If you offer cheesecake to a crowd, chances are you will hear a pretty big cheer.
Cheesecake is a crowd favorite for its creamy texture of a variety of flavors it can be made.
For those who can’t indulge in certain ingredients like eggs, cheesecake can seem pleasure of the past.
But, have no fear!
Egg alternatives for your cheesecake are available!
With restrictive diets becoming more commonplace as new disorders are discovered and choice diets, like vegan and vegetarian diets, are followed more, research has led to an array of substitutions for these once vital ingredients.
Cheesecakes: Not cake, but still delectable
Cheesecake is a dessert that fits into an array of categories.
It’s clearly not a cake, pie, or tart. But, with its crunchy crust made of cookies, graham crackers, or shortbread, and its sweet, custardy, creamy layered filling, who cares what it’s called?
Cheesecake is just simply a delicious dessert.
But for those who live an eggless life, cheesecake seems out of the realm of indulgence.
Egg-less Doesn’t Mean You’re Left Dessert-less
If you aren’t already familiar with egg substitutions, it can be hard to imagine baking or cooking of any kind without using eggs.
Eggs are such a versatile and often believed to be vital, part of the food world.
Chicken-laid eggs are the variety we purchase in groceries and consist of two parts inside the shell: the golden-colored yolk and the egg white, or albumen.
The albumen consists of thicker and thinner parts and the consistency changes with the time since the egg was laid.
Eggs seem to be in so many recipes, but what do eggs contribute to the process of baking desserts, like cheesecake?
Jenni from Pastry Chef Online breaks down a light chemistry lesson on her website, because, after all, baking is just cooking chemistry.(1)
In a nutshell, eggs are proteins.
Eggs exist in the way that they do so that the yolk, when fertilized, becomes the chick and the albumin becomes the food for that developing offspring.
So, the protein of the whole egg breaks down when baking in the heat of the oven.
In chemistry, this phenomenon of disrupting the molecular structure through heat is known as denaturing.
The denaturation of eggs binds with the other ingredients, specifically the starches like flour, as the baked good forms and changes from a liquid state to a semi-solid state.
So, next time you make cakes, cookies, and brownies, thank eggs for their contribution to the creation of your favorite dessert’s texture, structure, and density.
Now, just because eggs are nature’s little cooking wonder does not mean they are absolutely essential to cooking and baking.
Whether you abstain from eating eggs because you have an allergy to them, follow a vegan diet or some other eating regimen for various health and moral reasons, does not mean your favorite desserts are pleasures of the past.
With restrictive diets becoming more and more commonplace, alternatives have been sought after and researched to bring you the best substitutes.
Many of these are plant-based and being improved consistently, getting better all the time.
The Good and Bad of Using Eggs
The benefits of eggs vary depending who you ask.
Many vegans who abstain from eating eggs are adamant that they are not vital to most recipes.
Eggs are perfect for helping cheesecakes hold their semi-solid, custardy shape by binding and gelling, as well as maintaining thickness.
On the flip side, eggs are fatty and whole eggs contain large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats.
Salmonella, while usually uncommon, is also considered a risk when cooking with eggs due to cross-contamination and not cooking thoroughly.
My Darling Vegan is quick to point out that eggs work mostly as “binders” in baking, which we learned in our brief chemistry cheat sheet.(2)
She has a great segment for “Egg Replacements in Custard,” which is the category of dessert cheesecake is often labeled.
Custards “are made through the coagulation of egg proteins” which can initially sound a bit intimidating when you’re hoping to make an eggless version of an egg based recipe.
Her top picks are all plant and nut based and fit into a vegan or vegetarian diet.
1. Coconut Milk
Since it has a thick and creamy texture, coconut milk is a commonly used replacement when you desire the rich flavor of eggs.
2. Silken Tofu
Tofu is a common substitution in vegan and vegetarian recipes because it is so versatile and is essentially flavorless. It’s fairly inexpensive and mimics the texture of eggs to be used when baking a cheesecake.
3. Agar Powder
One of the main aspects of cheesecake is that it congeals to create the custardy, semi-solid texture it has. Agar powder works in a similar fashion to eggs and coagulates when baking.
Another well-kept secret to making eggless, custardy recipes is the usage of cashews. When manipulated to a creamy texture, cashews share a lot of similarities with egg yolks.
5. Ener-G Egg Replacer
A unique and easy-to-use substitute for eggs, Ener-G is made to mimic the binding effect that eggs have on baked goods.(3)
Need to see it to believe it?
Thanks to Pinterest and social media, it’s not hard to find the best-tasting, tried-and-true recipes with ingredients that fit your needs.
This recipe is wheat-free and gluten-free, though not vegan friendly.
It comes from Jolinda Hackett, a celebrated author of 6 books, including cookbooks, and an advocated for veganism and vegetarianism, via The Spruce Eats.(4)
This recipe features the Ener-G Egg Replacer as its egg substitute.
Gluten-Free Egg-free Cheesecake Recipe by Jolinda Hackett
Total time: 75 mins
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Yield: 8 to 10 Servings
- 1 1/2 cups crushed cookies or graham cracker crumbs, gluten-free
- 1/2 cup margarine, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 packages low-fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 16 ounces container light sour cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Mix crumbs, margarine, and sugar and blend well. Press out into an ungreased 9-inch pan. Place pan on a sheet pan or wrap foil around the bottom to ensure no dripping. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- In a big bowl, combine cream cheese and all ingredients except sour cream. Add sour cream and mix two minutes. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for one hour in the oven. While the middle will be creamy, the outer side will be done. Open the oven door, and cool it for two hours.
- Use knives to loosen sides of the pan, and remove. Place on serving tray and let cool to room temperature. After that, you can place it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
No eggs? No problem!
In the end, eggs are not as essential as previously thought.
With plant-based substitutes improving and becoming more common, almost any recipe can be easily recreated with alternative ingredients.
It’s easy to find plenty of cheesecake recipes using egg substitutes so that everyone can enjoy!
So grab your laptop and your finest ingredients and get ready to make the best eggless cheesecake recipes you can find!