Monday, 6 April 2020

Baking ideas for when you are missing key ingredients


If Facebook is anything to go by a lot of people are baking at the moment. As a mother of 2 teenage boys with hollow legs I know I am. But what happens when you realise you are missing a key ingredient and you can't just pop to the local shop to buy it?

The main ingredients for cakes, biscuits, pastries etc are flour, eggs, butter and sugar which will make you umpteen different sweet treats either on their own or with other extras.  However do not panic if you're missing on or more of these key ingredients as I've put together this list of cakes and other sweet treats you can still make.  Please note for ease of being able to write this blog I am going to use the word cake as a general term for any sweet treat be it cake, biscuit, loaf, pastry etc etc.

Selection of baked goods


Baking without flour


First of all remember you can use different types of flour in recipes and you can make self raising flour by the addition of baking powder  Wholemeal flour can be used instead of plain although the result will be a slightly heavier cake.   Likewise spelt, rye, bread, oat, gram (chickpea), rice etc flours can all be added to a recipe to top up a lack of the flour stated in the recipe as well as rolled oats and ground almonds/other ground nuts. The result may be a but different but it will still taste good.

Cakes etc that use no flour:


  • Meringues
  • Chocolate Krispie Cakes
  • Flapjacks
  • Coconut pyramids
  • Macaroons
  • Oat biscuits/cookies

Meringues

Baking without eggs


You can still cook a cake that requires eggs by adding cider or distilled vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to give the equivalent raising effect of eggs. One tablespoon of vinegar and  one teaspoon of bicarb. This will work best for recipes that only include one egg or you only use this to reduce the egg number by one. 

For totally egg-free recipes go for:


  • Jam tarts
  • Fruit tarts
  • Scones (choose recipes that don't use eggs or simply bulk up the liquid with milk)
  • All sorts of biscuits and cookies
  • Shortbread
  • Some fruit breads don't need eggs.
Jam tarts

Baking without butter


You can just as easily use margarine/spread although you will of course notice a less buttery taste.  I have been known to add a percentage of oil or lard to recipes without anyone being any the wiser. Muffins use oil as their form of fat.  However if you are completely without any form of fat you can still bake.

Totally fat free cakes


  • Weetabix cake
  • Fatless sponge
  • Swiss roll
  • Meringues
  • Peanut butter brownies

Raspberry Swiss Roll


A lot of online peanut butter recipes have some butter in them but this is one I have found in a cookbook that has none:

Recipe for peanut butter brownies


225g peanut butter (ideally crunchy but smooth will work too)
200g dark chocolate broken into pieces
300g soft brown sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten (and you could always substitute vinegar/bicarb for one egg)
100g self raising flour

  • Heat the even to 180°C/160°C (fan oven)/gas mark 4.
  • Set aside 50g of the peanut butter and chocolate for the topping.
  • Line a 20cm square baking tin
  • Gently melt the remaining peanut butter, chocolate and sugar, stirring to prevent it burning.
  • Once melted beat in the eggs and fold in the flour
  • Place in the lined tin
  • Melt the remaining peanut butter either gently on the stove on is a microwave on high for around 45seconds until runny
  • Cot over the brownie mixture
  • Bake for 30-35 mins until it has a rust but the middle still appears slightly under-done. Do NOT over cook it!
  • Melt the remaining chocolate in a water bath and drizzle over.
  • Leave to cool in the baking tin
  • When cold cut into pieces.

Baking without sugar


As cakes are by their very definition sweet this can prove to be the most challenging ingredient to be missing. Let's first talk substitutes for sugar.

  • Use other types of sugar than specified in the recipe - they are all sweet and you can still make a sponge cake with dark brown sugar, it just won't be quite as light and airy.
  • Golden Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Banana
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey
  • Dates
  • Malt extract
  • Sweetener (Personally I am uncomfortable with these but I feel they do warrant being mentioned here)

All these can be used to bulk out as sugar supplies run low and in many cases can be used as the only source of sweetener.  I really love the sound of this chocolate cake which has no added sugar.

However, if you want to go totally sweetness free you can bake both normal and potato scones without sugar and serve them with jam for sweetness.  Adding dried fruit will also give them more sweetness.   I may have a go making English muffins and malt loaf .  I have a sugar free recipe for both but you recipes contain some sugar you could always add honey or golden syrup or simply have a slightly less sweet version missing out the extra sweetness altogether. Your waistline will probably thank you!

Scones and jam

Finally you could also hone your bread baking skills and make bread to be served with your favourite jam, golden syrup or other sweet spread.   And crumpets only use about a teaspoon of sugar.

So what will you bake today?  Please do let me know your favourite things to bake in a comment as I am happy to try and adapt it if I am missing any ingredients.

Happy baking everyone!

Baking ideas jam tarts, jam

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