Intensely Baking

Black Forest Cake with Fluffy Vanilla Buttercrem

Did I just forget I had this blog?  Sometimes I wonder and marvel at the other oh-so-prolific bloggers.  The past few weeks have been indeed busy — writing and filming episodes of Miyoko’s Kitchen, teaching two week-long vegan intensive courses, working on my vegan cheese book.  And then suddenly, it’s been six weeks since the last post.

The intensives were fun and intense.  Guess the name says it all.  Not only I, but all of the students were tired at the end of each day.  The first week was vegan baking.  My approach is classic, so we made a lot of European-style pastries  — Black Forest Cake, Tiramisu, Gateau des Crepes.  The desserts were also made without any palm oil, which has become a vegan favorite these days, but a fat I prefer to avoid not only because it is highly saturated but because the jury is still out about the environmental impact of palm plantations.  Liquid oils, or sometimes even no oil, can yield fabulous results that do not fall short in flavor or appearance. One of the biggest hits was the Fluffy Vanilla Buttercreme, the base for most of our icings, which has no powdered sugar or palm margarine. The students also got a sneak peak into my vegan cheesebook (slated for publication in March 2012) when they learned to make recipes like vegan mascarpone and cream cheese, from which we made tiramisu and a rich, dense cheesecake.  Here are a few more pictures to tempt you…

But I think the star of the week was my flaxseed meringue, which is an omega-3 packed mound of white fluff that can be folded into mousses and terrines and piled on top of pies, just like the stuff made from eggwhites.  This is just plain fun and amazing, sort of like a science experiment.  Basically, flaxseeds are simmered for  20 – 30 minutes, strained, and the resulting goop chilled.  Afterwards, it whips up just like meringue.  Here’s a photo:

Light, fluffy, airy, and wonderful for lightening up tofu-based puddings.  The only shortfall is that it doesn’t hold up to heat, so you can’t bake it.  But I’m working on it!  And just because I can’t hold back, here’s the recipe:

1/3 cup flaxseeds
3 cups water
Combine the water and flaxseeds in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes until it is thick and gloppy looking. Strain through a sieve. You should have about ½ cup.
Allow to cool completely. This can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.
When you are ready to whip it, place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high for about 7 – 8 minutes until it resembles meringue. Fold gently into puddings, mousses, or purees to lighten and add an airy texture. If desired, you can sweeten it with a little agave or powdered sugar to taste.
Alright, now I’ve told you a bit about my vegan baking intensive. Tomorrow, I’ll try to be a good blogger and share some experiences from the cooking intensive.



  1. Fascinating! How much sweetener can you add before the meringue loses its body? I’m surprised that this technique hasn’t made its way into mainstream vegan cuisine yet. It seems like a blank canvas for experimentation.

  2. Jeanie, you can add enough sweetener to make it sweet enough, although a liquid sweetener should be used with a bit more discretion. However, unless you are going to serve it by itself as a topping, it’s better not to sweeten it but to fold it into something else (like a pudding) that is already sweet but needs lightening up.

  3. I have made this a few times and I love it! Blogged about it today – you are my meringue hero!

  4. I have so failed at this, if I cook for 20 minutes, the gel won’t strain….I can only strain the gel after 5-7 minutes of cooking and I get 1 cup of gel instead of the 1/2 cup per the instructions Will not whip as shown…please help!!

    Will this work in almond macaroons?

    • Terry, it sounds like the heat is too high. Clearly, if you get 1 cup of gel, then it hasn’t reduced enough after 5 – 7 minutes, but too much after 20. Try something in between, or use lower heat. What type of sieve are you using? The strained liquid should be very goopy and thick. No, it won’t work in macaroons. Unfortunately, it is only good in cold applications, such as mousse or whipped toppings (you can whisk into whipped coconut whipped cream, cutting down on the fat and calories!). It has a neutral flavor profile.

  5. I also have the same problem. I boiled to achieve the thick goo but then I had a terrible time trying to strain the seeds out. What kind of strainer did you use and what method?

