Whether you’re fresh out of eggs or simply don’t want to use eggs in your recipe, there’s a way that pumpkin puree can help you here. As you know, there are cans of pre-made pumpkin puree out there and people have noticed it. How moist, how sweet, and how dense it can be. IF you can use mayo instead of eggs in batter, why not use pumpkin too ?
Pumpkin substitute for eggs
You can substitute eggs for pumpkin, especially pumpkin puree. This works better for sweet recipes but may work for savory ones too, in a pinch.
The reason this works is because pumpkin puree acts as a binder in the mixture, providing moisture and a bit of fat. However pumpkin puree cannot and will not make the dough rise, since it doesn’t have those properties. You will need a leavening agent for that.
What do eggs do ?
Eggs bind and provide moisture in any mix you add them to, and they help the batter aerate and expand. It’s the egg whites that expand and rise the mix, once the protein in them cooks through.
And the yolk makes the flavor better, richer, while also adding its own fats to the mix. You’ll notice nearly all cake batters call for:
- flour, or a similar starch to provide structure
- butter or oil or fats, to retain moisture and help the flour
- sugar for flavor
- eggs for extra moisture and to rise the batter
Pumpkins have their own moisture and can bind a mix together
If you were to remove the eggs and add pumpkin puree, you’d add fats and moisture. Maybe more moisture than called for, so be sure to strain it very very well.
Or, you can add a little more flour to the mix, otherwise the mixture will be simply too wet and will take longer to cook through. Pumpkins retain a lot of water, and whenever you add them you’ll get a very moist cake.
Read also: Canned Pumpkin VS Fresh
The result will be a denser mix
Aside from moist, the cake will be very dense. Pumpkins have nothing in them that would naturally make the mix rise and provide those tiny air bubbles that make a batter rise.
The result would be a very dense cake or batter, which would be very moist and tender and would crumble very easily once cut. The proteins in the egg white are a very good binder, and there isn’t that great of a replacement for it. We mean, there are replacements but they’re a little weaker.
How much pumpkin for one egg ?
Since pumpkin and eggs are very different, you can’t really substitute for 1 for 1. Instead, you need to add only as much pumpkin puree to the dry ingredients until the final mix will be thick enough to fall in wide ribbons from a spoon.
If the ribbons don’t disappear into the mix and just stay on top, it’s too thick. If they disappear immediately, it’s too thin and moist, you will need more flour. They should slowly melt back into the mix, with their edges still visible.
Baking is a science, but when you’re substituting major ingredients like this, it becomes an art.
Remember to add a leavening agent
A leavening agent will aerate the dough and help you really get that cake going. It’s basically the backbone of a sponge cake. So if you’re not going to use eggs to rise the cake, what will you use ? Here’s a couple of ideas.
Baking soda will lend a bit of a flavor to your dough, but it will get the job done right quick. Mix it evenly throughout the batter, and the mix will rise beautifully. It will rise faster and bigger than with egg whites, but it will end up drier if you don’t add something.
If using pumpkin puree and baking soda in the mix, you will get a smooth moist cake with definite rise. It’s possibly the most vegan cake you can make !
Now, aquafaba is a vegan option too, it’s just a little less stellar than baking soda when it comes to raising a cake mix. If you’re not sure what aquafaba is, it’s the water that’s in those canned garbanzo/chickpea cans. You can whip it up like you would egg whites, and get a similar result.
Aquafaba will bind the batter, almost as well as egg white can. But you’re adding a whole lot of moisture to this mix, so you’ll definitely need to add more flour. The dough will rise, just maybe not as much as you’d like.
So if you’re trying for a completely vegan pumpkin pie, give this a try.
Read Also: Tortilla Chips Substitute
Dos and don’ts of baking with pumpkin puree
When selecting your pumpkin puree, you need to make sure it’s really pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. The only difference is the pie filling is already sweetened and spiced. If you’re trying to make a savory dish, them the pie filling won’t help you. But if you’re making pumpkin bread, then pumpkin pie filling will work just fine too.
Another important point is to remember that pumpkin puree will add more moisture to your recipe. If the end consistency isn’t right, then you’ll need to dry it out a little. If you’re not a fan of adding more flour, then try adding more of the secondary ingredient. So example shredded coconut, or ground almonds, or cocoa powder, anything of the sort.
If you leave your cake mix too moist, it will take too long to cook through and it might come out a little gooey i the center, even if it’s already safely cooked and edible. Of course, if you’re trying a fudge/cake mix then go ahead and experiment.
But if you really need a specific texture, add more flour to the mix before you put it in the oven.
And finally, remember that pumpkin puree is fine, but it’s still a little lumpy. Your cake may be a tad bit lumpy here and there, but that can just provide extra texture and give it a more rustic, home-made vibe. If you add a few chopped cuts then those little lumps will not even be a problem.