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March 2022

How to Bake with Food Substitutes

H
ere, you’ll discover a number of tasty food alternatives to common baking ingredients that'll still make your sweet treats taste amazing!

Substitutes for Sugar in Cakes

Here are a few sugar alternatives you can take inspiration from when you’re baking your favourite cakes. 

Honey
Honey is rich in vitamins and nutrition. Honey also can help with inflammation and has antibacterial effects, keeping you fit and healthy for longer. Next time you’re baking, give it a try. If honey is out of the question, a similar substitute would be maple syrup. This works similar to honey but doesn’t have many of the same health benefits.

Mashed Banana
Bananas are rich in nutrients, especially potassium. This means they’ll keep you full for longer and give you the energy to get through the day. By mashing them up and adding them to your baking mixture, they can add a sweet flavour and bind your ingredients. This makes them a good alternative for butter as well. Although they can be used for cake (think banana cake and banoffee cake!), they also work in baked goods like cookies and brownies. Spend some time experimenting with bananas and see what you can create.

Applesauce
Applesauce can make an excellent sugar substitute and contains very few calories. Make sure to go for unsweetened applesauce though, as you don’t want to overpower the mixture. Adding applesauce doesn’t work for all baking, however. Make sure to reduce the liquid in the recipe you’re using by removing milk or water, depending on what you’re making.

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Flour Substitutes for Baking

White flour is the basic component for many baking recipes, here are a few substitutes you can try…

Almond Flour
Believe it or not, most nuts can be turned into an easy-to-use flour that is rich in nutrients. Almond nut is a particular favourite for most people and can add a rich flavour to your cakes and treats. If you have a high-speed blender at home, give almond flour a go! You might be pleasantly surprised.

Coconut Flour
If you’re looking for a tasty, gluten-free alternative to your standard white flour, why not try coconut flour? This is made from the flesh of a coconut and can make a great substitute for those looking to sweeten their mixture. You can’t bake with coconut flour how you normally would with regular flour. Due to the moisture it absorbs, you may need to add liquid to the mixture. Additionally, fluff the coconut flour with a fork before you use it, as it tends to clog together when wet.

Oat Flour
Oats are an excellent alternative to flour when you’re baking cakes. Oats have a ton of nutrients and are packed with fibre. Just remember that when you’re baking using oat flour, you may have to use more flour than usual. Oat flour is lighter than all-purpose, so to get a good rise on your baked goods, use a little more than normal.

Baking Substitutes for Butter and Oil

There are plenty of alternatives for binding agents like oil and butter, many of them dairy-free as well. Let’s take a look at some of these…

Avocado
Many of you will be familiar with this oily, buttery fruit. It is also dairy-free, allowing vegans to create delicious baked creations. By adding half a tablespoon of avocado for every tablespoon of butter, you’ll be on your way to making tasty cakes in no time.

Fig or Prune Puree
If you’re looking to swap out butter and add in a tasty, fruity flavour with added fibre and nutrients, figs or prune puree is something you need to try. Figs contain B6, copper, and fibre, and prunes help to battle inflammation. Do bear in mind that when you’re using fig or prunes as an alternative, make sure you’re baking darker goods. Chocolate and darker cakes work well here, as the puree’s natural colour will blend in.

Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt can be used as an effective substitute for butter. Greek yogurt contains high levels of protein and adds a tangy flavour if you’re not a fan of sweet treats. If you are going to use it, make sure you use full-fat yogurt though, as it will ensure your cake cooks consistently with the desired texture.

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One difficult substitute to make is chocolate. There aren’t a lot of ingredients that replace the delicious taste of creamy chocolate in a sponge. However, try using cocoa powder. It can be used as a suitable replacement for chocolate chunks. You will need to add 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of butter for every tablespoon of cocoa powder to give your cake a sweet taste. 

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