Substitutes In Baking

In baking, substituting means replacing an ingredient for another. A basic know-how of substitutes is essential in baking; it makes life much easier. Here’s a list of substitutes, of which some are my own and others I’ve compiled from the Internet (all of them are tried and tested).

  • Butter and oil are completely interchangeable in cakes, not cookies, despite what Google says. In simpler words, if you need 1/2 cup butter, you can use 1/2 cup oil instead and vice versa.
  • You can use an equal amount of pancake or maple syrup instead of vanilla essence.
  • Another Google-defying fact is that I’ve considered vanilla essence and vanilla extract completely interchangeable all my life, and there was no earth-shattering collapse of my cakes when I used one of them in place of another. There might have been a very subtle change in taste, yes, but nothing really noticeable happened.
  • If necessary, you can use wheat flour instead of white flour. The cake might be slightly heavier, but overall it gives an equally good taste. (I haven’t tested out vice versa, though.)
  • Baking soda has four times the power of baking powder. So if you need 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Here’s a conversion chart to make things easier.
Baking sodaBaking powder
1/4 tsp1 tsp
1/2 tsp2 tsp
1 tsp4 tsp
  • If you don’t have cornflour, use twice the needed amount in wheat flour. So if you need 1 tsp cornflour, use wheat flour instead.
  • In icing, you can try using chocolate instead of cocoa powder. It gives a richer taste.
  • You can use 1/4 cup yogurt in place of 1 egg (I suspect this is how people make ‘eggless cakes’). I haven’t tried this substitution though.

A last tip: If you’re like me and have random craving-attacks for chocolate cake, it’s best to keep more than one recipe handy so that you can whip up one in case you don’t have ingredients for the other. (By the way, there are three chocolate cake recipes on my blog if you need them xP)

Oh and oneee more last thing: I once made a chocolate cake without baking powder. It was flat as a pancake, yes, but frankly it tasted better!

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