No-egg cupcakes

Three words scare the baker in me - "make it eggless". "Eggless" or egg-free cakes are pretty popular in India as many people do not eat eggs for religious reasons; some folk cannot tolerate the taste and smell of egg in cakes and there are those who are allergic to egg. Enterprising bakers have got past that roadblock; many recipes by Indian bakers omit eggs and instead, rely on various substitutes like egg replacer, yoghurt, vinegar, condensed milk or even ground flaxseed. In fact, there are recipes for cakes without butter, sugar and flour too! There are substitutes for everything!

I have nothing against cakes without eggs, it's just that when you compare a cake that has been baked with eggs and one without, the differences are quite evident both in texture and taste. And at times, in the looks department too. But that's just me.  

Most recipes for no-egg cakes call for soda bicarb among other ingredients, which tends to leave a slightly metallic aftertaste on the palate.

Rummaging through a sheaf of notes, I found this recipe for a cake that uses neither egg nor baking soda. I used this recipe to bake a batch of cupcakes and they tasted quite nice, although a tad dry. Maybe that was because of the missing eggs. I'm still trying to figure out what it is that holds the crumb together - that's what happens if you don't study chemistry!
I sense chemistry emoticon (Flirting emoticons)
Quite thrilled with the outcome, I got my baker friend Smitha Kuttayya to make a vegan version of the cake. Luck was on my side as she had just been gifted a brand new loaf pan and she was looking around for a new recipe try out. This was all the impetus she needed. She substituted the milk in the recipe with water, used oil instead of butter and went a step further by substituting the plain flour with wholewheat flour. It baked into a beautiful loaf. Cake in hand, she went around her apartment complex looking for tasters. Of the 6 she managed to corral, 3 didn't think much of it, 2 said it was ok and 1 person loved it.

Not one to give up easily, she made another cake two days later. She used orange juice and some rind instead of water and prettied it up with orange buttercream. Volunteers were aplenty this time and the cake was a hit!

As for my cupcakes, most of them went into a trifle and I sent the remaining to my niece who is a temporary vegetarian. She loved them. Mission accomplished!

No egg cupcakes

250 gm plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
225 gm fine sugar (not powdered)
85 gm butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated rind of 1 lime
225 ml milk

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.
Stir in sugar, butter, vanilla extract, lime rind and milk.
Using an electric beater, beat on high speed for a minute. The mixture will become slightly gooey.
Spoon into cupcake cases and bake in a preheated 180°C oven for about 25 minutes or till the tops of the cakes bake to a golden brown and a skewer test shows they are done.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire grid to cool.
Ice the cupcakes if required.

Makes 18 cupcakes.

*The batter can be baked in an 8" lined pan instead of cupcake moulds.  


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