How to: Be a cheater

Now, I must say that my parents didn’t raise a cheater. They taught me that it is more important to lose honestly and fairly, than it is to win dishonestly. And throughout my time at Purdue I followed those guidelines. Whether it was in my time spent studying through the night for my upcoming Micrometabolism or Biochemistry exams, or if it was during my time spent training, practicing, and playing ice hockey for the Purdue team, I tried my best to be an honest man.

But, alas, no one is perfect…

When you find yourself baking in the comfort of your own home…

When no one else is watching…

We all do it…

And no matter how dirty you may feel, what’s done is done.

In case we aren’t on the same page here, I am talking about SUBSTITUTIONS. That’s right, replacing ingredients in your recipes because you may be short an egg, or out of oil, or maybe even have to do it for a health reason. What I have for you are some tried and true substitutions for baking and cooking in general, that you may not have thought of before, but that we use very commonly in the demonstration kitchen when we start running low on ingredients, or when a patron has an allergy or intolerance we know we can accommodate to!

1. Chia Eggs

If you are ever out of eggs, or perhaps trying to cut down on cholesterol, but still want to make an awesome baked good, try subbing the eggs with Chia seeds (typically found in the grocery by the flour). Simply mix 3 tablespoons of warm or hot water with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to substitute 1 regular egg. You will be surprised by the amount of moisture it adds to baked goods, and the healthy fats and fiber as well.

2. Applesauce for Oil

Another easy way to cut down on the fat content of your baked goods is to use applesauce in the place of vegetable oil! Unsweetened applesauce can be used in a 1:1 ratio for oil. Just like the Chia eggs, it will at a lot of moisture to you baked goods, without having to compromise for more calories. We recommend the unsweetened applesauce in order to keep the amount of sugar in the recipe under control. Also keep in mind if you get apple sauce with cinnamon, you will get a cinnamon taste (duh).

3. Flour for Flour?

If you or someone you are cooking or baking for has a wheat allergy, gluten intolerance, or perhaps Celiac Disease, you won’t be able to use normal all-purpose flour when cooking for them, in fact, some individuals are so sensitive to it, that the dust created by such flours can cause a reaction. In order to avoid such issues, try substituting a “gluten free” flour such as rice flour, tapioca flour, almond flour, etc. These flours are available in most grocery’s baking sections or “gluten free” sections. Some manufacturers even produce gluten free all-purpose flour, which may produce better baked goods due to the mixture of grains. IMPORTANT: if you do try using a gluten free flour, double check the label to see if it was “produced in a gluten free facility.” Many manufacturers of gluten free products also produce normal wheat-containing products, and this increases the risk of cross contamination, meaning the products may not be as pure as anticipated.

4. Simple Substitutions;

  • 1t Baking Powder = 1/2t cream of tartar + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1c Buttermilk = 1t lemon juice (or vinegar) + enough milk to measure 1c
  • 1c Cake Flour = 7/8c all-purpose flour
  • 1T Cornstarch = 2T all-purpose flour
  • 1c Half&Half Cream = 1T melted butter + enough whole milk to equal 1 cup
  • 1c Honey = 1.25c sugar + 1/4c liquid
  • 1t Lemon Juice = 1/4t cider vinegar
  • 1T Mustard = 1/2t ground mustard + 2t vinegar
  • 1c Sour Cream = 1c plain greek yogurt
  • 1oz Unsweetened Chocolate = 3T cocoa powder + 1T shortening or oil
  • 1c Whole Milk = 1/2c evaporated milk + 1/2c water


That is all I can think of, but if you have any other substitutions you find useful, feel free to share in the comments below!

By: Sam Martinez, DTR

Purdue University ’15

Cooking Instructor



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