    • Mindy, just like Terry, there is a happy medium between the 5-7 minutes she mentions and 20 minutes. I use a sieve, and I keep checking in other words, I pour it through the sieve and measure it a few times as it gets close to looking like a half cup.

  6. This is fascinating, thank you for this recipe! Meringue has always been something I’ve missed. I was wondering if you had to use whole flaxseeds or if cold milled flaxseeds would work?

  7. I assume you would have to use ground flaxseed? Or does it really blend up with whole, boiled flaxseeds?! I’m intrigued, and everyone is buzzing about this!

    • No, you use whole flaxseeds. The idea is to separate the goop from the seeds. Usually, what’s called flax seed goop is a mixture of ground seeds with water. Cooking them gets the mucilaginous material out of the seed without any of the actual seed so that you get a clear goop.

  8. I think I understand now. You have to actually push the goo through a sieve to leave the hulls behind, right?

    • Yes, but you don’t need to push it through. It will drain on its own, but sometimes requires a little stirring to make it go down.

  9. This is an exciting development!

    Any idea as to how many egg whites this recipe is equal to?

  10. Wow–this is such a cool idea. Now I just need a use-case so I can try it out at home!

  11. I get a cup of gooey liquid… should I let it simmer longer? It’s more than 20 minutes already…

  12. Hi Miyoko,

    I tried the flax meringue twice, and it becomes white and airy but still liquid-y when I whip it. I am using a hand held immersion blender. Is that why? Or do i need to chill the mixture more?

    • Veggie Wedgie, you need to incorporate air into it, not puree it. In other words, you need a beater, not a blender. In other words, something like a Kitchen Aid electric mixer, or electric whisk-type of device (hand held will work, too). The immersion blender doesn’t whip. I’ve whipped it at room temperature, so it’s not the chilling.

      • Kanchan Agrawal says:

        I am having the same problem..i am using a hand beater.. Still it remains airy even after whipping it for 20-25 mins..
        Wht am i doing wrong ? Please help

        • Yes, a hand beater makes it a bit hard. A stand mixer is more effective. Try freezing it first — let it thaw a bit then whip.

  13. Great! I will try it again with my mum’s electric whisk! thank you for the rapid response 🙂

  14. Is it possible that this “meringue” would stabilize if something like cornstarch were added as it’s whipped? Enough that it might be possible to cook with it? Also, do you suppose a similar goop made from white chia seeds would whip?

    • For using cold the meringue could probably be stabilized by adding some vegan gelatin as it’s whipped.

    • Has anyone tried with the cornstarch or gelatin yet?

      • You wouldn’t want to use gelatin, as it’s not vegan, but I’ve added agar, which works. You can also whip with sugar and dry it out in the oven, no higher than 250 or 300, to make baked meringues. It falls at higher heat.

        • How much agar powder/flakes do you add? I presume you boil it together with flax seeds, or do you add it at a later stage?

          • There is no agar in the recipe. What are you trying to make?

          • Just trying to stabilize the foam so it can be folded/whipped into chocolate mousse mixture to lighten it. In what recipe were you using agar in flax goo? I’d be curious to hear about your experimenting.

  15. Is it possible to add any flavour? Chocolate or peanut butter even?

  16. can you bake with this (eg. lemon meringue pie)? i made the flax meringue, and it was truly incredible!!! i then tried to bake with it, and it turned out a lot like souffle humor from the 70s 🙂 it rose like a balloon, and when i took it out of the oven, went completely flat. the only thing is, i ended up whipping it twice, cause i’d had it in the fridge all day (stupid, i know), so it was never as stiff as it was initially. any thoughts??

    • Did you add sugar? Whip it with sugar, and it will hold up. But use a low temperature, no higher than 250 – 300.

  17. Have you tried making vegan macarons with this? It seems like it would work, I’ve missed those cookies since becoming vegan…

    • Yes, you have to bake at very low heat – 200 degrees F or so.

      • …does that mean that it holds up it’s airy fluffy consistency if one manages to keep the oven temperature below 200 degrees and basically dries it (instead of baking it)… searching very much for a French meringue substitute

  18. Shahar D says:

    Hey! what a great idea.
    I wonder, what if you try to whisk it with hot sugar syrup and agar? so it can be a marshmallow.

