Swapping Pantry Staples

You found a new cookie recipe in cach lam banh a magazine that you would like to make.

You begin checking your pantry to see if you have all of the ingredients. You realize that you're missing a few of the products you need to make the cookies. But, you do see a few items that you might be able to substitute. You wonder if it is okay to make swaps.

That actually depends.


Most baking recipes call for all-purpose flour. But, some recipes call for hoc lam banh kem cake flour which is higher in starch, lower in protein, and used for tender cakes and pastries. Sometimes recipes call for self-rising flour which has baking powder and dạy làm bánh salt already added.

Don't make substitutions for any of these flours. Use what the recipe calls for.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder

Both baking soda and baking powder are used to help dough and batter rise. Baking powder is composed of three different ingredients.

For this reason, you can't substitute one for the other.


The most commonly used form of sugar is granulated sugar. Occasionally, a recipe calls for powdered sugar (also called confectioners' sugar) which is in a powder form and is usually used for icings.

Brown sugar, light or dark, is a white sugar with molasses added to it. These three sugars are very different and can't be interchanged.

Butter versus Margarine

Most home baking recipes have either butter or margarine as an ingredient.

Some recipes will actually say you can use one or the other. Butter is a little richer than margarine, but you can make a swap with these two. If a recipe asks for butter, assume it means unsalted if it doesn't specify. If you don't have unsalted butter and want to substitute it for regular, omit the salt in the recipe.

Heavy Cream and Milk

Instead of frosting, you could add a whipped cream topping to a chocolate cake recipe.

To make the topping, you would use heavy cream and whip it with an electric hand mixer. Milk will not work as a substitute for heavy cream because the cream will whip better and will have doubled in size after you finished whipping it. You can change from whole milk to 2% milk, but keep in mind that you may change the flavor and richness a little by making the swap.

Vegetable Oil and Olive Oil

If a recipe calls for vegetable oil, you can use canola or safflower oil.

Olive oil, even though it is healthy, can't be used for baking-only for dressings and seasoning foods. If you just need to grease a pan, you can use a canola spray to make your job a little easier.

Just because your white chocolate and cranberry cookie recipe calls for butter and you only have margarine, you don't have to run off to the grocery store.

You can substitute some ingredients when it comes to most baking recipes. Just make sure you make the right swaps or you may end up with a flat cake.

Orla Hayman is a keen and passionate home baker who likes nothing more than helping other people develop their skills in the kitchen, in particular teaching people how to make delicious cakes, cách làm bánh á breads, and other treats with simple and .