I’d argue that this has to be the best eggless vanilla sponge recipe around, it’s also very easily veganised. It’s soft, fluffy and very light.
My family and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth if I’m honest. I guess being one of 3 dentists may have been a factor! But every birthday has been graced with this cake, without fail.
I developed this recipe over a period of time, making subtle changes in each batch until it was perfect. It was developed to be eggless and I wanted it to be easily veganised. This process probably took me the course of an entire year, largely because I didn’t bake often.
How it works:
One of the eyebrow-raising ingredients here are the ground flax seeds, or sometimes known as linseeds. I tend to buy the golden variety and I usually purchase mine pre-ground as it saves the hassle of grinding these. It comes as a fine powder which forms this gelatinous egg-like substance when re-constituted with water. This process can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and I use the ratio of 1tbsp ground flax to 2tbsp cold water.
They help to bind baked goods by forming polysachharide chains which disperse during baking to form a network. These chains also trap moisture which helps to prevent dry baked goods, they even prevent gluten networks forming so you end up with more tender crumb structures. BUT, they are not an exact replacement for eggs, and an egg based recipe that calls for 4 eggs will not work by simply substituting 4 flax eggs, and vice versa – it doesn’t work as they are not the same ingredient and behave completely differently.
Eggs on the other hand are protein based and the protein strands form a network when exposed to heat, allowing for a stronger binding element. They help to build structure which is something that flax eggs can’t do (as it is starch based). Eggs can trap air between the protein network which is why they foam up and form airy meringues, which flax eggs again can’t do. For a vegan meringue, you would need to use an agent like aquafaba which does behave similarly to egg whites.
When it comes to replacing eggs in a recipe, in most cases you can’t simply rely on one sole egg-replacer but I’ve done all the thinking and testing for you here to make sure you guys end up with a perfect eggless vanilla sponge cake.
But Rish, could I just substitute eggs for this vanilla sponge instead of using flax eggs?
The short answer is no, I don’t think so. I don’t bake with eggs so I can’t give you a direct yes or no answer but my hunch is no. If anyone does try, please let me know how it goes.
But if flax is not available or accessible, then leave it out. The recipe still works without flax, but there will be a couple of differences. Firstly, you run the risk of a slightly drier result as the flax traps in moisture. Secondly, the cake will be slightly crumbly as it’s lacking the additional binding. Just trust the process and you will have an incredible eggless vanilla sponge.
Can I turn the vanilla sponge into a layered cake?
Yes, absolutely. With this recipe you can make:
1) 18 cupcakes – 17-20 mins bake time
2) 2x 7″ layers – 40 mins bake time
3) 1×8″ layer (thick layer) – 45-50mins bake time
4) 1×10″ layer (thin) – 40mins bake time
Can I substitute plain flour instead of self raising flour?
You can, it won’t give the exact same result but it will be close. In all my testing, self raising flour always provided the lightest texture. To substitute plain flour, you will want to use around 277g of plain flour and 8g of baking powder (around 2 tsp), you will then still need to add the additional 1tsp baking powder in the recipe. In turn, making it a total of 3 tsps of baking powder. To note, baking powder is different from baking soda, they are not interchangeable.
Eggless Vanilla Sponge and Vanilla Buttercream
- 285 g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 170 g sugar
- 150 ml oil
- 250 ml milk/plant milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp GROUND flaxseeds (not whole seeds)
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 100 g softened unsalted butter
- 100 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Method: (18 cupcakes or an 8″ round cake)
- Preheat your oven to 160’C fan or 180’C conventional
- Mix your ground flax with the water and allow to sit for 5 minutes to thicken
- Mix your oil, sugar and vanilla together, either with a whisk or a paddle attachment on a mixer
- In a separate bowl, mix your flour, salt and baking powder
- Add your flax mix to your oil and sugar mix once flax has thickened and continue to whisk
- Add half your milk, and whisk
- Sieve in half of your flour mix, and fold the batter
- Add your remaining milk, followed by the remaining flour, and continue to fold until all incorporated
- Bake cupcakes for 17-20 mins
- Check that a tooth pick comes our clean, if not continue to bake for an additional 2 minutes.
- Mix your buttercream ingredients together and pop in the fridge for 15 minutes! Decorate once the cake has fully cooled.