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Nov 23, 2013 08:31 PM

Help with replacing oil in cake recipe with sparkling water? vegan recipe

Hi I recently heard when baking desserts (I assume cakes and cookies, not sure what else) you can sub out the oil and eggs and butter etc and just use club soda.
However instead of club soda I would like to use sparkling water (I looked this up and supposedly they are the same). I want to use sparkling water vs club soda because I want to be sure of the source of my water and enjoy cooking with water I know comes from a protected spring and is pharmaceutical/drug run-off free!

I am going to be making this vegan cupcake recipe for thanksgiving,

and since there is already going to be tons of oil in the frosting I figure why not try and eliminate every possible negative I can to make this as healthy as can be.

I am curious if I can simply remove the 1/3 cup oil and instead of the 1 cup soymilk use 1 cup sparkling water? I do not know if I need to up/down the amount of water if so, remove/keep the vinegar, etc... I'm also curious if I need to keep/remove the baking soda and powder. I am not sure of these things.

Can I please get some advice on how to make this work? Thank you very much

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  1. Oil is in the recipe to help keep it moist and to help with browning. If you take it out and add water (soda water, sparkling water is still water), you will not get a moist product. The soymilk will also give it more moisture than straight up water. You can add pureed applesauce or prunes to help give it moisture. You would need to reduce the liquid content because water does not have the viscosity like oil. You need the leavening to help the batter rise regardless. I'm assuming the vinegar is to help the chocolate.

    If I were making the recipe, I'd add the fruit puree in the place of the oil and keep the soy milk instead of sparkling water.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      hey thanks. ok so you don't recommend it? maybe i will experiment myself since i tend to just ask everyone's opinion without trying things for myself. you haven't heard of people replacing the oil, butter, and eggs with club soda?
      i heard it was possible that is why i was asking.

      ok so you recommend applesauce at least in place of oil. how much would you recommend i reduce the sugar by to compensate for the added sugar in the applesauce?
      can you also help with how much should i reduce the water by if i do indeed replace the soymilk with it?

      1. re: curiousaboutcafos

        I have never heard of replacing oil or eggs with water; is that a vegan thing? I'm not vegan so that's why I'm asking, but I do bake commercially.

        I am familiar with trying to reduce fat content in baked goods and I know that fruit purees are used to replace part or all butter or oil. If you're using unsweetened applesauce, no need to reduce the sugar. You may want to slightly reduce the sugar by 1-2 tablespoons if using sweetened prune puree.

        Eggs, that's a different story. Eggs are used to give product moisture & height, but they can be replaced by processing flax seeds with a bit of water. Here is a resource for that:

        Your recipe calls for one cup soymilk and 1/3 cup oil. If you want to use the water for the soymilk, sub cup for cup. If you don't want to use fruit puree for the oil and want to use water for that as well, I'd do maybe 3 tablespoons in place of the 1/3 cup oil. Mix that up then see if its too thick. If so, add the rest two tablespoons water.

        Your substitutions may work, my concern would be whether your cupcakes will be dry. I would love to know where you heard that club soda which is water, will do the same things as butter or oil and eggs.

        1. re: Cherylptw

          another sub for eggs other than flax seeds is using ¼ cup of tofu + ¼ tsp of baking soda… this replaces leavening and structural/protein functions.

          1. re: Emme

            hey thanks unfortunately i don't risk cooking with any soy or flax products even fermented as i don't want to risk the phyto-estrogens.
            what i COULD use is those egg replacers that are simply potato flour, tapioca/corn, etc..
            i will experiment thank you!!

