These vegan ladyfingers are delicious, easier to make than you might think and so versatile!
Crisp on the outside, slightly soft in the middle, wonderfully light and delicately vanilla flavoured; these sponge cookies are perfect for making tiramisu, trifle, or just for dunking in coffee.
What Are Ladyfingers?:
Ladyfingers, also known as savoiardi, sponge fingers or boudoir are a meringue based sponge cake biscuit with a long finger shape (hence the name).
They are very light, with a crisp, crackly exterior and may be crisp all the way through, or slightly soft on the inside. They are used as a component in several desserts, most notably tiramisu.
Currently there are no shop bought vegan ladyfingers available (that I'm aware of) as they are traditionally very heavily egg based. After a fair bit of testing however I am very pleased with this vegan version; they are very close to original ladyfingers with just the right texture for dunking.
They are quite straightforward to make, but this isn't the easiest recipe so I recommend having a good read through this post and checking out the step-by-step photos before you start.
Aquafaba: This is what replaces the usual whisked eggs, forming the base of the ladyfingers. Aquafaba is just the liquid from a tin of beans (usually chickpeas) but I recommend using OGG's aquafaba, or simmering the aquafaba from two tins of chickpeas until it has reduced by almost half, and then chilling it until it is cold before using. I always get more consistent results using one of these two options rather than just using aquafaba straight from the tin. There is no substitute for this ingredient.
Baking powder: While ladyfingers don't usually contain any baking powder, aquafaba is less stable than whisked eggs so I add a bit just to help give a bit of lift.
Cream of tartar: Adding an acid such as cream of tartar to the aquafaba when whisking it helps to stabilise it and achieve stiff peaks. You can use lemon juice or vinegar instead.
Sugar: You will need both caster (superfine) sugar and icing (powdered) sugar. The caster sugar can be swapped for granulated but make sure that you whisk it into the meringue really well so that it dissolves.
The ladyfingers are sprinkled first with caster (or granulated) sugar and then dusted with icing (powdered) sugar before baking. This step is very important to give them that nice crisp crust so don't skip it.
Oil: These don't contain a lot of fat, but a little bit of oil is needed to replace the fat that would usually be provided by the egg yolks. Any kind of neutral oil will work but I prefer to use olive.
Plain flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour. I have not tried making these gluten-free so I can't predict how they would turn out. If you want to give it a try, I would swap both the plain flour and semolina for an equal weight of GF flour blend and add ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum.
Semolina: Some classic ladyfinger recipes contain fine semolina to help absorb excess moisture. As aquafaba doesn't 'set' like egg does, this seemed like a good idea for this vegan version. You can swap it for more plain flour if you can't get hold of any, but I do recommend using it if possible.
Cornflour (cornstarch): This gives the ladyfingers a better, lighter texture.
Vanilla: This is the main flavour of these vegan ladyfingers so use a good quality extract if possible. I like Nielssen Massey.
How to Make Vegan Ladyfingers:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Step 1: Sift together the dry ingredients well. Set aside.
Step 2: Place the aquafaba and cream of tartar in a large, spotlessly clean bowl. Whisk with an electric whisk until it forms soft peaks.
Step 3: Whisk in the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition. Continue to whisk until the meringue is thick and glossy and forms stiff peaks.
Step 4: Add half of the dry ingredients and fold through very gently with a spatula until mostly combined.
Step 5: Add the oil and vanilla extract and fold through a couple of times, it does not need to be fully combined.
Step 6: Add the other half of the dry ingredients and gently fold in until just combined.
Step 7: Transfer the batter to a large piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle.
Step 8: Pipe lines of the batter well spaced apart on a couple of lined baking sheets, about 2.5 cm wide and 8-10 cm long.
Sprinkle with caster sugar then dust with icing sugar.
Step 9: Bake for 15-20 minutes, then reduce the oven heat and bake for another 10-15 minutes if you want extra crunchy ladyfingers.
