If you love to bake, setting out all your ingredients before starting is the best way to check you have everything you need. If, for some reason, you don't have the requisite number of eggs, don't worry — a cake mix without eggs isn't a recipe for disaster!
A box cake with no eggs or not enough eggs may be dense or poorly risen or may not hold together properly. But you can save the situation by substituting in some common kitchen cupboard ingredients.
Which Recipes Work Egg-Free?
Eggs have a functional role in cakes, but you can often substitute one or two eggs in a cake should you want or need to. Vegans will always be on the hunt for a good alternative to eggs in baked goods, and you'll also need to find an alternative if you can't eat eggs due to an allergy.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) explains that eggs typically play two roles in baking: either as a binder holding the cake ingredients together or as an agent that will help the cake rise. Sometimes the eggs will be doing both in the same recipe.
Determining the viability of a cake batter without eggs requires a closer look at the recipe. It's unlikely a cake mix without eggs will work if the original recipe requires three or more eggs for a batch size of one cake, a pan or brownies or 36 small cookies. Sponge cakes and angel food cakes won't work well with egg substitutes for this reason.
However, if you are making a cake with only one or two eggs, you're likely to have much better results. Examples include fruitcake and gingerbread.
What Can Replace Eggs?
Various homemade egg substitutes are worth trying — here are some that the AAFA says will replace one egg in recipes where the main action of the egg is as a binder (for example in drop cookies).
- 1/2 of a medium banana, mashed.
- 1/4 cup of applesauce.
- 3 1/2 tablespoons gelatin blend (mix 1 cup boiling water and 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin and then use 3 1/2 tablespoons of that mixture per egg).
- 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water (let stand for a minute before using).
Where the eggs you are using are needed to make the cake rise, try making a simple leavening replacement by mixing 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon baking powder. This is enough to substitute for one egg, so double the quantities if you are replacing two. Note it's really important that it is baking powder, not baking soda, that you use.
Commercial Egg Replacements
Commercial egg replacements or substitutes are other good options for helping a cake to rise, but you will need to choose different products depending on whether you are allergic to eggs or not.
According to the AAFA, egg-allergic people and vegans should look for egg-free replacers such as Ener-G brand Egg Replacer.
If you are simply heart health-conscious, an egg substitute, which may contain egg, but not the yolk, is likely more appropriate. Harvard Health Publishing suggests people who struggle to lower cholesterol levels may benefit from avoiding egg yolk consumption. In this scenario the Mayo Clinic suggests that you replace one whole egg with either a quarter cup of a commercial egg substitute (usually found in the dairy section of the store) or with two egg whites.