These 10 Simple Swaps Will Make Your Baking So Much Better


Ever get halfway into baking a cake and realize that you are missing one of the ingredients? Or, maybe you have a recipe that you love, but feel so guilty making it due to the fat or calorie content. Time for a "swap," or a substitution. Here are 10 that you may even prefer to your regular recipes. (See also: 10 Indulgent Desserts That Are Actually Good for You)

1. Double the Benefits of Juicing

Like to make carrot-ginger juice in your juicer? Save the pulp! My regular muffin recipe calls for ¾ cup of milk; I just decrease that to â…“ and then use a cup of pulp. Talk about healthy and frugal.

2. Not-So-Many-Pounds Cake

The next time you make pound cake, lighten it a little with avocado. Try using ¼ cup of butter and ½ cup of mashed avocado instead of, well, the pound of butter. The result will be a moister, silkier texture — and you get the healthy benefits.

3. Buttermilk Makes It Better

I can always tell a baker (or a lover of fried chicken) if I open their refrigerator and find buttermilk. Just substitute buttermilk for the liquid in a boxed cake mix. You won't believe how much better the texture will be. I use low-fat buttermilk and it works well.

4. Yogurt

This swap works really well in a white cake mix, making a delicious lemony loaf. The yogurt makes it very light (and it will have fewer calories). Don't completely substitute yogurt for butter or oil, though. Taste of Home has these helpful guidelines:

  • When a recipe calls for butter, replace half the butter with half as much yogurt. For instance, instead of 1 cup butter, use ½ cup butter and ¼ cup yogurt.
  • When a recipe calls for shortening or oil, replace half the oil with ¾ the amount of yogurt. For example, instead of 1 cup oil, use ½ cup oil and ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons yogurt.

5. Reduce Those Chocolate Calories

Just substitute mini-morsels for full-size chocolate chips. You still get the chocolatey flavor, but just less of it.

6. Coffee Lover?

To a Devil's food cake mix, substitute cooled coffee for the water. That gives it a rich "mocha" flavor. I like to bake in a bundt pan and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

7. French Toast

My husband always adds a teaspoon of Angostura bitters, rather than vanilla, to the milk-egg mixture and then soaks the bread. This adds a flavor reminiscent of cloves and allspice.

8. Banana Bread

I like a really tropical flavored banana bread. To my regular recipe, I add 1½ teaspoons of coconut extract instead of vanilla. Then I top the dough with sweetened, flaked coconut before baking.

9. Chocolate-Orange Cake

Another great swap is to use orange juice in place of water in a chocolate cake mix. Drizzle with ganache; garnish with orange sections dipped in melted chocolate.

10. Get Rid of (Some) of the Guilt

Substitute applesauce for oil in a brownie mix. They will be a little drier, so plan to eat them immediately (joke).

The final word? Experiment! Take a look in your pantry and refrigerator; investigate using healthier substitutions.

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