Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Vegetable baking

Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Vegetable baking

We are witnessing a global shift to more plant-based foods as consumers become more aware of the environmental impacts of our food system, are concerned about animal welfare, or are simply interested in the increasing number of plant-based options on supermarket shelves.

While reducing or eliminating meat (and/or eggs and dairy) from our main meals is relatively easy, baking is seen more like a science – and most recipes contain butter, milk and eggs as standard.

While baking requires more precision and recipes can be tricky to tinker with, it’s possible to make cookies, cakes, pastries, and other pastries entirely plant-based.

And there’s no need to frame these formulations as “alternatives” that aren’t ideal, or not as good as those made with more common ingredients.

On The Eyeopener we talked about baking without butter, milk and/or eggs.

Calgary Eye Opener9:09Julie van Rosendaal about baking without eggs

Our food guide Julie van Rosendaal about thinking outside the egg carton.

Here are a few notes on each ingredient:


Here’s the easy part – there are so many non-dairy milks on the market: oats, coconut, cashews… I like yellow pea-based milks, such as Sproud, which has a slightly higher protein content, and the new NextMilk, made by Silk, which is based on oats and coconut and is the closest to the milk I’ve tried in taste and texture.


I use standard canola or other neutral vegetable oils in cakes, muffins and quick breads (like banana bread). Liquid fats work well if you use the quick bread method – combining the wet and dry ingredients separately, then stir them together. When the taste of butter is important (as in chocolate chip cookies), or when you need a more solid fat (when you rub it into pastry or cookie dough) or when you whip it up with sugar to incorporate air into the mixture, plant Butters and Margarines butter-based ones work well, although the tub-style varieties have more moisture and can result in a more cake-like texture. Coconut oil, which is very firm at room temperature, also works well – alone or in combination with another fat – and gives your cookies a crunchy edge. Shortening is plant-based and easy to use in pastry recipes, and is often the fat in frozen puff pastry that is so easy to thaw and use.


While eggs act as a binding agent and help your baked goods rise, there are plenty of options if you can’t or don’t want to use eggs in baking. A flax egg is a common alternative – stir 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 2 1/2-3 tablespoons of water to produce a viscous mixture that can help stabilize and bind batter, just like an egg. Vegan mayonnaise, which is thickened with corn and potato starches, works well in cakes and batters, as does fruit purees (I like pureeing thawed frozen bananas, which are high in pectin and don’t add as strong a banana flavor as your overripe bananas do). fruit bowl) and aqua faba – the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas or kidney beans. (If you don’t plan to use the beans, freeze them for later!) Soda water is a common addition in cakes and quick breads, and JustEgg is a fantastic new product – made in Canada, from mung beans, it’s a yolk yellow liquid that can be used in place of eggs in everything from pastries, pancakes and the like to quiches and scrambled eggs. I have tried all of the above, with astonishing success.

A few more tips that can help in the absence of egg: Try bread flour, which has a higher protein content (more gluten), which gives your baked goods more structure and elasticity, similar to the presence of egg in your dough or batter. You can also leave your muffin, cake or quick bread batter in the pan for 20-30 minutes before placing it in the oven, which gives the baking soda or powder time to generate more carbon dioxide bubbles before it starts baking. (You could also increase the amount of baking soda or baking soda, but do so in small amounts, as too much can give your baking a metallic taste!)

Vegetable Deep n’ Delicious chocolate cake

These cookies are much faster than traditional yeast cinnamon rolls. (Julie van Rosendaal)

I like to use a mashed overripe banana from the freezer in this cake, which minimizes the banana flavor. (Amount varies as bananas vary in size.) To make cupcakes, divide batter into paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until springy to the touch.

  • 1 cup oats, yellow pea, coconut or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (or 1/4 cup melted vegetable margarine + 1/4 cup oil)
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/3-1/2 cup mashed overripe banana (or pumpkin puree)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup hot coffee (decaf is fine! I keep instant on hand for baking)


  • 1/2 cup vegetable butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4-1/3 cup oats, peas, or other non-dairy milk (or water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir the lemon juice into the milk and let it sit while you mix the rest of the batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, mayonnaise, mashed banana or applesauce, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients along with the milk and stir until well combined. Add the hot coffee and beat until the batter is smooth.

Spray two 8 or 9-inch round or square cake tins or a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and divide the batter between them (or pour into a 9×13-inch pan). Bake for 35-40 minutes or until slightly domed and center of cakes is springy to the touch. Cool completely for the glaze.

To make the icing, beat the butter, icing sugar, cocoa, about half the milk or water, vanilla and salt until smooth and lighter in texture, adding more liquid if needed to make it fluffy and spreadable. (If using unsalted margarine, add a pinch of salt.) Spoon into a star-tipped piping bag and pipe rows of frosting blossoms onto the cake, or spread over the top with a knife.

Makes two 9 x 9 inch square or round cakes or one 9 x 13 inch cake.

Oatmeal Chocolate Pieces Biscuits

A chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is a beautiful thing. These use boiling water and baking soda in place of the egg, and are based on a classic from the yellow Best of Bridge book, Enjoy! I like to push a chocolate chip into the top of each cookie as well, to make sure each cookie gets one and to make them look extra chocolatey.

  • 1 cup plant butter or coconut oil (or a combination)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats
  • 1-2 cups (or so) chopped dark chocolate or vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugars and vanilla for 1-2 minutes, until pale and light. Stir in the flour and salt (or whisk in on low speed). Stir the baking soda into the boiling water and stir or whisk it in as well, along with the oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts.

Drop the dough into large spoons (or use a shovel, or roll into balls) and press an extra piece of chocolate (or a few chocolate chips) into the top with your hand if necessary.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

Cinnamon Sticky Cookies

I’ve been making these gummy cookies for decades – they’re much faster than traditional yeast cinnamon rolls, but they’re no less delicious! If you like, drizzle the non-sticky side with a glaze made with 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon each plant butter, and (non-dairy) milk while still warm. Sometimes I do this, and other times I flip them over onto a plate or plate to serve them sticky side up.


  • 1/4 cup plant butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Roger’s Golden or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water (optional)


  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup oats, yellow pea, or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (ish) Roger’s Golden or maple syrup (you can pour this for free!)
  • cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the butter, brown sugar, syrup, and water in a parchment-lined or buttered 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan. Place the pan in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, or just long enough to melt the butter. Remove the pan and stir everything together with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk and oil and stir until you have a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough into a rectangle measuring about 9 x 12 inches (aim for a little larger than a standard sheet of paper – it doesn’t have to be perfect). Sprinkle with brown sugar, drizzle with syrup (you can keep an eye on this, you don’t need to measure exactly) and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll tightly into a block from one long side in a jelly roll style.

Using dental floss or a serrated knife, cut into 9 or 12 biscuits and place cut-side down in the pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Drizzle with a simple glaze if you like, or turn them over onto a plate while they’re still warm.

Makes 9-12 cookies.