My post today was inspired by a comment made by one of my readers, Emily, from my post about royal icing being the queen. She had asked bout using alternative ingredients in place of egg whites. I promised to write a post specifically for this and about using alternative ingredients in Cake Artistry for food intolerance.
I used to work at a natural medicine college, where I learned about the holistic make up of my health.
From as young I as I remembered, eating dairy or gluten always left me with side effects. Dairy made me sprint to the bathroom, and gluten caused me to bloat so much; my stomach hurt. I found that I was losing energy, not sleeping well, and often blamed it on work related stress etc.
Fortunately for me, all my colleagues were practicing naturopaths, who advised me to get a hair test in our clinic. I took their advice and what I suspected all along was confirmed. I am both, dairy and gluten intolerant, as well with egg, banana and a few other foods.
Once I understood and accepted this knowledge, I tried my best to refrain from any gluten or dairy products (okay, to be honest, I actually really struggle with this – I love cheese and hot white bread).
I have used a great recipe e book ‘Grave Bakery Gluten Free Cook Book‘ – this is a great starter for desserts that do not to include: gluten, grains, peanuts, refined sugars and soy.
I also, researched alternatives to what foods I could tolerate and ones that I couldn’t. I also gained a lot of knowledge about the range of alternative ingredients that I can utilise in cake artistry, to help those who have food intolerance, like myself.
Even if you are not intolerant to eggs, you may still hate that ‘eggy’ taste in meringues or other light cakes. I dislike sponge cake and pavlovas, only because of the strong egg flavor, I only include sponge cake in my Christmas trifles and pavlovas are always smothered in fresh cream, with layers of fruit.
A lovely alternative to egg, is aquafaba,(further information can be found on the Vegan Society’s page).This is the name given to legume brine.
It is by far the cheapest and most perfect replacement for egg white. The brine can be drained straight from the can of legumes or chick peas. The other way to get this liquid is from slowly cooking dried beans in water for a few hours, until the brine becomes like the egg white consistency (of course it needs to be cooled first).
Other acceptable aquafaba is water from packaged tofu. The measurement of aquafaba per egg is 3 tablespoons (although according to the Vegan Society, this is not a hard-fast rule).
Aquafaba can be whisked and layered into sponge cakes, meringues and pavlovas. This liquid is also just as delicious and effective in creating meringue type buttercream icings.
Aquafaba can also be an alternative to using meringue powder (which is dried egg white powder) in royal icing.
Okay, I know that this ingredient is really for baking, rather than for cake artistry/decorating, however the information is still useful for those who need an alternative for gluten/wheat.
You can purchase gluten free flour from the stores, my favourite is the Namaste brands. Remember that food intolerance vary in levels to how much a person can handle, and for those who are high (such as celiac disorder), it would be better to make your own mix of flour.
12 alternative flours:
- Chickpea flour
- Quinoa flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Sorghum flour
- Almond flour
- Rice flour
- Tapioca (also known as Starch flour or arrowroot flour)
- Potato Starch
- Xanthum gum (guar gum) – this is also used together with fondant in creating toppers or pasting icing decorations
- Coconut flour
- Polentia flour
- Chestnut flour
Each flour type has their own specific taste and texture and I suggest that you research recipes, that are suitable to what you are creating/baking. Some have a stronger smell than others and could easily be disguised with natural flavourings.
Here are 5 alternatives that can replace dairy products:
1 – Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Rice Milk
- Soy Milk – if you are not allergic to this of course
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Hemp/ Flax Milk Again, as with flour, these different milk substitutes have varying effects on the recipe being used. For much thicker consistency, I suggest using coconut milk – which also can be bought from organic stores without flavours.2 – Butter
- Coconut oil
- Olive Oil
- Vegetable spreads (not a fan of these)
- Avocado (mashed) – this is only good when the recipe is an uncooked food – great as a chocolate cake icing
3 – Cheese
- Cashew cheese – Green planet has an amazing recipe that I follow
- Soft Tofu
4 – Whipped Cream
- Thick coconut cream – whipped
5 – Condensed Milk
- Mix Coconut milk and maple syrup (yum)
I use pure organic maple syrup (you are lucky if you live in Canada, because these are so expensive anywhere else)
I have friends who are from Canada and they gave me a taste of their mayple syrup bottle (specially delivered from Canada to New Zealand) – after that I came back home and threw away any fake syrups in the cupboard. I never bought any more non-pure, maple syrup again.
The other organic sweetener, that I use as a subsitute for sugar is 100% pure honey, now that is one thing that I can say I am blessed for, living in New Zealand. Our honey is among the best in the world, especially Manuka honey, which is renowned for its healing properties.
You can also use stevia, isomalt or coconut raw sugar too, as an alternative to using white sugar.
Now, if you are following a specific diet or health program, you will be able to find just about every type of food can be substituted, however, for the sake of cake artistry, I have only listed the main food items that I would use as alternatives in my cake artistry.
I do not get much cake art orders that require gluten free or dairy free products and I certainly do not profess to be a pro in this area.
It is my intention that this may help a reader find some alternatives to their own food intolerance, especially when creating cake art.
Please comment or share your own experiences with food intolerance, so that I can learn and that it may further help other readers as well.
Until my next blog,