Did having an exorbitant amount of free time at home during quarantine inspire you to start baking for an army? It sure did for me! I started baking bread, cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies, brownies, cakes… you name it. One of the biggest moments of panic I had was when all the stores ran out of the essentials – mainly yeast, flour, and butter. But luckily, we live in the age of the internet, so of course, I went online for a solution. Suddenly, a world that I had never fully explored before revealed itself to me: alternative baking ingredients! Woo!
Some of these I had heard of before, when I was “trying out” eating plant-based, like using a flax and water mixture as an egg replacement. Others were new to me, and some blew my mind! I’ve put together a list of replacements for popular baking ingredients, and how they are typically used. I would note that unless you are a pro at home baking, I wouldn’t expect that every item will be a perfect 1-to-1 replacement for an ingredient in your favourite recipe. This is only a guideline, and many ingredients require further tweaking when making substitutions.
Greek Yoghurt for Cream: lower in fat and higher in protein, but it still provides a smooth creaminess needed for recipes.
Almond Flour for Regular Flour: works well in many types of pastries and it can be mixed with regular flour or used alone.
Apple Sauce for Sugar: replace the amount of sugar with applesauce, and decrease the amount of liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of applesauce used.
Flax Seeds for Eggs: mix 1 tablespoon of flax seed with 2 1/2 tablespoons warm water to replace one egg.
Cacao Nibs for Chocolate Chips: for no added sugar or dairy! Cacao nibs contain a bit of a crunch, so they also work well as a substitute for nuts.
Banana for Oil: one cup of banana for one cup of oil in baking recipes. Works best with lighter cakes and baked goods.
Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans: there are many brownie and blondie recipes out there that use black beans, sweet potatoes, or yams instead of flour! Many gluten-free treats can be made using these simple and cheap items.
These are some of the most widely used “in a pinch” substitutes. Many vegan baking recipes out there use these ingredients as well as a plethora of very creative methods in baking and cooking to emulate the tastes we know and love.
Here are a few ingredients that are often used in icings and mousses:
Aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas)