This veganized boxed crumb cake is a product of my failed hairbrained attempt at making vegan coffee cake batter blondies. The problem? Instead of following my procedure for making vegan cake batter blondies, I just did a 1-for-1 vegan substitution for the exact recipe on the box. So I ended up with a vegan crumb cake instead of vegan crumb cake blondies.
There are worse problems.
This is a Trader Joe’s boxed crumb cake mix that calls for:
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 6 tablespoons butter (for cake)
- 3 tablespoons butter (for crumb topping)
Instead, I used:
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil (for cake)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (for crumb topping)
And it worked!
Veganizing Baked Goods
It’s very rare that I’ll cook with a boxed mix. I actually have no idea why I felt so compelled to buy this on Sunday. But these substitutions work for ingredients whether you’re making the recipe from scratch or from a box.
When it comes to veganizing non-vegan recipes, I find that coconut oil holds up really well as butter. You could also use a fake vegan margarine here, but sticking with a less processed fat from coconut is, in my opinion, the smarter choice (but keep in mind this is heavy on saturated fat, which doesn’t bother me but might bother you). The benefit of coconut oil in baking is that it’s solid at room temperature so you can use it to cream sugar. If the recipe calls for melted butter you could use a liquid oil of your choosing. I’d steer clear of olive oil since it has such a strong taste.
For eggs, I honestly think that the vegan chia/flax egg phenomenon is kind of a joke. Nothing about chia seeds or ground flax mimics the binding properties of a real egg BUT I do it anyway. Why? I don’t know, habit. Plus, I’ve found that if you’re working with wheat flour, there’s enough gluten in the flour to act is a binder for the baked good. So tossing in some chia seeds or ground flax is just a bonus at that point. In general, the rule of thumb for making a chia or flax “egg” is 1 tablespoon of seeds + 3 tablespoons of warm water. Combine and let sit until it forms an egg-like gel. I find less success substituting eggs in this way when I’m working with gluten-free flours.
This one is easy. Just use any available non-dairy milk. I’d stick to something unsweetened since odds are you’re adding sugar elsewhere in the baked item and don’t want to be overkill. If the recipe calls for heavy cream, use coconut milk for its fat content. If not, an almond milk should do the trick.