These Are The 10 Baking Questions We Get Asked The Most + Our Answers!

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Have you just started baking or need answers on ingredient substitutions and technical questions? Don't worry, we've got you covered. We've culled some of our readers' most asked baking questions and answered them for you: 

1 What can I substitute with heavy cream?

You can use all-purpose cream in most recipes that call for heavy cream, but the texture and flavor will be a little different. All-purpose cream does not whip well so for recipes that call for whipping the cream, whipping cream is another type of cream you can use if heavy cream isn't available. Whether you use heavy cream or whipping cream, both of these creams will create a much lighter dessert than if you used all-purpose cream. 



2 Can I use evaporated milk instead of fresh milk?

Yes, you can! Just remember that evaporated milk is a reduced milk. It's been cooked, hence the creamy yellow hue of the milk, so if using as a substitute for fresh milk, you will need to dilute the evaporated milk. Use this ratio: 1 part evaporated milk + 1 part water.




3 Can I steam it instead? I don't have an oven.

Unfortunately, many recipes that call for a dish to be baked cannot be steamed. In the case of a cake, usually a dry heat is the usual method of baking. There are specialized recipes for use in a steamer and we have several steamed cake recipes that are more suited to steaming.



4 I don't have cake flour. Can I use all-purpose flour? 

A recipe that uses cake flour, instead of all-purpose flour, will usually produce a cake with a beautifully tender and fine crumb. That means, the texture will be different and not as soft which is why cake flour is used. If all-purpose four is all you have on hand, to substitute, remove about 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour from the amount stated for the cake flour.

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5 Can I use baking powder instead of baking soda?

Baking soda and baking powder have two different uses and aren't immediately interchangeable. Baking soda is used when you also use an ingredient that is acidic in the recipes. Natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed or alkalized cocoa powder), yogurt, sour cream, citrus juices, vinegar, and other such ingredients will react with baking soda and make your cake rise.


Meanwhile, baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and an acidic ingredient that isn't in the recipe. The acidic additive is necessary because, without the acidic ingredient, the baking powder will not activate, resulting in a flat cake.

So to replace baking soda with baking powder will require more than what is stated in the recipe. For every 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in a recipe, you'll need at least 1 teaspoon baking powder.

Meanwhile, if you don't have baking soda and need baking powder, the substitution is not as direct. You'll need to replace 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/4 teaspoon baking and an acidic ingredient: either 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar or replacing the equivalent amount of liquid with 1/2 cup yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk.


6 How many cups are in ml?

Depending on what the ingredient is, this is hard to determine because measuring liquid and dry ingredients require different measuring equipment. This is where measuring spoons, cups, jugs, and a kitchen scale come in handy. Using water as the universal ingredient, here is how you can convert from one measurement to another:


1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters

1 tablespoon = 15 milliliters

2 tablespoons = 1 fluid ounce = 30 milliliters

16 tablespoons = 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces = 250 milliliters

1 pint = 2 cups = 16 fluid ounces = 500 milliliters

While this is accurate for water, the most accurate measurement for any ingredient is its weight since 1 cup of flour does not weigh the same as 1 cup of water. Whenever possible use the indicated measurement in a recipe for best and consistent results.


7 What is the substitute for cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar is an acidic ingredient. It's used in stabilizing the structure of egg whites when being whipped into a meringue and is commonly the acidic component in baking powder. When using a substitute to whip egg whites, use lemon or even calamansi juice as a substitute or leave it out completely since egg whites can whip well even without it.



8 Can I use ordinary white sugar instead (for caster or superfine sugar)?

Superfine or caster sugar is great for mixtures that need the sugar granules to melt quicker than it would if using regular sugar, such as when whisking egg whites into a meringue. While you can substitute regular sugar for the finer granulated sugar, you'll need to add it in early. As soon as the egg whites become frothy, start to gradually sprinkle in the regular sugar into the egg whites. You may have to whisk a bit longer than usual to ensure that all the granules have melted before moving onto the next step of the recipe.


9 Can I use margarine instead (for butter)?

Yes! Margarine is a direct substitute for butter. Instead of substituting with oil, the consistency of margarine at least is similar to butter and your recipe will not be in danger of failing because of the substitution. Just note that color and taste may differ if the margarine used is different in those aspects of butter.


10 What is the temperature in Celsius?

Fahrenheit and Celsius are the two measurements of temperature, and we try to include both measurements in recipes, not all indicate both. That's because it's more accurate to say 350 degree F rather than its exact conversion of 176.67 degrees C and vice versa.

To help you out, here are common temperature conversions from F to C that is used in baking where the Celsius temperature is rounded up to a whole number:

300 degrees Fahrenheit = 148 degrees Celsius

325 degrees Fahrenheit = 163 degrees Celsius

350 degrees Fahrenheit = 177 degrees Celsius

375 degrees Fahrenheit = 190 degrees Celsius

400 degrees Fahrenheit = 204 degrees Celsius

425 degrees Fahrenheit = 218 degrees Celsius

While these conversions are useful, the best way to determine whether you're baking at the right temperature is by using an oven thermometer. Not only does this temperature gauge indicate the correct temperature, it usually indicates the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius so you're always baking at the right temperature, no matter which measurement you're using. 



Got more questions? Leave it for us in the comments section below, and we'll get to you as soon as we can with an answer that may save your baking day.


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