Box cakes are a simple alternative to breaking out all the baking supplies in your home. They’re effortless; most recipes call for just water, oil, eggs, and in some cases, butter. So what do you do when you’ve mixed the water and oil and just realized you don’t have any eggs? No, you don’t need to find a recipe for an eggless, milkless, butterless cake — though there are some out there. Just follow these simple substitutions.
If you’re missing eggs, try pureed fruit. Because eggs help your cake to rise and keep it moist, they can be difficult to replace. Fortunately, most box-cake mixes include powder leavening agents that will pick up some of the slack. Replace each egg your recipe calls for with one smashed banana or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. Note that the change in ingredients could slightly disrupt the texture of your cake, or the amount of time it takes to bake.
If you’re missing oil, try melted butter. Some experts say using melted butter as a replacement for oil improves the taste and texture of box cakes. Use the same measurement of butter as the recipe calls for in oil.
If you want to replace water, try milk. If you’re baking a white cake, consider adding milk instead of water. This simple swap will add density and flavor to your cake.