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The ultimate guide to baking substitutes


At Baking Mad, we believe baking is for everyone and every foodie deserves an awesome tasting bake. Whether you are wanting to veganise your bakes or are perhaps allergic to certain ingredients we have a few hints and tips to share when it comes to finding the perfect baking substitution and enjoy that ‘mmmmm’ with every bite.

How to substitute baking powder

If we have learnt anything over the last few months, it’s to get creative with ingredients when they aren’t available in store; one of these being baking powder.

The obvious suggestion is to use self-raising flour, which includes baking powder to give your baking a helping hand in the fluffy stakes. However, if this is not the option for you, we have a few other tricks up our sleeves.

A mix of buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda provides the same effect as baking powder. 122g of buttermilk and ¼ teaspoon of bicarb is a super simple substitute for 1 teaspoon of baking powder, commonly used in bakes such as Red Velvet Cakes.

Similar to buttermilk, natural yoghurt also has an acidic pH, so when mixed with bicarbonate of soda it is the perfect copycat to baking powder.

You will need to decrease the quantity of liquid in your bake to compensate for the buttermilk/natural yoghurt added to avoid a wet flop. Flavoured yoghurt will work, but plain is better to avoid any alterations to the flavour of your bake.

Is there a pot of cream of tartar lingering in your baking cupboard? Now could be its time to shine. Follow a ratio of 2:1 when replacing baking powder to achieve the same effect.

How to substitute eggs

Eggs are used in baking to bind, leaven, add moisture, flavour and improve appearance, helping with that golden freshly baked glow. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives should egg free baking be the choice for you.

Similarly to butter, substitutes such as apple sauce and mashed bananas are perfect stand ins. Commonly, bakers switch to ground flaxseeds, like we did in our vegan blueberry muffins recipe, or use chia seeds – 1 tablespoon of these mixed with 3 tablespoons of water is the equivalent to one egg.

Egg replacers such as aquafaba are also popular with 3 tablespoons becoming the perfect replacement for 1 egg or egg white.

One of our favourite alternatives is peanut butter, we love Proper Nutty Peanut Butter, and simply switching one egg for 3 tablespoons of the nutty stuff makes for a super delicious bake. 


How to substitute butter

Most cake recipes will recommend the use of butter, primarily as it is a leavening agent, which in layman’s terms means it makes your bakes super light and fluffy adding air to your cakes and bakes.

Good news though there are plenty of alternatives, that also bring the bonus of helping achieve your fruit and veg, 5 a day. Result.

Apple Sauce, Avocados and Mashed Bananas are all yummy swaps. These can be swapped on a 1:1 ratio but it’s worth being aware they may add extra moisture to your bakes, which can be counteracted by reducing other liquids in the recipe or adding a touch extra flour.

Top tip: when using avocados, you might want to trial it in a darker bake such as chocolate cake to cover up the tinge of green colour.

If you prefer to experiment with oil as an alternative, coconut oil can be used on a 1:1 ratio or alternatively for a more neutral flavour olive oil can be used at 3:4 ratio.

Margarine is also a fantastic option for recipes that call for melted butter and easy to find at your local supermarket.

How to substitute flour

Whether you can’t find your favourite baking flour, you’re contending with allergies or specific dietary requirements or simply fancy expanding your baking repertoire, there are a whole host of alternative flours available.

Almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa or chickpea; the options are endless.

For a gluten free alternative, buckwheat flour is an interesting substitute with a distinctive, nutty flavour and chewy texture that provides character to bakes. It makes for a perfect substitute in bread, vegan brownies and muffins thanks to its flavour and texture.

Teff flour provides as a great alternative too, offering an excellent rise and texture in your gluten free chocolate cakes, fruit cakes and banana bread.


How to substitute milk

Used the last drop of milk in your cuppa, lactose intolerant or following vegan diet? Nut milk could be the optimum choice for you. Almond, pistachio, or other nuts of this type can be easily swapped like for like in baking.

Soy and rice milk are also a viable option without affecting the outcome of the bake.

If just a splash is needed, oat milk can work, however more than that and oat milk might change the result of bake.

Whilst baking is a science and recipes should always be followed, each baker and their requirements are different and with a little experimentation and guidance recipes can be tailored to ensure that every baker gets to enjoy the fruit of their labour. Smiles guaranteed.