pound cake muffin test egg replacer

Testing 7 Egg Alternatives for Pound Cakes

A lot of recipes for cakes call for eggs. In a pound cake, they even make up about a quarter of the recipe. But, what if you don’t have eggs on hand, or can’t or don’t want to eat eggs?

Then, it would be helpful to know of possible alternatives. There are a lot of solutions floating around on the internet. However, upon testing 7 them, we noticed they have varying levels of success, to say the least. Why do some work great, and are others absolute failures?

Testing egg replacers in pound cake

Replacing eggs is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The best replacement in a pound cake, might be very different from that in a Genoise cake, ice cream, cookies, brownies, or even pancakes. Eggs simply play slightly different roles in each. It’s why here, we’re only focussing on finding a good egg substitute for pound cakes. A pound cake is made with roughly equal amounts (by weight) of sugar, butter, flour and eggs. It generally also contains a small amount of leavening agent such as baking powder. Eggs thus make up about a fourth of the cake, so simply leaving them out wouldn’t be an option. As such, we tested 7 potential replacers by making pound cake muffins:

  1. 1 EGG – our reference
  2. 1 tbsp EGG REPLACER from Bob’s Red Mill – a mix of potato starch, tapioca flour, baking soda and psyllium husk fiber + 30g water
  3. 1 tsp CORN STARCH – inspired by our eggless orange cake + 40g water
  4. 1 tsp BAKING SODA + 1 tbsp VINEGAR
  5. 20g WATER + 5g OIL + 10g LEMON JUICE + 1/4 tsp BAKING SODA
  6. 50g APPLE SAUCE
  7. 50g BANANA
  8. 50g YOGURT

Want to know why we tested these? We’ll get to that, but first, let’s have a look at the results.

The results

Results varied widely, to say the least. Some were pretty close to the original pound cake. Others were clearly different than the reference but still made a good cake, whereas some cakes were true disasters. Some impacted taste, others mostly texture.

cake with too much baking soda and lemon juice
A cake made by replacing egg with baking soda (no. 5). It collapsed completely and was inedible. The same happened for test no. 4.
The failures: Baking soda

The two absolute failures were those made with baking soda as a replacement (no. 4 and 5). These cakes rose a lot in the oven, but collapsed midway through baking. They were also very alkaline, even metallic in taste, as is typical for cakes made with too much baking soda. These were the only cakes that simply weren’t edible at all.

Mediocre: corn starch, apple sauce, bananas & commercial egg replacer

Using corn starch or apple sauce instead of eggs didn’t make horrible cakes. Both were perfectly edible. However, they just weren’t as good as the egg reference, nor as good as some of the others. The apple sauce was the softer of the two, whereas corn starch did give the cake some additional lift. None had any off flavors, you couldn’t taste the apple in the apple sauce cake for instance.

pound cake muffin test side view
From left to right: Egg, Bob’s red mill replacer, corn starch (with extra vinegar). Notice the stark difference in color.

Bob’s Red mill egg replacer made a nice cake as well. However, it was still clearly different than one that contained egg. It lacked some richness in taste. Also, it turned out a browner color than the original egg recipe did. That said, it had a nice little dome and good overall texture.

Bananas were an interesting case. Yes, they made a good cake, however, it very clearly tasted like banana. Which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but if you’re aiming for a more neutral flavor, banana isn’t the way to go. Additionally, you could clearly see dark brown spots from the banana in the cake.

egg replacers in a pound cake
Most promising: yogurt

Our (surprising) favorite was the cake made with yogurt as an egg replacer. It wasn’t identical, but it did have a very similar texture to the reference, it might have even been a little moister. The yogurt cake was a little darker in color, but not unappetizingly so. You might have been able to get that color in the reference by baking it a little longer at a higher temperature.

