Vegan baking glossary - A-Z of vegan baking - Miss Walter’s | Sweet vegan recipes for a kind kitchen.

Vegan baking glossary

The A-Z of plant-based, vegan baking.


I created Miss Walter’s to include loved ones with dietary restraints (chosen or not) at the dessert table. I share all my favourite vegan dessert recipes with you so that you can do the same. Because sharing food has the power to unite us, so let’s not get our diet in the way of eating and sharing delicious cakes.

This vegan baking glossary contains background information on the ingredients I use in my recipes. I also explain some broader baking terms so that you can understand not just my recipes, but all recipes better. Please feel free to reach out, in case you have any questions regarding plant-based & vegan baking. I’m always happy to help out.



Agar agar

Agar agar is made from algae and gluten-free. It is a popular vegan substitute for gelatine because it’s tasteless and easy to use. Requires heat to bind and thicken liquids when cooled.

Almond butter

Almond butter is a vegan pantry staple by now. It’s my prefered nut butter for all kinds of bakes. It sports a high satiety value which means that it keeps you fuller for longer. My favourite snack idea? Apple slices with almond butter.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great kitchen staple anyway. In baking, you can add apple cider vinegar to soy milk to re-create the slight acidity of buttermilk.


A fine gluten-free starch that works similar to cornstarch. I prefer arrowroot to cornstarch as it works better with different fruits, especially citrus fruits. Dissolve arrowroot powder with room temperature water before adding it to a hot liquid. Adding it to a boiling liquid will cause the arrowroot to form clumps, as cornstarch does too. Adding arrowroot to your flour mix will provide double the thickening power compared to wheat flour.


Aquafaba is the drained liquid from a can of chickpeas. As strange that may sound, it’s a superb egg replacer in vegan desserts, like this vegan chocolate mousse. In its liquid state, you can use it for dewy and moist bakes, like brownies. When whipped at high speed, it forms a firm froth, similar to egg whites. Some don’t like the smell of aquafaba. However, aquafaba will be odour and tasteless when baked.


Baking powder

Usually, baking powder is a pre-made mix of different leaveners that will make a cake light and airy. Another type of leavener would be yeast. Use cream of tartar with baking soda in a 2:1 ratio, if ready-made baking powder isn’t available.

Baking soda

Also known as sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda is a powerful leavener that reacts immediately with moistened batter. Baking soda is often used in muffin recipes instead of baking powder. The key is to not let dough with baking soda stand around but to bake it immediately. If used as baking powder, use baking soda with cream of tartar in a 1:2 ratio.


Beating in baking recipes simply refers to the rigorous mixing of ingredients, usually using a spoon, handheld mixer or food processor. The purpose of beating it to fully combine ingredients while incorporating enough air to make the batter light and fluffy. Over-beating will result in the opposite: a flat and hard cake.


Blending is a preparation method that means combining different ingredients with a spoon or food processor to achieve a smooth mixture.

Blind baking

Blind baking refers to baking a pastry without the filling. For example, fruit tartlets are often made from a blind baked pastry case, filled with cream and topped off with slices fruit. Blind baking is the easiest when you use ceramic baking beans (if you’re not planning on doing this regularly, dried beans or lentils will also do the trick). Line a tart tin with pastry, cover it with baking parchment and weigh it down with ceramic baking beans to keep the dough from rising.

Buckwheat flour

Buckwheat isn’t a grain at all. It’s a dried fruit similar to the “seeds” in strawberries. Kinda funny, isn’t it? Buckwheat is a gluten-free flour and is used as a substitute to refined flours. I wouldn’t recommend replacing white flour with buckwheat 1:1. Instead, mixing different gluten-free flours prooved to be a more successful approach. Buckwheat is now available widely across stores and almost every organic food store will sell it.

Butter substitutes

The easiest way to substitute butter in vegan baking recipes is with margarine. Personally, I struggle with margarine the most, because it’s over-processed, meaning that it’s so far removed from a natural state of food that it’s hardly food anymore. However, there are great vegan butter substitutes that are made from a mix of coconut oil and sometimes cocoa butter. Substituting butter in a recipe with a single ingredient is kinda difficult unless you substitute 1:1 with margarine. This depends on the desired effect of the butter in the recipe. When butter is used for moisture, try apple sauce, bananas, aquafaba, almond butter or soy yoghurt instead.


Chia seeds

Chia seeds can bind water and make a good egg substitute in vegan recipes. To make a chia egg, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (or ground chia seeds) with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside and let it form a gelatinous goo.

Chickpea flour

Also known as gram flour. Chickpea flour provides stronger binding properties than other gluten-free flours and is rich in protein. I find it does have a strong taste of its own and I usually use chickpea flour up to max. 25% of the overall flour mix.

Coconut blossom sugar / coconut palm sugar

This type of unrefined sugar is derived from the flower buds of coconut trees. It sports a couple of nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron and B vitamins. The almost caramel-like taste is perfect for baking and makes a good substitute for brown sugar.

Cream of tartar

Not per se a leavener, but when combined with baking soda it makes what is widely sold as baking powder. If used as baking powder, use cream of tartar with baking soda in a 2:1 ratio. Experienced bakers will factor in the ph levels of the ingredients to determine the exact ratio of cream of tartar and baking soda. Cream of tartar can also be used as a single ingredient. It helps to stabilize aquafaba foam (or egg-white foam). Utilize this when you’re baking macaroons or pavlovas.