  19. Thanks for sharing – your recipes are great!

  20. I know you said you can’t bake with this since it loses the “airyness” in the heat of the oven. However, I’m wondering if this would work in waffles. My wife has an egg allergy but loves waffles, so I would definitely like to find a way to use this in a waffle recipe if it would work. Thanks!

    • I use flaxseed goo in waffles all the time, and it works beautifully. Also, when I say you can’t bake with it, what I mean is that it won’t hold up the fluffiness. I do bake with it in certain recipes, such as eclairs, a recipe that is coming out in the September/October issue of VegNews in my article on French food.

  21. This sounds like a great recipie as I never imagined I could never have meringue as I’ve been a vegetarian my entire life! I tried the recipie twice the first with ground flax seed and the second with flax seeds. The first didn’t stran properly so I discarded it but the deco time around I made around 3/4 cup. Thinking it was to much as u should only get 1/2 a cup I quickly put back in the pot on the stove and got a gloppy 1/2 cup of goo. My question was what is the consistency supposed to be like because I think my mixture is to thick to beat also I don’t have a stand mixer so i was beating it with a whisk how long should it take if I were to beat it by hand?

    • You should use whole flax. The idea behind this meringue is so that you get the benefits of flax without the flavor. Flaxseed goop made with the ground flax tastes strongly of flax.

      You should get a 1/2 cup of goop, which will be like thick egg whites. But beating by hand — never done it. It will take a long time! Hope you have strong arms!

  22. I tried this recipie a third time and again it did not work. I used whole flaxseeds and then beet The mixture with an electric mixer and after five min there was still no increase In volume. How long should i be beating the goo before i see anything (whiteness foam etc.)? Am i missing a step or not beating long enough To see a growth in volume?

    • As the recipe says, it needs to be beaten on high for 7 to 8 minutes, longer if your electric mixer is on the slower side. But you should see foam after 3 to 4 minutes. It does need to be chilled before using, so it may not whip if you whip it just after straining.

  23. I used the flax goo to create french toast yesterday and it was amazing! I stopped simmering at closer to 1 cup than half a cup. After it was refrigerated I whipped it by hand with Almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla. It seemed like it wasn’t working at first, but then I just turned up the pan a little bit higher and viola!

    Thank you for sharing this technique so that my family full of allergies can play around with long missed favorites from our past!

  24. This sounds great and just what i’ve been looking for. Do you know if you can use ground flaxseeds, or do they have to be whole?

  25. This is a great vegan alternative for making delicious meringues!

    Many thanks for sharing the recipe. My readers are going to appreciate it too!

  26. Would I be able to use this for Swiss Buttercream? Kind of like a regular Swiss Buttercream that uses egg based meringue for it’s structure….

    I want to adapt a recipe for Swiss Buttercream

    Say for example with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen:

    1 cup sugar
    4 large egg whites
    26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    But instead of 4 large egg whites I would weigh out the flax goop to match the amount of egg white required.

    Have you ever tried making swiss buttercream with this?

    It would be
    1 cup raw sugar
    however many ounces of flax goop to match the egg whites
    3 sticks + 2tbsp Earth balance or Coconut Oil
    and 1 tsp vanilla

    • Charity, I have two buttercreams in my upcoming cookbook, The Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples that are very European – no powdered sugar or shortening. I avoid Earth Balance – it’s too salty for buttercream.

      • Ah. sounds great. any idea on when I will be able to purchase the book? I really need to figure out how to make a stable vegan buttercream, I’m making my sister’s wedding cake in October and a recipe or some insight would really help.

        • Charity, What flavor buttercream are you looking for? I have a treatise on traditional, European-style buttercreams coming out in my new book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry, coming out next year. Unfortunately, I can’t release recipes from that. But if you like chocolate, look at the Buche de Noel recipe for a simple, stable, rich, but not cloyingly-sweet buttercream recipe here.