How to find an egg replacer

Yogurt turned out to be our favorite. But, why on earth did it work? To find out, we have to dig into the role of eggs in a pound cake a little more. First, keep in mind that in a pound cake eggs are just mixed in. They aren’t whipped or whisked as is the case for some other cakes such as a chiffon cake. As such, in a pound cake eggs fullfill the following roles simultaneously. Their multi-talented nature is what makes it so hard to find a perfect replacer. Egg adds:

  • color – the yellow/orange yolk contributes a light yellow hue to the cake.
  • moistness – most of an egg is made up of water, it thins a batter to the right consistency – batters that are too stiff won’t rise properly – but also makes the final cake moister
  • richness – egg yolks contain a considerable amount of fat that adds richness
  • emulsifying properties – lecithin is naturally present in eggs and helps fats and water to remain mixed
  • stability – eggs contain a lot of proteins. These set in the oven and provide additional structure. They serve as a thickening agent to some extent by binding water in the baked cake.

What to look for in a potential substitute

So, when looking for an egg replacer you are looking for something that ideally takes over all these functions. Let’s have a closer look at how our contestants would theoretically fulfill (part of) these functions.

Commercial Egg Replacer (Bob’s Red Mill)

This product is made up of potato starch, tapioca flour, baking soda, and psyllium husk fiber. The starch and flour help to set the cake and provide stability. A similar thing can be said for the psyllium husk fiber which is especially good at absorbing and holding onto a lot of water. It’s a great thickening agent. Lastly, the baking soda helps to give the cake some extra lift.

Corn starch

Corn starch is quite commonly used as a thickener. You can use it in sauces, but also in dessert or ice creams. Once heated, it is great at binding water. As such, it helps to stabilize the cake and will work quite similarly to the flour in the cake. By adding some extra moisture or even oil, you can make up for the loss of water and fat.

Baking soda & vinegar

Various sources claim that 1 tsp of baking soda + 1 tbsp of vinegar can replace an egg. We were very doubtful of its success to start with. Baking soda is a great leavener, it will allow your cake to expand and rise in the oven. However, it does not contribute to the structure of your cake, nor does it add richness. As you could see in the results, this additional rise mostly resulted in collapsed cakes.

Apple sauce

Apple sauce is a popular egg replacer. It contains moisture to contribute additional moistness. Its starches and pectins help set the cake batter while keeping it moist. Since it’s quite neutral in flavor, it doesn’t interfere with taste that much.


Bananas are full of fiber, which helps bind moisture. On top of that, it contains a lot of water to create that desired batter consistency. It does have a very strong flavor, even when baked.


Yogurt, especially the full-fat kind, contains a considerable amount of water, fat and protein. However, its proteins are slightly less good at adding structure, which is probably why this cake did collapse a little compared to the reference. Also, yogurt is sourer than eggs, possibly impacting the rise of a cake.

Are there more options?

We had to choose a few to test and couldn’t test every alternative. We’ve seen positive reviews of silken tofu and are doubtful of the success of ground flaxseed or chia seeds. We weren’t enthusiastic about any of the vinegar-containing options and it wouldn’t have made a difference if we’d used a different type (e.g. apple cider vinegar), they’d all work the same way.

Why is the color so different?

Almost every egg alternative made for a darker cake than the original. Most turned out a shade of grey instead of yellow. This is most likely due to a change in the pH value of the cake batter. Most replacements add either an acid (e.g. yogurt) or alkaline (e.g. baking soda) ingredient. The batters of these cakes would thus be less neutral in pH than the reference. This is known to accelerate the Maillard reaction, responsible for browning.

What about other cake styles?

Keep in mind that in a pound cake, the most important role of eggs is to add moistness and stability once baked. They don’t contribute much by way of leavening or aeration. This is very different from other styles of cakes such as a genoise or chiffon cake. In those cakes, eggs, or just egg whites, are whipped to create a light and airy foam which then provides a lot of rise to the cake. Most likely, none of the replacers tested here would work well for those. Instead, you’d have to look for something that can take over that foaming function, such as aquafaba.

experiment egg replacers

Baking cake without eggs - A series of trials

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

These are several recipes that we used for testing out egg alternatives. We're grouping them all here.

