Vegan Vanilla Cake with Aquafaba

I just made a cake with bean water.  That’s right — bean water.  Chickpea water to be exact.  Otherwise known as aquafaba.  This recently discovered proteinacious liquid that is derived from chickpeas is being used to replace eggs in the culinary world.  It can be whipped up into a meringue and it can be used as a direct substitute for eggs in cakes.  First, Google aquafaba then come back here and read about the cake I made with it.

Incredible, right? I found it fascinating and unbelievable too.  There are not a lot of recipes out there yet using aquafaba and I really don’t like it when my baking projects fail so I gave this a lot of thought.  A lot.  My routine to and from work is AudioDigest Pediatrics on the way there and Coffee Break Spanish on the way back.   (There is actually a method behind my madness — my mind just cannot take anymore medicine after 5:30PM so I listen to this delightful Scottish professor and his student teach Spanish instead).  I was a lifelong NPR devotee until my husband and I watched “Blacklist” on Netflix and now I find the news questionable at best.  I’m really off topic now.  Back to aquafaba. I turned off the audio in the car on my way home yesterday and thought about aquafaba instead.  It does not have the same protein content that egg whites do so how could it possibly perform the same in an all-white cake?  I was afraid to try.

Thanks to this brave lady who made 18 cakes in one day to find the right egg substitute for her egg-allergic child I conquered my fears.  Husband got me three cans of chickpeas.  I was also armed with Earth’s Balance vegan buttery sticks and soymilk.  We are still in Lent so this was going to be another vegan cake.  Actually, these cakes will be turned into petit fours so stay tuned for the next post.  We shall see if they withstand stacking and icing for petit fours! Or should I say, ya veremos!

All you have to do is drain the liquid from a can of chickpeas — you will get about 200ml of aquafaba.  It is suggested that you agitate the can first.  Two tablespoons of aquafaba will substitute for one egg white.  Three tablespoons aquafaba will substitute for the whole egg.

So, how did it turn out?  First, the rise:  I made one-inch sheet cakes so I could really assess the aquafaba’s contribution to the cake’s rise and structure.  It did not rise the full inch I would have expected from this cake.  It rose to just a titch over 3/4″.  I can live with that.

Second, the texture and flavor: it had a slightly more delicate crumb but the flavor was very good.  I chose unsweetened soymilk for its fat and protein content but you could also use full-fat coconut milk if you don’t mind a little coconut undertones.

I was happier with the stability and taste of this cake than more traditional oil-based vegan cakes.  Overall, I was very impressed.  This is exciting stuff.  I was afraid this aquafaba thing was going to be vegan voodoo but not at all.  Other advantages to using aquafaba over other egg alternatives include the price (you would probably throw that liquid down the drain anyway and now you can use the liquid and the chickpeas!) and the ease of use (as opposed to grinding flax seeds for a flax egg).  It will definitely be my go-to egg substitute from now on.  Let me know what you think …

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