Doing so, gives you the chance to bake unique flavors without hunting for expensive or atypical ingredients. Over the years I have tried several different combinations of substitutions, and have finally anchored down the ones I like best.
It all started with a little spiral bound recipe book called “A Better Way To Bake” by Motts. This book has a multitude of breakfast, dessert, cookie and snack recipes that substitute apple sauce for the fats and sugars normally called for in sweet recipes. It includes the most fool-proof recipe for banana bread, and the page may or may not be slightly sticky and stained as a result of my mom and I making it so often.
The substitution is super simple; replace an equal amount of apple sauce for any type of oil. Just remember to grease the pan thoroughly, or use a non-stick spray with flour. I find that the apple sauce keeps the cooked batter & dough moist without becoming slimy or sweaty, if you will, as it sometimes does after sitting for a day or two. I have used organic, regular and cinnamon apple sauce and see no difference in the finished product. I do, however, prefer to use the cinnamon apple sauce for added depth and warmth in a plain vanilla/yellow/white cake. And I’m really just obsessed with cinnamon flavored anything.
Fun fact: Most cake mixes call for ½ cup of oil; there is no need to measure the apple sauce, because those little individual servings in a six-pack are exactly ½ cup!
We’re almost to a perfect cake! The last ingredient, which I started experimenting with fairly recently, is one small box of instant pudding. The gelatin base of the pudding creates a richer and moister texture, while enhancing the structure and preventing a very crumbly slice. You can match the flavors of the pudding and cake mix, or add a different flavor of pudding to a white/golden batter – it’s up to you and there is a handful of possibilities. Just please note that because you are adding something dry, you also want to add one extra egg (typically four instead of three) to even out the wet/dry ratio.
The above is my go-to recipe when I need a cake in a pinch or want to make something simple but delicious for a family dinner. Feel free to start or expand your baking expedition with these tricks and never be afraid to explore your own perfect combination. Namaste!