          • Thank you for pointing that out. I’m sure I could probably work something out with the recipe. I’m not exactly sure what flavor my sister wants as of yet, but once I figure it out I’ll experiment a bit with it.

          • Next year??? nOOOOOOoOoO

  27. sandibfree says:

    speaking of making mayonnaise… Can the flax gel goop be made by simmering almond milk with the WHOLE flax seed and follow the mayo recipe accordingly?

  28. This is perhaps a very stupid question but here I go:
    Can I keep the remaining ”soaked/gooped” flaxseed? It breaks my heart to discard them!!!!!!!!
    Could I use them let’s say… in porridge the next morning?
    Thank you xo

    • It’s not stupid at all! This Will be in my upcoming book, but I actually make them into crackers. I flavor them, spread them thin, and bake ata low temperature. They for delicate flax crackers that are delicious.

  29. Hi THere

    dont suppose you have managed to get to the bottom of making this into actual meringues yet have you?

    • Yes, recipe will be in my next book. But it’s a bit tricky. Some people have good results, and others don’t. So you might have to try it a couple of times.

  30. I just made this, it works marvelously! How can I store this? How long can I keep it in the fridge? Should I freeze it? Thanks.

    • You can refrigerate it for a few days or freeze it, depending on your use. Have fun! I’ll have recipes using this in my new book, The Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples.

  31. Angela Willis says:

    Could you mix this with a palm or beet sugar and flavoring, and pipe it into macaroons, using a dehydrator?
    Also, does this have a meringue or “Angel Food” taste to it?

  32. lipaa mirgh shah says:

    if i want to do a profesional vegan baking course than where can i do it in india mumbai.

    • I don’t know of anything in India, but if you can get to New York, Fran Costigan teaches a wonderful course at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School.

  33. Melissa K. says:

    Hi, I just started reading through your blog…fantastic! Can’t wait to try your latest mozzarella recipe. Thanks to your blog, i am even ready to make vegan yogurt!

    So, regarding this meringue made from flax seeds…have you ever tried it with chia seeds? Someone asked you but there was no reply. Thank you in advance!

  34. Angela M. Cable says:

    So, if one whipped it say, halfway or so, and then started drizzling in oil, would mayonnaise result? Maybe with some powdered soy lecithin to emulsify?

  35. Isabelle says:


    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    I am wondering: could it be used in a vegan cake batter to make the cake fluffier? I read on some websites that beaten eggwhites can make a can fluffier… What do you think?

    Thanks again for sharing. I still have no clue why the heck this is not yet known in mainstream vegan cooking. I am looking forward to lighten my avocado chocolate puddings! 😀


    • This has baking applications, which I address in my upcoming cookbook, The Homemade Vegan Pantry, the Art of Making Your Own Staples (spring 2015). In it, I address how to make meringue cookies from it, as well as eclairs. But you can’t bake it at high heat in the same capacity you would beaten egg whites. That being said, you can make very fluffy cake WITHOUT egg whites — I have a few recipes coming up in my new book.

  36. Hmmm … a video of the whipped flax seed would be very helpful. I keep getting a goop filled withe flax seed shells. 🙁

    • That sounds like a great idea. But it sounds like the problem you’re having is that you’re not straining the seeds. After boiling them, you have to strain them. Have you tried that?

      • I did … I’m giving it another try this weekend … maybe add some stabilizers so I can use it for french macarons.
        Perhaps I did not boil them long enough?

        • If you have seeds in your mixture, it sounds like your strainer has big holes. If you use a sieve and make sure nothing spills over from the sides, you won’t get seeds in your goop.

        • Rupali Davda says:

          Hi! Can u please suggest a recipe for french macaron using the flax seed meringue.
          Thank you

  37. Please help! This is impossible to strain, and I didn’t even reduce it all the way to half a cup. I simmered for twenty minutes, it’s nice and gooey, but it will not go through and strainer small enough to catch the seeds, like at all. Did I possibly do something wrong to give it this texture? It basically just sticks together, so it can’t go through the strainer.

    • Add a bit more water and recoil for a minute, then strain again. The heat may have been too high for 20 minutes. It sounds like too much water evaporated.

