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Tried substituting applesauce for oil in cupcakes


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#1 scryedzxp

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:25 PM

I tried substituting applesauce for oil in cupcakes and it failed miserably.  I was following this recipe : http://www.marthaste...velvet-cupcakes and tried it several different ways.

 

Note : I was using regular reduced fat milk every single time instead of the buttermilk that it suggested.

 

Attempt 1 : used applesauce in place of oil. followed it step-by-step.

 

Attempt 2 : used applesauce in place of oil but mixed all of the wet and dry ingredients separately and then slowly stirred them together at the end. (a common tip when dealing with applesauce that I keep seeing all over the internet)

 

Attempt 3 : same as attempt 2 but I used 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 "I can't believe it's not butter!" (ie. margarine)

 

and they all came out the same. the cupcake stuck to the lining every single time and the inside was soggy.

 

(I even kept in the oven 10 minutes longer than the original recipe states but still same results)

 

Picture below :

20140122_115219_1.jpg

 

What am I doing wrong? People online keep on saying "Oh! It worked! It came out great!" but I highly doubt their statements..



#2 HungryC

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:02 PM

A few suggestions:

--spray the paper liners with cooking spray (yes, plenty of muffins and cupcakes will stick to the liner)

--heaviness is not due to applesauce, it's because you're not using buttermilk.  The leavening in this recipe is provided by the baking soda, which needs to react with an acid to provide the bubbling that lifts the batter.  Buttermilk is acid--your plain milk is not.  Stir some vinegar into the milk, making an acidy sour milk to substitute for the buttermilk.  Or use the buttermilk.

--use unsweetened applesauce

 

You will never have a small-bubble, ultra tender crumb using applesauce in place of oil.   But you should get a decent cupcake, though it will be a little closer in texture to a muffin.


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#3 scryedzxp

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:26 PM

A few suggestions:

--spray the paper liners with cooking spray (yes, plenty of muffins and cupcakes will stick to the liner)

--heaviness is not due to applesauce, it's because you're not using buttermilk.  The leavening in this recipe is provided by the baking soda, which needs to react with an acid to provide the bubbling that lifts the batter.  Buttermilk is acid--your plain milk is not.  Stir some vinegar into the milk, making an acidy sour milk to substitute for the buttermilk.  Or use the buttermilk.

--use unsweetened applesauce

 

You will never have a small-bubble, ultra tender crumb using applesauce in place of oil.   But you should get a decent cupcake, though it will be a little closer in texture to a muffin.

 

Thank you for the quick response.

 

Yeah, I guess if I were to use applesauce as a substitute I would need to use cooking spray because I literally needed to pull it with force from the liner (as evident from huge amount of cupcake stuck to it). But when I used oil/margarine, I was able to pull it off with ease (without use of cooking spray).

 

I did add vinegar to the baking soda (the recipe required it), so maybe it's not the buttermilk that's the issue? I mean I tried it twice with oil/margarine with reduced milk and they came out pretty good. But I guess I'll try the buttermilk anyway?

 

Why unsweetened applesauce?



#4 keychris

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:33 PM

Why applesauce at all is the question I have? Are you just trying to cut fat from your diet?

 

You could also use yoghurt in place of the buttermilk - the important thing is IMHO is to have the acid reacting with the bicarbonate *in the batter* not before - otherwise lots of that gas that gives the beautiful crumb is just being wasted. You need the carbon dioxide being produced in the cake, not in the air :D

 

oh, and did you make the original recipe as described so you have an idea what the 'standard' result is in your oven under your conditions? (did you guess I'm in science by trade :p)



#5 HungryC

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:34 PM

Sweetened applesauce will make everything too sweet....and it's bringing more liquid sugar to the party, changing the ratios of the original recipe even more.  Why not use part strained greek yogurt and part applesauce?  The yogurt will tenderize the crumb (milk solids) and add acid, but not add all of the fiber that the applesauce brings to the recipe.  Are you making notes on each batch?  Write out the ingredients each time, and make some notes on taste/texture.

