Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tips and Tricks: Quick Baking Substitutions

I am really a baker at heart. I love to cook dinner most every night, and breakfast when time and occasion permit, but my heart belongs to cakes and breads and (to a lesser extent) cookies. {Oh my!}

Still, there is no more frustrating facet of baking than finding out halfway through whipping up a recipe that you don't have the fancier ingredients on hand. I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to me. Or how about this: I don't have the pantry space to store 5 different kinds of flour, nor am I interested in buying a whole bag of self-rising flour for just one recipe I rarely make, no matter how spectacular. I'm just not that dedicated, I guess...

Below I've listed a few handy substitutions you can use in a pinch using ingredients pretty much everyone always has in the cupboard:

  • 1 c. cake flour = 3/4 c. all-purpose flour + 2 Tbsp. corn starch

  • 1 c. self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 c. pastry flour = 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour + 2/3 c. cake flour (see above)

  • superfine/casters sugar = granulated white sugar put through a food processor until very fine (superfine, if you will)

  • 1 c. buttermilk = 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 c. of liquid

  • 1 c. whole milk = 1/2 c. evaporated milk + 1/2 c. water (might taste a tiny bit off, but once it's baked into your cake you won't know the difference)

Do you have any handy tips for substitutions in baking? Leave a comment and tell us about it!