Baby food isn’t just for your cute bundle of joy -- it’s also a suitable ingredient for cake mix. While oil adds smoothness and moisture to a cake mix cake, baby food can be used to replace oil and still yield a moist product. Not all baby food purees have the right amount of moisture to replace oil, but there are some that add the necessary moisture and a little twist in flavor. Stick to baby foods that are water and pureed fruit for best results.
Baby applesauce is unsweetened and works in place of oil. Since it’s naturally sweet it can add flavor to your cake in addition to moisture. Because applesauce has a high water content, you might need to adjust the amount of water required in the recipe, or cut down the amount of applesauce used. To start, use ½ cup of applesauce per 1 cup of oil required in the recipe.
Zucchini is high in moisture and adds the binding properties of oil with an earthy aftertaste. If your baby food has zucchini skin in it, strain it using a fine mesh strainer first. If the peels don’t bother you, you can leave them in. Replace every cup of oil in the recipe with one cup of zucchini puree. Due to its excess moisture, increase the baking time of your cake by 5 to 10 minutes to compensate.
Apricots have a distinct flavor, so use them to replace oil in white or lemon cake mixes. Find apricot purees that don’t have additional sugar or fruit juices added to them, because these can make your final product chewier. Replace every cup of oil with a cup of apricot puree and decrease your water by a tablespoon or two. For a twist, use half banana and half apricot for a fruity, creamy cake.
Prunes substitute well for oil, but have a noticeable taste that might overwhelm your cake. Prunes do have the right amount of moisture to bind the ingredients, but you may need to increase the water or other liquids by 1 to 2 tablespoons to keep your cake from drying out. Since prunes have a deep, dark color, your cake will be darker too. Use prunes in vanilla or chocolate-based cake mix cakes in equal parts to oil.
- The Cake Mix Doctor; Anne Byrn
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