that the answer is most likely yes.
    – lemontwist
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 10:21

3 Answers 3


Legume flours (eg soy, chickpea, lentil flour) match that role well - they are used in traditional (eg indian) eggless recipes as texture-enhancing binders, or even on their own - pakora and cheela batters are made with a lot of chickpea flour for that purpose.


Most of the protein structure in cake is due to gluten, from the wheat flour.

A cake is ideally more tender than bread (which is well-kneaded to develop strong gluten networks), but even low-protein cake flour will form some structure from its gluten.

One time-tested eggless version is "wacky cake", which uses vinegar for leavening and is therefore relying entirely on flour for its structure. (It works surprisingly well -- in some cases better than recipes I've tried that do use eggs.)

I am speculating, although I have not tested it or found a reference, that using an all-purpose flour or even bread flour would make a more successful eggless cake than cake flour would.

The Science of Cake (on The Guardian blog) has some more detail about the role different ingredients play in a "traditional" recipe (i.e., one that includes eggs).


You could substitute the egg with apple sauce. I have tried that before and it worked well. They say you should substitute each egg in a cake recipe with 1/3 cup of applesauce. For me this is always trail and error but you could use it as a rule of thumb. But make sure that you strain most of the excess liquid of the apple sauce before you ad it, otherwise you will have too much liquid in your dough.

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    I asked this question to try to learn specifically about whether there are ways to mimic the protein network that eggs create in cakes using vegan proteins Your answer does not address that
    – user34961
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 11:04
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    Applesauce helps to keep moisture available in baked goods, since it is effectively an emulsion (not entirely like yoghurt or milk used in baking) - but it does not form much of a protein network, unless you are talking about pectin effects (which are quite different from what meat or legume proteins do)... Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 21:39

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