ETA:  just saw that someone posted the yogurt suggestion a few secs before I hit reply.  Try it--it works for me.  Also, I prefer pureed bananas to applesauce as a substitute for fat.


Edited by HungryC, 22 January 2014 - 02:35 PM.


#6 annabelle

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:54 PM

I've had poor results substituting applesauce for oil in cake recipes unless the cake is very dense and contains another fruit or vegetable (pumpkin, for instance) that is similar in texture.  As Celeste says, you aren't going to achieve the same results no matter what method you use.

 

I'd abandon the cupcake idea and try the recipe in a bundt pan instead.  Just make sure it is heavily coated with spray or a fat of some kind.

 

PS:  bananas are a great idea!  I never buy them since I hate them, but I'll remember that.


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#7 jmacnaughtan

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 02:17 AM

I'd recommend using butter, and just not eating as many of them.  Low fat cake recipes tend to fail miserably, at least when I do them.


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#8 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 07:38 AM

Adding vinegar to milk to substitute for buttermilk just doesn't work.  I don't know why, but it doesn't, even though all the cookbooks say it does.  If I don't have buttermilk on hand (which I almost never do), I use yoghurt thinned with a little milk.  Then you get the tender crumb you're looking for.

 

Agree that if you're going to use applesauce instead of oil, use unsweetened.



#9 HungryC

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 08:16 AM

Adding vinegar to milk to substitute for buttermilk just doesn't work.  I don't know why, but it doesn't, even though all the cookbooks say it does.  If I don't have buttermilk on hand (which I almost never do), I use yoghurt thinned with a little milk.  Then you get the tender crumb you're looking for.

 

Agree that if you're going to use applesauce instead of oil, use unsweetened.

Can't say I agree--I use soured milk all the time as a buttermilk substitute with good results.  Pancakes/waffles, muffins, cupcakes, biscuits.....


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#10 annabelle

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 08:58 AM

It's been working fine for me for 40 years.



#11 andiesenji

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:08 PM

First, and most important.   Do not use margarine.   If you don't want to use butter then get some coconut oil that is solid at room temp and works like butter in cakes, etc.

 

You cannot substitute sweet milk for buttermilk unless you add something like citric acid or Cream of Tartar to the batter - you can add the citric acid to the milk (or add lemon juice or vinegar)

This acts as a LEAVENING AGENT, not just a liquid. 

 

I make homemade applesauce and use it in baking but I use half the liquid (if any) in the recipe and reduce the number of eggs (if any) by half and reduce the amount of oil.  

 

Go to this link  and read the section under "Moisture"   and if you have a very thin and runny applesauce, cook it down to a thicker consistency.


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#12 scryedzxp

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 02:23 PM

Why applesauce at all is the question I have? Are you just trying to cut fat from your diet?

Exactly.

 

You could also use yoghurt in place of the buttermilk - the important thing is IMHO is to have the acid reacting with the bicarbonate *in the batter* not before - otherwise lots of that gas that gives the beautiful crumb is just being wasted. You need the carbon dioxide being produced in the cake, not in the air :D

I actually tried greek yogurt before experimenting with the applesauce.. the results were less than desirable. I actually forgot what the results were - I think it was very dense and wet..

 

oh, and did you make the original recipe as described so you have an idea what the 'standard' result is in your oven under your conditions?

Yup with the exception of the buttermilk but it came out fine

 

Sweetened applesauce will make everything too sweet....and it's bringing more liquid sugar to the party, changing the ratios of the original recipe even more.

Taking note of this, I strained out most of the liquid in the applesauce. Results below.

 

Why not use part strained greek yogurt and part applesauce?

I didn't have any cheesecloth or any coffee filters to strain the greek yogurt (my fine mesh colander wasn't helpful. it did strain the applesauce though) but I did try the half-and-half combination. Results below.
 

Do not use margarine.

Why? The one that I bought has no transfat in it..

 

If you don't want to use butter then get some coconut oil that is solid at room temp and works like butter in cakes, etc.

