What can I use instead of…?

Empty supermarket shelves require some kitchen creativity

It’s frustrating when you want to bake but don’t have some of the ingredients. You don’t want to make an unnecessary trip out to the supermarket at the moment, and you’re not sure they’ll have what you need when you get there anyway! Or maybe you’re in the supermarket and they don’t have exactly what’s on your shopping list. Here are some substitutions you might be able to make.

Buttermilk – You can substitute plain yoghurt. If you only have thick yoghurt you can think it with a little milk, or water. If you don’t have yoghurt you can use 240mls (1 cup) of milk mixed well with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

Butter – If your cake calls for butter and there is none, use coconut oil or vegetable oil instead. 

Dark brown sugar – Use ¼ cup of treacle to 1 cup of granulated sugar, or 1 tablespoon of treacle to 1 cup of light brown sugar.

Double Cream – Evaporated milk can be substituted 1:1, or use 120mls milk + 80mls melted butter.

Caster sugar – If you have granulated sugar you can blend it in a mini-blender, but it’s best reserved for muffins and coarser textured cakes rather than fine sponges.

Eggs – amazingly you can get away without eggs in some cakes. Try substituting ¼ cup of mashed banana or ¼ cup vegetable oil. If substituting two eggs I would mix the banana option with the vegetable oil option. You can also use 1 tablespoon of ground or milled linseed /flax seed to three tablespoons of water to replace one egg. Mix together and leave to stand for a few minutes. This is a well-known vegan substitute for eggs which can come in useful if you keep a pack of ground linseed on standby.

Baking powder – mix ¼ teaspoon baking soda with ½ teaspoon cream of tartar to make 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Vinegar – replace the vinegar with the same amount of lemon or lime juice, or double the amount of white wine.

Yoghurt – sour cream and buttermilk are interchangeable when baking.

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