Baking Gone Creative

Seemingly never-ending times like these can make it difficult for one to find things to do. However, during the quarantine, families have found a way to combat this boredom by utilizing their time at home to become closer to each other. Their bond has become stronger through activities like arts and crafts, badminton, ping pong, karaoke, and most notably, through baking. To relieve stress and pass the hours, families resort to baking all types of desserts. Millions of people across America wipe out the grocery baking aisles in order to attempt to master their culinary baking skills at home with their loved ones. That being said, people who are late to the hoarding frenzy of baking goods find themselves lacking a key ingredient for their own desserts. Nevertheless, people have found creative ways to use substitutes they have in their pantry for the ingredients that they could not find in the grocery store.

One recipe that has taken the media by storm in quarantine is chocolate cake with a twist. The scarcity of eggs in the grocery store has left people thinking of other alternatives for the eggs for their chocolate cake. After many baking experiments, people have found that the best replacement for eggs is mayonnaise. Chocolate mayonnaise cake- sounds strange, but according to many, tastes great. Eggs provide tenderness and richness to the cake, something that mayo also provides. The tangy and somewhat bitter taste that mayo usually gives is masked by the chocolatey goodness of the cake. Ridgewood mom, Shinae Shin, made this recipe with her kids during quarantine and she quotes, “Especially in times like this during the pandemic where there is a shortage of eggs and you are trying to minimize your trips to the grocery store, you need to make the best out of what you have in your pantry. We had mayonnaise in our pantry, and I think it was a great alternative for this cake, and my kids loved it. You could not even taste the mayo- this recipe was definitely a keeper for me!” 

Another switch-out that people have made for their desserts is buttermilk and milk with vinegar. Buttermilk: a crucial ingredient for most cupcakes as it brings a slight tang to the baked good and gives the cupcake a softer or silkier texture. This ingredient is another scarce product in the grocery store, and people look to a replacement option that will provide the same things that buttermilk provides to a cupcake. According to many home bakers, milk and vinegar is the best alternative for buttermilk. For every one cup of buttermilk, one cup of regular milk mixed with one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar is needed. The mixture needs to sit for five minutes, then it is ready to go to be used in the cupcake batter. 

Furthermore, in the Ridgewood communities, students themselves have had an unusual but yummy baking experience from this quarantine. RHS student Taylor Lem shares her experience with using baking replacements: “I needed baking powder for one of my recipes. I didn’t have any but I did have cream of tartar on hand from a different recipe. I was able to use that and baking soda mixed together to replace the baking powder. The recipe still came out like it would have if I had baking powder!” 

The “Stay At Home” orders brought on by COVID-19 has introduced some difficulties in terms of not being able to go to the grocery store 24/7 in order to get certain ingredients for the next meal or dessert. However, this challenge has also allowed families to let their inventiveness flow and discover unexpected replacements for their needed ingredients. Families grow closer together with their loved ones by bonding over these yummy treats, even if the ingredients to make these goods were far from normal.

Lauren Shin
Staff Writer

Graphic: Name of Illustrator

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