Can you taste the difference?

(Kindergarten through 5th grade)

A great project for both those with food allergies and those without is to look at the roles of ingredients in foods and try to find substitutes. It is time to put your chef hat on!

Do you ever wonder if food tastes the same or different when made with a substitute for an allergen? Let’s learn about substitutes for baking with milk and eggs.


Eggs are used in baking for two reasons. One is to bind, or hold, ingredients together. The other is leavening, which means to make baked goods rise. To avoid eggs, a good substitute must be found.

Here are many commonly-used substitutes for one egg:

1 1/2 T. water, 1 1/2 T. oil, 1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
1 packet plain gelatin, 2. T. warm water, mixed right before use

These egg substitutes can be doubled or tripled when a recipe calls for 2 or 3 eggs, but they don’t work very well for 4 or more eggs.


Milk is one of the easiest ingredients to substitute when baking. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, you can use 1 cup of the following:

When baking with a milk substitute, the food may come out slightly different. For example, soy milk may make a food appear darker.

Project Directions

  1. Now let’s try baking a cake from scratch without milk or eggs. Have a parent help you find a cake recipe, and then use the substitutions above to make the cake. Have someone take pictures of you while you are baking.
  2. Call in "taste testers" and share samples of your cake creation. After the "taste testers" have finished eating, take a poll. Make copies of the following survey and have them fill it out.

Can you taste the difference? Taste Test Survey


Name___________________ Age________

Could you taste what ingredients weren’t in the cake?


What are the new ingredients in the cake?


Did you like the cake?


What You Learned

Did your taste testers say what you thought they would? Were they able to guess what ingredients were missing from the cake?

Make a display board with the pictures you took of your taste testers and the answers to the survey questions, and make sure to include your thoughts too. Describe what the taste testers said and the looks on their faces when they tasted the cake! Now you can share what you found with others.

Food Allergy Cooking Tip

It is very important for everyone around you to be careful when preparing food. This is important to understand because if an allergen, such as peanuts, touches the allergen-free food, someone could have an allergic reaction. This is called cross-contact. Make sure you always wash your baking utensils in soapy, hot water, and always wash your hands before handling food ingredients.

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