As I energetically explore the art of healthy baking, I always stumble upon information that amazes me. From surprising egg alternatives to combatting gluten-free kitchen nightmares. This past few days, I found out how to replace oil in cakes without losing the moisture AND how to manipulate the density with such substitutions.
The following can be substituted for oil in a 1:1 ratio. No need to find any magic formula. Some will not surprise you while others may kind of shock ya.
Apple sauce, mashed banana, etc.
Replace your oil for fruit puree. This can include mashed banana, apple sauce, strawberries, or pineapple. If your recipe calls for 1 Tbsp of oil (like our cake mixes do) then replace with 1 Tbsp of fruit puree.
Want to take it a step further? Replace the liquid AND the oil with this option. I did this today with my vanilla cake recipe. Skipped the nondairy milk and the oil and just replaced it with apple sauce. It made a denser cake but it was still goooooood.
Zucchini, carrots, sweet potato, etc.
Much like the fruit puree method, this will give you a great substitute for oil in baking. What is even greater is the vitamins you gain and the ability to sneak veggies into your kids desserts. (ha!). This is also a fun way to experiment and test your boundaries in the kitchen. Our carrot cake mix uses real carrot powder and dehydrated carrots. This makes it so moist! Plus, the fiber found in the veggie purees help with moisture retention as well.
Lemon, pectin, apple, etc.
This is a little trick of mine that I fell upon in the test kitchen paired with reading and researching scientific studies done on fiber additions in baking. Soluble fiber actually helps retain moisture in baked goods. This can be lemon fiber, apple fiber, citrus, etc. I have personally have used an array of powders, both fruit and veggie, within my cake recipes and mixes. Apple fiber is my favorite for retaining moisture and replacing oil. Too much and you will have an overly dense product that may be slightly chewy. So if this happens, pull it back some.
Cornstarch + Water
There is no set formula for this. When researching how much, Google results informed me that it is based on sight. What is closest to the consistency of oil. You are supposed to take 4 tsp of cornstarch to 1 cup of water and heat together until it thickens up to an oil-like consistency. You then add to your batter in the same way you would the oil. Mix and bake.
Plain greek or regular
This one is probably a given for many of you. If it isn’t, you must try it. Nondairy yogurt works as well and some bloggers have even stated that buttermilk (or the nondairy equivalent) is just as good, but I haven’t tried it. Plus I feel like this option is a little more pricey compared to the above substitutions mentioned. Simply replace your oil with 1:1 ratio of yogurt.