Date syrup

Date syrup is another unrefined sweetener that I like to use in hearty recipes that go well with the deep, warm taste of dates. Date syrup will colour your cake batter slightly darker so keep that in mind if you aim for a light sponge cake.


Refers to either a finish method whereby sugar, cacao powder or spices is lightly sprinkled over the baked cake or it can refer to the dusting of a work surface with flour so that it’s easier to roll out dough.


Egg replacement

The key to replacing eggs in vegan baking recipes is to understand the purpose of the egg. Egg whites will add air to a dessert and make it fluffy and light. Egg yolk is usually used to help bind ingredients together and to contain moisture. The best vegan substitute for egg whites is aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas. To substitute an egg in baking, you could use apple sauce, apple cider vinegar, bananas, a flax egg or chia seeds.


Flax egg

A flax egg is a vegan egg substitute made from mixing ground flaxseed with water. For 1 flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Mix until gooey and use according to the recipe.

Folding in

This technique is used to gently combine a light, airy ingredient (such as beaten aquafaba) with a heavier one (such as cake mix). The lighter mixture is poured on top of the heavier one in a large bowl. Starting at the back of the bowl, a spoon is used to cut down vertically through the two mixtures, across the bottom of the bowl and up the side ie folding the two ingredients together.



It’s quite common to glaze certain bakes, e.g. pastries or breads, with an egg wash. Instead of eggs, simply use nondairy milk (I prefer soy milk) or nondairy butter.



Kudzu powder is made from the kudzu root and is one of the prefered thickeners in vegan baking. It’s almost tasteless, when compared with arrowroot and works especially well in bakes with delicate tastes, like puddings or tarts. Use the kudzu as indicated in the recipe or on the packaging. For most desserts, completely dissolve the measured amount of kudzu in a little cold water, then add it to the other ingredients near the end of cooking time. Gently bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly while the kudzu thickens.



A leavener is a collective term for ingredients that will let cake dough rise and make it light and airy. Chemical leaveners include baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar. An example of a natural leavener is fresh or dried yeast.

Locust bean flour

Is another thickener used in vegan desserts. It’s made from the seeds of the carob tree and has a rather sweet taste. It can be used to thicken hold and cold liquids. The beauty of locut bean flour is that is the only thickener that can be used with cold liquids.


Maple syrup

Maple syrup is made from the sugary sap from the maple tree. It’s an unrefined sugar meaning it’s a carbohydrate in its natural form e.g. not over-processed. I try to use only unrefined sugar in my recipes or natural sweetness from fruits. The evil trick is that the less sugar you consume, the faster your taste buds will adapt and unrefined sugars, like maple syrup, will taste just as sweet as white sugar. I like the taste of maple, especially when baking with apples, cinnamon and chocolate. It will colour your cake batter slightly darker so keep that in mind if you aim for a light sponge cake.

Milk alternatives

There’re a zillion vegan milk choices available: From almond to cashew, hemp, soy or rice. My favourite milk alternatives are oat milk and soy milk. I like oat milk because it’s rather thick and tasteless. Soy milk is ideal for recipes that need a bit more substance as it tends to thicken better than oat milk. I only use coconut milk when I really want the taste of coconut in the recipe or when I substitute it for heavy cream.


Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast comes in flakes and makes a great food supplement for vegans and vegetarians. It’s loaded with B vitamins, folic acid, zinc and protein. When heating nutritional yeast with a liquid it turns into a melted cheese-like substance. So it’s perfect for topping of vegan mac’n’cheese or to create a vegan fondue.


Rice flour

Rice flour is made by grinding uncoated rice. It’s a fine tasteless flour that is great for pastries. Remember to adapt the recipe to account for the lack of gluten when baking with gluten-free flours. My preferred gluten-free flours combo is a mix of rice flour, buckwheat and chickpea flour.


Silken tofu

Please refer to Tofu.

Soy flour

This gluten-free flour is made from soybeans and contains high levels of protein. It’s a great flour substitute, just make sure to not substitute 1:1 as the beany taste of too much soy flour can come through in baked goods.



In non-vegan baking eggs are often used to thicken a pudding or creme. There’re several different vegan thickening ingredients available in vegan baking. Each with its own characteristics and purpose. I especially like to use agar agar, arrowroot or kudzu.


Tofu is a protein made from fermented soy milk. I usually use silken (fine) tofu in my desserts. It works perfectly in vegan cheesecakes, puddings or custards. It also makes an incredible base for ganache and frostings.


Not necessarily an ingredient that comes to mind when you think about sweet vegan desserts. I use it often to colour puddings or creams in a slight yellow hue. A little turmeric will go a long way in colouring coconut milk or soy yoghurt yellow without compromising the taste of baked goods.

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Miss Walter’s - a blog based on sweet vegan recipes that wow your vegan & non-vegan friends alike.

Meet Jennifer

Hi there! I created Miss Walter’s to include loved ones with dietary restraints (chosen or not) at the dessert table. I share all my favourite vegan dessert recipes with you so that you can do the same. Because sharing food has the power to unite us, so let’s not get our diet in the way of eating and sharing delicious cakes.


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