While it’s possible to find a special kind of vegan pastry unique to a particular bakery or restaurant, in reality most vegan baked goods are alternate versions of non-vegan or vegetarian baked goods. This means vegans can enjoy common kinds of baked goods like cakes, cookies, and breads, as long as they consume vegan versions of the foods. To create vegan versions, cooks use non-animal ingredient alternatives to replace common baking ingredients like eggs, honey, and various dairy products. Some alternative ingredients are common foodstuffs, like applesauce and tofu, and others are commercial substitutes. Other kinds of ingredient characteristics, like organic foods and those purchased at farmer’s markets, aren’t necessary to make a baked good vegan, but they are often called for as they align with many vegans’ views of the overall vegan lifestyle.
It’s possible to find vegan baking alternatives for nearly every kind of non-vegan baked dish. Vegans can find vegan versions of sweet baked goods like cakes, pies, muffins, cookies, and brownies. Other kinds of baked goods, like breads, rolls, biscuits, and pretzels also have vegan version recipes. Simply put, many bakeries, recipes, and individual cooks label animal-friendly baked goods as “vegan baked goods.” Most of them, however, are traditional baked goods with ingredient replacements.
Since a vegan diet restricts every kind of animal byproduct, recipes for vegan baked goods must use alternatives to common baking ingredients like milk, eggs, butter, and even cheese. The alternative ingredient depends on the intended flavor and texture of the baked good. Some common alternatives include tofu, applesauce, unbleached or unrefined sugar, and soy, rice, or almond milk. Commercial substitutes such as egg substitutes, non-dairy vegan chocolate, and even honey replacements are available from various companies that specialize in vegan and vegetarian foods. Recipes for vegan baked goods will call for the specific alternative ingredients, but in time many vegans become accustomed to which vegan ingredient works best for each intended outcome.
Many vegan baked goods possess other characteristics common to the vegan lifestyle, too. For example, vegan foods often call for ingredients that are environmentally friendly as well as animal friendly. Bakeries, cafes, and other restaurants that sell vegan baked goods regularly tout organic ingredients. Vegan cooking television shows, websites, and books that provide at-home recipes often suggest the cook use locally produced items or shop at farmer’s markets. These kinds of ingredients aren’t essential to vegan baking, but they are encouraged.