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Common baking substitutes to save the day

We have all been there! It’s 10 pm, and you’re busy baking for your little one’s class party when you realise you’ve run out of, well, cake flour. Don’t fret! Here are the most crucial baking substitutes to save the day when you find yourself in a pinch. 

Dry ingredients

Cake flour

Who knew you don’t need cake flour for cake? Bread flour combined with cornstarch works just as well. Remove two tablespoons of bread flour per 1 cup and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.  

Baking powder 

Baking powder is crucial in the baking process as it is a leavening agent. It helps baked goods rise by adding gas bubbles. If you run out of baking powder, mix ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda for every teaspoon of baking powder you may need. Don’t have cream of tartar? Replace it with another acid – a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice will work perfectly. 

Also read: 4 baking tips you may not have known about

Brown sugar 

If you’re a frequent baker, you are bound to run low on sugar at some point. A simple replacement for brown sugar is a mixture of granulated sugar with a dark syrup like maple syrup or agave nectar. To get 1 cup of brown sugar, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons of syrup and blend in a food processor. 

Wet ingredients 


If you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge, use this buttermilk cheat and make your own in a matter of minutes. For every cup of buttermilk, use 1 cup of milk with a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon. You can even thin plain yoghurt with water until it’s pourable. 


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No eggs? No problem! Mayonnaise is your best bet if you’ve run out. It’s made with eggs and will help your bakes rise and give moisture and structure. Three tablespoons will replace one egg in your batter. Alternatively, (if you don’t mind the taste of banana) mash ¼ of a cup to replace 1 egg. 

Also read: Cooking and baking jargon to add to your vocab

Photography: Shutterstock

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