There are a few key principles to vegan baking that can yield, when followed properly, delicious baked goods made without any animal products whatsoever. The three main ingredients that must be avoided when baking for vegans are butter, milk, and eggs. Although these are staples used in most recipes for baked goods, they can be avoided and substituted.
Butter can be replaced with margarine. Be sure that the margarine package specifically states that the product is suitable for vegans, as some margarines do include small quantities or trace amounts of animal products. Since margarine must be substituted for butter in vegan baking, the resulting cakes, pies, and pastries are often more heart-healthy than they would be if they were made with the traditional ingredients.
Milk can be replaced with soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk. Choosing between the three should follow personal taste and preference. Many people who enjoy vegan baking choose to use soy milk, which is often nearly as thick as cow's milk.
Eggs are a bit tricker to get around, but recipes that call for eggs can be adjusted to meet vegan dietary restrictions. There is a product called egg replacer that is formulated specifically to take the place of eggs in recipes. It is a non-dairy product that does not include any animal products. Egg replacer comes with packaging that instructs users about how much should be used per egg that the recipe calls for.
By substituting butter, milk, and eggs for vegan-friendly products, almost all recipes for brownies, cookies, cakes, and pies can be made in a manner that is suitable for vegans. Some baking recipes call for other dairy products such as sour cream or yogurt. These ingredients are easy to substitute as there are a number of companies that make vegan sour cream and vegan yogurt.
Vegan baking does take a bit more preparation and forethought than traditional baking that relies on dairy products. Not all kitchens are regularly equipped with vegan margarine, soy milk, and egg replacer. These ingredients can be found in many grocery stories and most health food stores. For those following a vegan diet who don't want to worry about the ins and outs of vegan baking, there are vegan bakeries. They are certainly not as common as regular bakeries, but they can be found in many cities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.