For Healthier Cakes:
1. Cut the amount of “filling” you use: If your cake or torte calls for chocolate chips or dried fruit or coconut flakes or nuts, use mini chocolate chips and/or process the dried fruit or coconut or nuts into smaller pieces. By doing so, you can distribute more of the filling throughout the cake or torte and can then cut the amount you’re using by a quarter or half without losing the flavor and texture.
2. Swap out solid butter or shortening with coconut oil, which is actually a solid, not a liquid as the name implies. It’s considered a healthier fat than butter and shortening.
3. Substitute applesauce or pureed banana, pumpkin or prunes for up to half of the fat called for in a cake recipe.
4. Swap out melted butter or vegetable oil for a heart healthy oil: safflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, a nut oil, Smart Balance, olive oil, etc….
5. Substitute egg whites for the whole eggs. Two egg whites equals one egg. You can also substitute ground flaxseed meal mixed with water for the eggs. 1 tbsp of meal mixed with 3 tbsp of water equals one egg.
6. Swap out part of the flour in the recipe with a nut flour, coconut flour or soy flour. You can substitute up to half of the flour with a nut flour, about 1/4 of the flour with coconut flour, and up to 1/3 of the flour with soy flour.
7. Swap the white flour for whole wheat. 100% whole wheat has a higher fiber content, but you can also use white whole wheat if you want something closer to white flour. Since 100% whole wheat flour is denser than white, you should use about 1/4 cup less in your recipe.
8. Use Agave or Stevia or Coconut sugar in place of the sugar in the recipe. For every cup of sugar use about half of any of these substitutes. If you use the Agave and it’s simply a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup, don’t worry about it being a liquid. If you’re using a cup or more, though, decrease any other liquid by at least 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup or increase a flour ingredient by 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
9. Swap out any “whole” milk product (milk, yogurt, cream cheese, etc….) for a lower fat, lower sodium variety.
10. Use date molasses instead of regular molasses. You can use the same amount of date molasses as regular molasses.
For Allergy Friendly Cakes:
1. Use gluten free flour instead of wheat. Authentic Foods has a multi-flour blend that includes everything including the xanthan gum which works very well as a substitute. You can also use your favorite flour blend and add 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum for every cup of flour your recipe needs.
2. Substitute water, 100% fruit juice or your type of “milk” (soy, rice, almond, coconut, etc…) for any milk needed in a recipe.
3. Swap out the heavy cream: You can substitute using coconut milk; or 3/4 cup of your type of milk with the addition of an extra 1/4 cup of your type of butter per cup of “cream” needed; or a type of yogurt you can eat; or pureed soft or silken tofu.
4. Substitute vegan butter or coconut oil for any butter or shortening called for in a recipe.
5. Use a recipe that calls for a liquid oil as opposed to butter so you can use safflower, canola, grapeseed, walnut, pumpkin, etc… oils instead.
6. Substitute vanilla soy milk for evaporated milk. 1 1/2 cups is equal to those 12 oz cans usually used.
7. Make your own dairy free sweetened condensed milk. This recipe only works for a cake that is going to be baked: Beat 2 eggs until thick. Add 1 cup brown sugar and mix well. Add 1 tsp vanilla and mix well. Add 2 tbsp of a flour and beat for one minute. Add 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Beat for another minute. Set aside until you need to add it to your recipe. This is equivalent to one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk.
You can also try making homemade sweetened condensed milk by mixing about 2 1/2 cups of your type of “milk” (rice, nut, coconut, soy) with 8 tbsp sugar or agave. Stir well and simmer over low heat until the “milk” has reduced and thickened. This will take a couple of hours. Keep the heat low and stir frequently. When it’s thickened, you can add 1/8 tsp of salt and/or 1/2 tsp vanilla, if you’d like. Put a clear plastic wrap up against the mixture before cooling in the fridge to prevent a “skin” from forming.
8. Make a dairy free whipped cream. Chill a can of full fat coconut milk overnight. Turn the can upside down and drained out the liquid. Put the cold cream into a cold mixing bowl and whip into it’s light and fluffy.
9. Substitute eggs with 1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tbsp water for every egg needed in the recipe. Simply mix up the meal with the water and let it sit for at least five minutes to thicken to an egglike consistency. Or if you are allergic to flaxseed, you can substitute 1/4 cup applesauce for every egg needed in the cake recipe and add 1 tsp of baking soda with 1 tbsp of vinegar to the cake recipe.
10. Use Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese instead of the dairy versions.
11. Substitute the dairy chocolate in chocolate cakes or fillings with Enjoy Life chocolate bars and/or chocolate chips. Or use unsweetened cocoa powder instead of the chocolate. Three tbsp of cocoa powder plus one tbsp of a fat (oil or “butter”) is equivalent to one ounce of unsweetened chocolate. One tbsp of cocoa powder plus two teaspoons of a fat (oil or “butter) plus one tbsp of sugar is equivalent to one ounce of semi-sweet baking chocolate.
12. Replace nuts in a cake recipe with chopped dried fruit or coconut flakes or chocolate chips.