I'm trying to avoid using any sort of fat in this recipe, so coconut oil is out of the question. If it turns out that I just can't get it to work without fat, I'll use minimal fat as possible (in this case I'd stick with the I can't believe it's not butter! margarine, since the total fat is just 5g (8%) where as the coconut oil is 14g (21%) - is surprisingly higher than butter (12g, 18%).

So anyway, I tried 2 different batches this time (and I took in everyone's suggestion):

Note: I poured the vinegar and baking soda combination directly into the batter (as suggested).
Attempt 4 - more vinegar, 1/2 (strained) applesauce + 1/2 greek yogurt (in place of the oil). Results : not as wet but there's still the rubbery texture. Picture : http://s23.postimg.o...0123_105541.jpg

Attempt 5 - more vinegar, greek yogurt (in place of the oil). Results : crumby but still kind of dense. Picture : http://s21.postimg.o...0123_105633.jpg

Other possible experiments (different combinations of the following):

 - try buttermilk

 - strain greek yogurt

 - try unsweetened applesauce (I'm pretty sure I'm still going to get the rubbery texture regardless)

 - half margarine + greek yogurt


Edited by scryedzxp, 23 January 2014 - 02:48 PM.


#13 jmacnaughtan

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 02:35 PM

If you really want a fat-free, apple-flavored cupcake, you might be better off scrapping the recipe and using a fat-free Genoise soaked with apple syrup.  Guaranteed rise, guaranteed moistness, guaranteed apple flavor (especially if you add a hit of Calvados to the syrup, and maybe cinnamon to the batter) and no worries about acidity or leavening.

 

Just a thought.

 

Then you can pile on the fat with the buttercream icing.



#14 judiu

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 05:27 PM

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is made with water beaten into it, so that needs to be taken into account, as well. All the "low fat" margarines are, which is why you get toast that tastes waterlogged when you use them.(Shudder). Give me the real thing, and I'll die fat and happy!
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#15 annabelle

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 06:53 PM

You could always add some butter flavoring (I know, I know).  You can find it over by the spices next to the extracts.

 

judi is correct that many margarines have water whipped into them.  If your recipe specifically calls for oil, I wouldn't sub out more than half the oil with applesauce and would still add the oil or melted butter.


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#16 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 12:22 PM

 

Adding vinegar to milk to substitute for buttermilk just doesn't work.  I don't know why, but it doesn't, even though all the cookbooks say it does.  If I don't have buttermilk on hand (which I almost never do), I use yoghurt thinned with a little milk.  Then you get the tender crumb you're looking for.

 

Agree that if you're going to use applesauce instead of oil, use unsweetened.

Can't say I agree--I use soured milk all the time as a buttermilk substitute with good results.  Pancakes/waffles, muffins, cupcakes, biscuits.....

 

That's interesting.   I've tried using sweet milk with vinegar numerous times and the baked goods just DON'T come out as tender as those I make with buttermilk or thinned yoghurt. 

 

Maybe I give off bad electro-magnetic joojoo or something.



#17 annabelle

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 01:33 PM

Sylvia, have you tried the dried buttermilk that you can reconstitute?  It works well, but has a tendency to get hard as a rock in the container.  I've had to dump the powder in the food processor and whizz it up (dry) to unclump it.


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#18 andiesenji

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 01:53 PM

 

 

Adding vinegar to milk to substitute for buttermilk just doesn't work.  I don't know why, but it doesn't, even though all the cookbooks say it does.  If I don't have buttermilk on hand (which I almost never do), I use yoghurt thinned with a little milk.  Then you get the tender crumb you're looking for.

 

Agree that if you're going to use applesauce instead of oil, use unsweetened.

Can't say I agree--I use soured milk all the time as a buttermilk substitute with good results.  Pancakes/waffles, muffins, cupcakes, biscuits.....

 

That's interesting.   I've tried using sweet milk with vinegar numerous times and the baked goods just DON'T come out as tender as those I make with buttermilk or thinned yoghurt. 

 

Maybe I give off bad electro-magnetic joojoo or something.

 

Bring the milk to room temp - measure it out the night before and leave it out overnight then add the vinegar or lemon juice and allow it to set for 20-30 minutes.  Unless it is very unusual, it will form clumps. 


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