Baking & Desserts

Substitutions at a glance

Author: Canadian Living

Baking & Desserts

Substitutions at a glance

This story was originally titled "In a Pinch" in the May 2007 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

Your cake is half prepared when – too late! – you realize you’re out of baking powder. Or maybe you’ve got everything ready to simmer into a sauce but the fresh herbs you want just aren’t around. Well, don’t despair. This list solves some kitchen emergencies. Keep in mind that substituting means the dishes won’t turn out exactly the same way, but these guidelines will save the day for most recipes when the cupboard is bare.

Grains and cereals

For coating: 1 cup (250 mL) dry bread crumbs = 3/4 cup (175 mL) cracker crumbs or 1 cup (250 mL) crushed cornflakes.
1/4 tsp (50 mL) dry bread crumbs = 1 slice dry bread.

Seasonings

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh herbs = 1 tsp (5 mL) crushed dried.
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice = 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vinegar.
1 tsp (5 mL) dry mustard = 1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard (for wet mixtures).
1 tbsp (15 mL) prepared mustard = 1 tbsp (15 mL) dry mustard + 1 tsp (5 mL) each vinegar, cold water and granulated sugar (when volume as well as flavour is important, let stand for 15 minutes).
Dash hot pepper sauce = Pinch cayenne or hot pepper flakes.
2 tbsp (25 mL) soy sauce = 1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce + 2 tsp (10 mL) water + pinch salt.
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce = 1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce + dash each hot pepper sauce and lemon juice + pinch granulated sugar.
2 tbsp (25 mL) hoisin sauce = 2 tbsp (25 mL) oyster sauce or fish sauce (if hoisin sauce calls for less than 2 tbsp/25 mL, it can be omitted; if more than 2 tbsp/25 mL, the flavour is too important to substitute).
1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar = 1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar + pinch granulated sugar.

Alcohol

For sauces and gravy: 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine = 1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken stock; 1/2 cup (125 mL) red wine = 1/2 cup (125 mL) beef stock (omit salt in recipe; season at end).
1 cup (250 mL) beer (for cooking) =1 cup (250 mL) non-alcohalic beer or 1 cup (250 mL) stock.

Page 1 of 2 -- On page 2, find solutions to your worst baking and dessert disasters.


Substitutions in baking
Staples
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder = 1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda + 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cream of tartar.
For thickening: 1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour = 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) cornstarch.
For stabilizing egg whites: 1 tsp (5 mL) cream of tartar = 1 tsp (5 mL) vinegar or lemon juice.
1 cup (250 mL) sifted cake-and-pastry flour = 7/8 cup (220 mL) unsifted all-purpose flour.
1 cup (250 mL) unsifted all-purpose flour = 1 cup (250 mL) + 2 tbsp (25 mL) sifted cake-and-pastry flour.
1 cup (250 mL) self-rising cake-and-pastry flour (flour that already contains baking powder) = 7/8 cup (220 mL) all-purpose flour + 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder + 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt.
1 egg = 2 egg yolks.
1 egg in batter (for muffins and other quick breads) = 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder + 1/4 cup (50 mL) additional liquid in recipe.

Sugar and corn syrup

1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar = 1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar.
For muffins and other quick breads: 1 cup (250 mL) granulated or brown sugar = 2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar.
For dessert sauces: 1 cup (250 mL) light or dark corn syrup = 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) granulated or packed brown sugar + 1/4 cup (50 mL) more liquid in recipe.

Dairy

1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk = 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice or vinegar plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup (250 mL); let stand for 5 minutes.
1 cup (250 mL) plain yogurt = 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk.
1 cup (250 mL) 2% or whole milk = 1/2 cup (125 mL) evaporated milk + 1/2 cup (125 mL) water.
1 cup (250 mL) sour cream = 7/8 cup (220 mL) buttermilk or plain yogurt.
1 cup (250 mL) butter = 1 cup (250 mL) margarine.
For icing: 1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream = 3/4 cup (175 mL) whole milk + 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter (doesn’t whip).

Read more:
How to cook more and shop less: Food storage basics
10 culinary crimes no foodies should ever make
Food prep 101

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