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Low Fat Baking Subsitutions

Many readers have inquired about a recipe that was on Rachael’s show last week using pumpkin in a chocolate cake box mix; the recipe was simply one box of devil’s food cake mix which you made with one 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin puree, that’s it. Stir and bake at 400 degress in prepared muffin tins for 20 minutes. The puree replaced the eggs and oil. Yum.

There are many healthy substitutions for higher fat ingredients like oil and butter in baking recipes. Applesauce, pumpkin, prune and other purees are great oil and butter substitutes in cake, quick bread and muffin recipes – applesauce being the most popular and yielding good results. A good rule of thumb is to substitute 2/3 -1 cup applesauce, pumpkin puree, mashed banana or other puree for each cup of oil or butter called for in the recipe (ie, substitute 2/3 – 1 cup applesauce for 1 cup canola oil). Keep in mind that the texture may not be the same as when using a fat. You may want to experiment with your favorite recipes by substituting a puree for half the oil or butter and see how you like it.

Cookie recipes don’t fare as well with substitutions, unfortunately, but you can try substituting a little bit of fruit puree for butter (and up to half) and see how you like it. Plain non-fat yogurt can be used to substitute for sour cream in baking and cooking with no discernible difference.

Other low-fat substitutions:

  • 1 cup whole milk = 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 Tbsp vinegar OR 1 Tbsp lemon juice + enough skim milk to make 1 cup
  • 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup evaporated skim milk OR 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt + 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 can chilled evaporated skim milk whipped with 1 tsp lemon juice OR 1 cup low- or non-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup cream cheese = 4 Tbsp margarine + 1 cup dry low-fat cottage cheese (+ a little skim milk if needed)
  • 1 cup butter or oil = 2/3 cup applesauce or other puree
  • 1 egg = 2 egg whites

Do you have any tips for low-fat baking?

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