Of course, the best egg substitute always depends on the type of baked good. So for this experiment my medium was cupcakes.
The first box of cake was Fudge Marble. I pre-mixed the chocolate packet in, because I wasn't going to get fancy with this experiment, so it wound up being a very light chocolate cake (did I mention that I used the only two boxes of cake available in my pantry?)
Pictured in the corner of this photo is another reason my my experiment was not perfectly scientific. I have found previously that substituting applesauce for the oil helps cakes made with store-bought egg replacers by making the cakes a little more moist (and less prone to crumbling) so I used it here. However, I used regular oil in cake box #2, so all things were even less equal. Bad scientist. Bad.
Mixed with a beater. We get better results when it gets more thoroughly mixed this way.
(Aso mixed with a beater.)
For this cake, I tried making a flax egg. I had heard of two different ground-flax-to-water ratios, and I wanted to find out which worked better, and which (if either) most successfully replicated an egg.
For both flax ratios, make sure you measure the flax seed AFTER you grind it, and allow it to sit for ~5 minutes or more, until it gets thick and goopy (and clings to itself when a spoonful is lifted out.)
1 Tbsp of ground flax mixed with 1/3 cup of water equals one egg.
See above notes on measuring and allowing to sit.
They both liked the chocolate cake best. While the from-scratch cake is very good, it served mainly as a control/means of comparison. The boys didn't seem to understand that we were asking for what they thought had the best texture and not just the best taste, so hubby and I were the judges. And by our estimation, the best egg substitute when it comes to cupcakes is:
The Flax Egg
1 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 Tbsp water for each egg. Mix well and allow to sit until goopy.
Hooray for side-by-side comparisons!
I wish I could say the experiment ended here, but it didn't. A short time after performing this experiment, I made some sheet cakes for my family. I made the Chocolate From-Scratch cake, and a boxed cake with flax eggs. I was expecting both to rise well, but they didn't. Flax may have the right properties to replace eggs in cupcakes, but the cake failed to rise. Apparently, leavening power changes depending on the surface area of the baked goods in question. I don't know whether it simply failed to rise (probably), or if it rose too much and then fell (something that happens often at higher altitudes.) Clearly, more study is needed. But as far as cupcakes go, flax eggs are clear winners for getting properly-cake-like results.
What experiments have you done to determine the best substitutions?
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