All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
Make sure that your bowl and mixer are completely clean and grease-free when whisking the aquafaba. It doesn't like fats and any hint of greasiness may prevent it from whisking up properly.
Sift the dry ingredients! You really don't want to overmix the batter once you add the dry ingredients to the aquafaba, so sift the dry ingredients together well first so that they are fully combined and free of lumps.
When adding the dry ingredients to the whipped aquafaba, be gentle and do not overmix. Stop mixing as soon as the flour is fully incorporated into the aquafaba.
Use a large piping bag to pipe the ladyfingers. I prefer to use large disposable ones, which you can either fit with a large round nozzle, or simply snip the tip off.
You will need an electric whisk or stand mixer to whisk the aquafaba; I really do not recommend attempting to do this by hand, it will take a long time and you will end up with a very tired arm!
While these vegan ladyfingers are quite straightforward to make, this isn't a very forgiving recipe. For the best results follow the recipe closely, weigh your ingredients and make it exactly as written. Changing any of the ingredients could affect the outcome of the ladyfingers.
These vegan ladyfingers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. They are quite sensitive to humidity and may soften slightly over time.
Yes, they can be frozen in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost at room temperature before using. If they have softened slightly upon defrosting, bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 150C/130C fan/300F/gas mark 2 to dry them out a bit.
Serving Suggestions For Vegan Ladyfingers:
- Use as the base for vegan tiramisu or vegan pumpkin tiramisu.
- As the cake layer in trifle instead of sponge cake.
- Served with vegan chocolate mousse or vegan chocolate orange pots.
- Decorate a cake with them.
- Or just serve them as they are, they are great for dunking in tea, coffe or hot chocolate.
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
All images and content on Domestic Gothess are copyright protected. If you want to share this recipe then please do so by using the share buttons provided. Do not screenshot or post the recipe or content in full.
- electric whisk or stand mixer
- large piping bag
- 200 g (1 ½ cups + 2 Tablespoons) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 50 g (5 Tablespoons) fine semolina
- 20 g (2 packed Tablespoons) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 120 g (½ cup) aquafaba
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 125 g (½ cup + 2 Tablespoons) caster (superfine) sugar plus extra for dusting
- 3 Tablespoons oil (I use olive)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- icing (powdered) sugar for dusting
- Ppreheat the oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/350℉/gas mark 4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Sift together the plain flour, semolina, cornstarch and baking powder well. Set aside.
- Place the aquafaba and cream of tartar in a large, spotlessly clean bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat with an electric whisk until it forms soft peaks.
- Add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition. Continue to whisk until the meringue is thick and glossy and forms stiff peaks.
- Add half of the dry ingredients and fold through very gently with a spatula until mostly combined, it doesn't matter if there are still some dry patches. The meringue will deflate a bit, this is normal.
- Add the oil and vanilla extract and fold through a couple of times, it does not need to be fully combined.
- Add the other half of the dry ingredients and gently fold in until just combined, with no dry patches; do not over-mix. The batter should be thick, sticky and full of air bubbles.
- Transfer the batter to a large piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Alternatively you can just snip the end off of a disposeable one.
- Pipe lines of the batter well spaced apart on the baking sheets, about 2.5 cm (1 in) wide and 8-10 cm (3-4 in) long.
- Sprinkle with caster sugar then generously dust with icing sugar using a fine mesh sieve.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. This will produce ladyfingers that are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. For drier, crunchier cookies, recuce the oven temperature to 150℃/130℃ fan/300℉/gas mark 2 and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the ladyfingers to a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely. Once cool, store in an airtight container.
- While these vegan ladyfingers are quite straightforward to make, this isn't a very forgiving recipe. For the best results follow the recipe closely, weigh your ingredients and make it exactly as written. I recommend reading through the post above and checking out the step-by-step photos before you start.
- All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
- Use a large piping bag to pipe the ladyfingers. I prefer to use large disposable ones, which you can either fit with a large round nozzle, or simply snip the tip off.