          2. re: Cherylptw

            i just heard of it supposedly it was recommended by the hungry girl (a tv chef) . . it makes sense to me. i'm not knowledgeable about biology or science but the carbonation in the club soda/sparkling water should create some sort of rise.

            i will consider the applesauce thank you for your help :)

            unfortunately no flax seeds over here! i like to cook as risk-free as possible especially when cooking for others. we don't know the safety of phyto-estrogens yet and i don't want to risk it.

            i've considered using coconut milk in place of the soymilk but don't want to alter the flavor too much. am i being too worry-some? would the coconut alter it negatively?

            thank you very much cherylptw for your help, AWESOME!

            i heard about the club soda thing by: i was reading a review on vitacost for an arrowhead mills organic chocolate cake mix and one of the reviewers claimed they had heard about this on tv.

            i will do some experimenting thank you!

            1. re: curiousaboutcafos

              There is an infomercial where the hostess cooks a cake substituting soda for egg and oil

              This is nothing new, Weight Watchers "did this" years ago

              I am on a smart phone on cellular with slow service, otherwise I could find some links

              1. re: Alan408

                a quick google shows this with boxed mixes. they already have some fat in them.

              2. re: curiousaboutcafos

                I've heard of Hungry Girl; haven't watched her show though...I think using coconut milk is an excellent idea. It will give you the fat & moisture you need for the recipe. Although coconut pairs extremely well with chocolate, I don't think you would taste it much in this recipe since you would only be using one cup.

                I understand the soda water mixed with the baking soda and powder might give it a rise, but again, my concern was the possible lack of moisture. I think you should make the recipe and see how it comes out. Please post your results. Good luck!

                1. re: curiousaboutcafos

                  Make an "egg" with chia seeds. One TB chia seeds with 3TB water, mix and let sit about 15-20min.

                  Use whatever nut milk instead of soymilk- coconut would be best since it has a thicker viscous quality, or the almond/coconut from almond breeze, or cashew, or whatever.

                  But at the end of the day it is a cupcake- aka a delicious indulgent dessert you have a small portion of rarely.
                  A not yummy "healthy" cupcake is just sad.....

          3. Look up recipes for Wacky Cake. It was developed during World War II when there was food rationing. No eggs, butter or milk is used in the recipes. It does use oil, vinegar and water.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Antilope

              hey thanks i am aware of this. king arthur flour does a version called their "cake pan cake".

              the point with this post and this whole idea was i was trying to eliminate what i could to just make it "better" for lack of a better word. there is already going to be 1 cup oil or vegan shortening in the frosting so why not try and eliminate what you can in the cake part? i only thought of this because i heard that you can do this with for example boxed cake mixes, take out the butter eggs and oil and use club soda..

              thanks anyway i will look into the wacky cake

              1. re: curiousaboutcafos

                Cake mixes often already have some fat (typically partially hydrogenated oils) and dry milk powder in them, however.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  yes unfortunately.

                  but i first heard of this while reading a review for an organic cake with no hydrogenated oils (arrowhead mills chocolate) and the reviewer supposedly had already tried it with good results.

                  i'm the kind of person who doesn't really analyze my desserts too much so maybe i'm more of the type of person this substitution would work for vs a butter/cream loving person.
                  thanks though.. :)

            2. with regards to this specific recipe, the vinegar reacts with the baking powder to provide extra leavening. it's a somewhat common substitute for eggs, the combo of baking soda and vinegar/lemon juice. don't remove it. in fact, the combo of vinegar and soy milk is actually a vegan mimic for buttermilk.

              without eggs, you are wont to replace their function. they operate in both leavening and structural capacity. the leavening is accounted for by the baking soda/ vinegar combo. the soy milk, due to its protein, is going to provide some structural contribution, as well as a little bit of flavor support.

              without the oil, the cake will not have a tender, moist crumb, as mentioned. and with just water, eliminating the soy milk, the cake will have less flavor, and be over tougher. it will take longer for the cake to set, producing a very much less than optimal product.

              you can substitute all the oil with unsweetened applesauce (no need to alter sugar), which produces an alternate texture to normal cupcakes, not bad, just slightly different. you can also sub half of the oil with applesauce.

              1. Subbing soda for oil in baked goods is a Weight Watchers thing.