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Get Ready,  Set,  Bake!


You’re either baking for the holidays, thinking about baking for the holidays… (or Not!).  Either way, in answer to a lot of questions I get on the subject, this month I thought I would offer some handy substitutions and equivalent measurements along with a few basic “dos and don’ts” to make your baking easier and more successful.

For a handy reference, you’ll find a complete and very extensive  list of substitutions for ingredients and measurement equivalents in all of our “Granny” cookbooks featured in the cookbook” section of this website.

Also, you may want to bookmark this page for easy and quick reference



Baker’s unsweetened chocolate squares . Substitute: 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder plus 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine.


Out of buttermilk?  Put 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a one cup measuring cut and finish filling it with whole milk (not non-fat). Let it sit for 10 minutes and it will turn sour.


1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice = ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg and 1/8 tsp. ground cloves.


1 tsp. allspice = ½ tsp. cinnamon plus 1/8 tsp. ground cloves.


1 tsp. apple pie spice = ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. allspice & dash ground cloves or ginger.


1 cup cake flour = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour, minus2 Tbsp.


1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 tsp. baking powder & ½ tsp. salt.


Sour Cream: 1 cup= 2/3 cup milk, plus 1/3 cup butter.


Sour Cream and Yogurt are interchangeable.



Bread: 1 slice = ½ cup soft crumbs.


Butter: ½ stick = 4-oz. , 1 stick = 8-oz.


Crumbs: Graham crackers:14 squares = 1 cup crumbs,  14.4-oz. box = 4 cups crumbs.


Carrots (for carrot cake): 1 lb. = 3 cups, grated.


Chocolate chips: 6-oz. = 1 cup,  9-oz. = 1½ ,  12-oz. = 2 cups.


Cheese:  1  lb. = 4 cups, grated,   8-oz. bar = 2 cups grated.


Cream Cheese:  3-oz. pkg. = 6 Tbsp.,  8-oz. pkg. = 1 cup.


Coconut, flaked: 3½ can = 1-1/3 cups, 7-oz. can = 2-2/3 cups, 14-oz. pkg. = 5-1/3 cups


Coconut:  frozen grated6-oz. pkg. = 1-1/3 cups.


Marshmallows: 1 large = 10 miniature.


Milk, evaporated: 5-oz. can = 2/3 cup, 12-oz. can = 1-2/3 cups


Raisins: 1 lb.= 3 cups, packed.


Sugar, brown: 1 lb. box = 2-1/3 cups


Confectioners: 1 lb. box = 3½  cups, unsifted.

Basic Dos and Don’ts


Assemble all ingredients and utensils in advance…put each one away as you use it (so you’ll know if you left it out!).


Use standard measuring cups and spoons. And don’t tap ingredients in a cup to make room for more!


If a recipe says “sifted flour”, sift before measuring, if it says “flour sifted”, sift after measuring”.


Line cake pans with waxed paper or parchment paper for easier removal.


Don’t forget to preheat the oven to desired temperature.


Don’t be an “oven-peeker”.


Let cake  cool in pan 5 or 10 minutes (or whatever the recipe says), before removing.


And definitely don’t try to force a hot cake out of the pan!

Alcohol Substitutes in baking


Triple Sec, Grand Marnier and Cointreau (all are orange flavored) = equal amt. of orange juice.


Amaretto= Non-Alcoholic almond extract. = ¼  to ½  tsp. almond extract for 2 Tbsp. Amaretto.


Kahula = coffee syrup (Torani brand) equal amount or  ½  to 1 tsp. instant expresso coffee in 2 Tbsp. water = 2 Tbsp. Kahlua.


Brandy or Rum  = equal amt. of white grape juice, apple cider or apple juice.

When making a chocolate cake, grease cake pans and then dust with cocoa powder instead of flour.
Heat lemons and roll on counter for extracting twice as much juice!
Dried-out shredded coconut?  Soak in some milk with a dash of sugar for a few minutes, then drain in a strainer.  Or place coconut in a strainer and set over boiling water and steam until moist.
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