  38. Hi, I tried this recipe. Unfortunately I boiled the flax seeds on medium heat instead of simmering it. So when it came to 1/2 cup, it was a very very thick gel with seeds stuck to it. I couldn’t even strain it. So i added plenty of hot water to it so it became something like honey. Then I could strain it. But it came to more than 2 cups of gel. Now I can’t even whip it. I whipped it for 25 mins but still it remains white and foamy. It is not coming upto stiff peaks. what do i do? is this gel all a waste? is it possible to repair it? pls help. thanks

    • Cora, indeed, there is a learning curve to this. Some people get it right away, and other times, it proves to be a challenge. It can depend on the seeds the. mselves, especially if they are old seeds. But if you dilute it to 2 cups, it certainly won’t whip up. Try boiling down the liquid after straining, and then chill it very well (in the freezer until half- frozen). Then try whipping and see if it works.

  39. i tried this recipe. it didn’t work for me. I got it simmered down to 1 1/2cups. At that time itself it became very thick and I had no option but to strain it. When I whipped it, it got white and faomy but didn’t whip up into stiff peaks like yours. what to do? pls advise as I have that liquid with me still . Liquid and that gel.thanks

    • This is a bit tricky. It whips better if frozen first. It has to reduce to about 1/2 a cup or it won’t whip. It’s possible you had old seeds, which can do that sometimes. You can try simmering down what you have (the strained liquid) to a half-cup and see if it works. After it reduces, fully chill it (even partially freeze it) as that helps.

  40. Please help! I have tried this recipe three times and all that happens is the flax goo climbs up my beaters and doesnt whip! I am a cook with professional pastry experience who has made many egg meringues but have been vegan now for a year. Using a clean ceramic bowl, chilled, clean beaters, etc. It seems too thick so the third time I only reduced to 1 cup, still doesn’t work. Please help

  41. Figured out the problem. My home hand mixer was kinda slow, i switched mixers and got soft peaks right away. I was using the thinner version today but I’m boiling up a half cup batch right now, pretty sure this will work. Thanks!

    • Good — let me know how it turns out. Freezing it beforehand helps as well. I go into a lot of detail in my upcoming book, the Homemade Vegan Pantry, about how to use it.

  42. I have been trying to find out what the gloop that comes from making flax tea actually is as it is supposed to be very beneficial for suffers of gallbladder problems and so would be worth incorporating into recipes instead of eggs which obviously have a high fat content. If you know the answer to this I would be grateful if you could let me know. Many thanks

  43. I tried to make it (actually just stopped now) but my flax goop didn’t want to rise for some reason and I’ve been whipping for the last 20 minutes. Is there something that I missed?

    • It’s best to chill it thoroughly before whipping. Freeze overnight, then defrost briefly before whipping. Let me know how it goes.

    • You can definitely omit them. The oil, especially, is optional. It will get harder over time.

  44. Hi!! Two quick questions.
    1. Do you know *why* it doesn’t hold up to heat? What happens??
    2. Have you tackled the elusive vegan angel food cake? I’m determined to make it happen, but if you already have…. 🙂
    Thank you!!

    • Hi, Esther. There isn’t enough protein in it to congeal and hold up. But you can bake it at low temperatures. My newest book, THe Homemade Vegan Pantry, the Art of Making Your Own Staples, has recipes using it to make meringues, crackers, and eclairs. And no angel food cake yet!

  45. Hi Mioko; I am making Vegan stuffing for thanksgiving, trying to convert the family recipet

    – I wonder, can I make the gell out of flax and a week veggitable broth ? I would like the gell to have a flavor since it will also function to add moisture to the stuffing as well as a mild structure. What is your experieince,

    … and would would this also work with a fruit juice? Just looking for more options to cook and back for my Vegan family members.

    Thanks much!. M.

    • I’m sorry that I am so behind in my answers to this site. It’s too late for your holiday but for the future in case you make it again — I am not sure I understand your question. Are you trying to make a gelatin-type dish? If so, the flaxseed gel won’t work for that. Please explain.


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