Got Substitutions?

Seriously. Let’s get real! Some ingredients are just plain too expensive for a recipe that only needs a small amt or maybe they aren’t readily available at your local grocery store so here are a few helpful substitutions.


almond meal or almond flour
– Almond flour and meal are both just ground up almonds. Almond flour is most often made with blanched almonds (no skin), whereas almond meal can be made either with whole or blanched almonds. I use my food processor and pulsate a couple times. Be careful not to go too far or you’ll get almond butter!

– 2 parts ground cinnamon and 1 part ground cloves

baking powder, 1/3 cup
– 1/4 cup cream of tartar + 2 tbsp baking soda
– 1/4 cup cream of tartar + 2 tbsp baking soda + 1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)

cocoa powder, dutch-process**; 3 tbsp
– 3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

cocoa powder, natural unsweetened **; 3 tbsp
– Substituting dutch-process cocoa for unsweetened cocoa by leaving out any baking soda called for in the recipe
– 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa plus 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, lemon juice or white vinegar

corn syrup, dark; 1 cup
– 3/4 cup light corn syrup+1/4 cup light molasses

corn syrup, light; 1 cup
– 1 cup dark corn syrup
– 1 cuptreacle
– 1 cup liquid glucose
– 1 cup honey
– 1 cup granulated white sugar (increase the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup)

cream of tartar; 1/2 tsp
– 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice

crème fraîche; 1 cup
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 cup whipping cream plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk or yogurt
– 1/2 cup whipping cream plus 1/2 cup sour cream
– 1 cup mascarpone cheese

flour, cake; 1 cup
– 1 cup minus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
– 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 2 tbsp cornstarch

flour, self-rising; 1 cup
– 1 cup AP flour plus 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder plus 1/4 teaspoon salt

kirsch*; 1 cup
– 1 cup syrup or juices from cherries, raspberries, boysenberries, currants, or cider

marshmallow creme; 1 cup
– 16 large or 160 miniature marshmallows plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup. Place in double boiler or stainless steel bowl over simmering water; stir until smooth.

milk, buttermilk; 1 cup
– 1 cup minus 1 tbsp milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice (or white vinegar) and let stand 5 minutes
– 1/2 cup plain yogurt plus 1/2 cup milk

milk, evaporated; 1 cup
– 1 cup half & half (10-12% butterfat)
– 1 cup light or table cream (20% butterfat)
– 1 cup (240 ml) light (30% butterfat) or heavy whipping cream (35% butterfat)

milk, sweetened condensed; 1 cup
– 1 cup instant nonfat dry milk+2/3 cup granulated white sugar+1/2 cup boiling water+3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (process in blender or food processor until smooth)

milk, whole; 1 cup
– 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water
– 1 cup fat free skim milk plus 2 teaspoons melted butter

pumpkin pie spice; 1 tsp
– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/8 tsp ground cloves + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

– 1 tbsp lemon juice –> 1-1/2 tsp of rosewater
– 1 tsp water and 1 tsp any flavored extract (will slightly change flavor of cupcakes depending on flavored extract used) –> 2 tsp rosewater
– 1 tsp orange juice –> 1 tsp rosewater
– how to make rosewater

sugar, brown, dark; 1 cup
– 1 cup raw sugar
– 1 cup white granulated sugar
– 1 cup white granulated sugar+1/4 cup unsulfured light molasses

sugar, brown, light; 1 cup
– 1/2 cup dark brown sugar+1/2 cup white granulated sugar

sugar, powdered (confectioner’s); 1 cup
– 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon cornstarch processed in a food processor fitted with a metal blade

sugar, superfine
– Superfine sugar is simply sugar that has been ground more finely than regular granulated sugar. I use my coffee grinder and pulsate a couple times so that its finer than granulated but coarser than powder sugar.

vanilla bean; 1 bean
– 2 to 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

* Other alcohol substitutions
** More chocolate info

One of my favorite substitution websites: Food Subs



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  1. Um hello. What am I chopped liver? Do I get no credit for tracking virtually all of these down for you.

    That’s it … I’m done with you :P

  2. uh yeah… Nikki helped me… blah blah blah. happy? LOL. But serio THANKYOUVERYMUCH! ::bowing down to the master baker :: What would my cupcakes be without you? Kirsch-less. And that just aint right. :)

  3. LMAO. I wub my CB

  4. Love this list!

  5. Thanks girls! (Clara and Nikki)

  6. I LOVE Kirch though! I buy it and then I mix it with coke instead of rum….viola the best cherry coke ever!

  7. I also, really like getting buttermilk in powder form. I do this with egg whites too. That way I have the real stuff whenever I need it, but I don’t have to worry about it spoiling. I can just reconstitute the amount that I need for the recipe and not have an open carton of buttermilk to deal with.

    I use my mortar & pestle for grinding my sugar down. I never thought of using my coffee/spice grinder.

    I do love my Hershey Dark brand cocoa powder though. It’s so much better than the regular stuff.

  8. ZEBE, powdered buttermilk! what a great idea! I constantly feel like my buttermilk is spoiling and it makes me sad to throw away…

  9. These are great! Thanks for posting!

  10. Awesome! Thanks!

  11. CB – If worried about your buttermilk spoiling, DRINK it!! I grew up on the real thing (my aunt used to make her own butter!) The commercial type is much thicker, but it’s good for you, and delicious!!

  12. ERLY, thanks for letting me know about drinking the leftover buttermilk. :)

  13. ooooh buttermilk is way too bitter for me to drink straight..but i lurve it baked in. this is an awesome list Clara and Nikki!

  14. MARA, I definitely love buttermilk based recipes but I admit I’ve never tried it straight up!

  15. I have come to live on almond meal/flour for my gluten free baking or anything requiring flour. FYI, you can do it with most any other nut too if you want a little different flavor.

  16. Hi, I just stumbled upon your wonderful website. Hope you don’t mind if I use some of your recipes. By the way, san I replace white sugar with pancake syrup?

  17. VALERIE, Nice to “meet” you! Please feel free to use any recipes. If you try any, let me know what you think, k? Not sure about the pancake syrup for white sugar. I think it might make it too runny but if you do use it with success let me know! Thanks for stopping by!

  18. I love your blog! It’s GREAT:)

  19. JENNIFER, aaawww you’re too sweet :)

  20. This is a great list…and I LOVE LOVE your site. SO cute!

  21. Thank you for sharing! ^-*

  22. Hello there,
    i like this website very much.
    And ofcourse, I lvoe cuppycakes. haha
    by the way I come from the netherlands.
    Everybody here loves you webstite. hihi
    bye! xxx

    and this website hihi
    have someone any nice recepts?
    see you later xxx

  24. Your asnewr was just what I needed. It\’s made my day!

  25. Wow! This is super helpful!

  26. Hi CB, this page of yours is like saviour to me…I am from India and a big cupcake lover but when want to make something…half of the things are not available out here or may be they are termed something used to get dissapointed many a times while experimenting…but it seems this blog will help me get my Frosted Dream cupcakes soon… thanks..n keep posting…!

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