The almond flour cupcake recipe makes 12 cupcakes and comes from Yotam Ottolenghi's book ''Sweet' (although they just use egg, no egg replacers).

The pound cake is a basic recipe with equal quantities over butter, sugar, flour and eggs and makes 9 cupcakes.

The orange cake gives 12 cupcakes (although they will be slightly smaller than the almond flour ones).


Almond flour cupcakes

  • 190g butter
  • 190g granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • 190g almond flour
  • 45g regular all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 egg equivalents (or just 4 eggs)

Pound cupcakes

  • 150g butter
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 150g (=3) egg equivalents (or just 3 eggs)

Orange cake

  • 80g butter
  • 145g brown sugar
  • 160 ml orange juice + 4 tsp corn starch (or: 4 egg replacers)
  • Orange zest from two oranges
  • 100g all purpose flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder


Almond flour cupcakes

  1. Cream the butter, sugar and zest together in a bowl.
  2. Add all the other ingredients, this is easiest in a stand mixer, and slowly mix them through (don't mix at high speed, the flour might come out).
  3. For our specific experiment we added all ingredients except for the egg equivalent. We then split the batter in 4 batches and added a different egg equivalent to each.
  4. Either spray a 12-muffin tin with a thin layer of fat, use butter or place paper cupcakes tin inside to prevent the batter from sticking to the sides.
  5. Fill 12 muffin tins with an equal amount of batter.
  6. Bake at 180C (350F) for 25-35 min or until they feel firm and a tester comes out clean.

Pound cupcakes

  1. Mix the butter and sugar to ensure butter is well mixed through and there are no clumps left over. It is easiest to do this with a stand mixer.
  2. Add the eggs and the flour to the mixture and mix until just blended completely.
  3. Either spray a 9-muffin tin with a thin layer of fat, use butter or place paper cupcakes holders inside to prevent the batter from sticking to the sides.
  4. (For our specific experiment we added all ingredients except for the egg equivalent. We then split the batter in 4 batches and added a different egg equivalent to each.)
  5. Fill 9 muffin tins with an equal amount of batter.
  6. Bake at 180C (350F) for 25-30 min or until they feel firm and a tester comes out clean.

Orange cake

  1. Melt the butter and mix the sugar through (you can also use the same method as for the pound cake and mix the solid butter with sugar in a stand mixer).
  2. If using the corn starch: blend the corn starch with half of the orange juice to ensure that all clumps are gone.
  3. Add in the juice + cornstarch and the remainder of the juice and orange zest.
  4. Fold in the flour + baking powder & soda until it's all just combined (no need for extensive mixing here).
  5. Fill you cupcakes with an equal amount of batter and bake in a pre-heated over an 160C (325F) for 20-25 minutes (until they are a light brown and a tester comes out clean)

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headshot Annelie


    • Those are definitely on the list as well! Do you have any experience with them yourselves?

  1. The egg replacements you list work best for oil based cakes. Your orange cupcakes worked best because they have less butter. Eggless cakes just have a hard time holding up butter. Try swapping out some of the butter with oil. Also I’ve found yogurt works really well to add some stability and lightness, along with additional milk.

    • Thanks for the suggestions Louise! You’re right, the type of cake you’re baking probably influences the best alternative a lot, we’ll need to do more tests!

  2. Your blog makes great reading. Your experiments are a good way to reach the alternative for eggs.

  3. We tested replaces in class and found good success up to two egg replacement. Did you find this?

    • Hi Sue,

      Do you mean that you could replace up to 2 eggs well and that recipes calling for more eggs became troublesome? That would make sense, the more a cake relies on eggs, the harder it becomes to replace. The ratio of eggs:flour would be an important one there. I haven’t tested this extensively and instead, opted for focusing on pound cakes that use approximately equal quantities of eggs:flour:butter:sugar. Cakes that use relatively more eggs may be more troublesome indeed.

      Would be curious to learn more about the experiments you did!

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