Baked goods, such as bread, muffins, cookies, and cakes include some kind of fat. Common fats are butter and oil; combine these with eggs and sugar and the fat content of baked goods becomes quite high. Calorie count, though, isn’t the only reason you may wish to reduce or substitute the fat and eggs in your baked goods. For example, butter and eggs are animal by-products and so can’t be used in vegan cooking.
Canned pumpkin is one solution to making your baked goods lower in fat and/or vegan friendly. But you may want to try using canned pumpkin just to add some new flavors to your traditional recipes.
Use with a mix
If you like to use packaged mixes for your cakes, cookies, and brownies, you can substitute the oil and eggs with canned pumpkin.
Packaged mixes usually have the dry ingredients mixed for you, including the sugar. You’re adding the wet ingredients, which are usually butter or oil, eggs, and sometimes water as well.
Skip the fat and eggs and add a 15 ounce can of pureed pumpkin instead, stirring it into the dry mix. This works particularly well with chocolate goods as the pumpkin complements the flavor without overwhelming it.
Baking from scratch
Pureed pumpkin is of course ideal in pumpkin breads and similar baked goods such as pumpkin pie. But you can substitute pureed pumpkin for a portion of the egg and fat in your cookie, cake or muffin recipes to add just a hint of this autumn flavor.
Try adding spiced pureed pumpkin to butter cookies, substituting one-fourth cup of the canned pumpkin for one egg. If you find the taste of spiced pumpkin too strong, use regular pureed pumpkin. Use the same substitution for gingerbread cookies or sugar cookies.
When not to use it
The butter, oil and eggs in baked goods interact with the other ingredients to create certain tastes and textures. Pumpkin has a distinct flavor and any goods you bake using canned pumpkin will carry some of that flavor.
Canned pumpkin, then, may not be suitable in certain recipes. For example, the strong taste of banana may conflict with the richness of the pumpkin, so use applesauce or other substitute for banana muffins or bread.
Goods such as lemon bars or angel food cake aren’t likely to benefit from a pumpkin substitution, either.
Canned pumpkin also changes the texture slightly, as the flour doesn’t interact with the pumpkin in the same way it does with butter and eggs. The baked goods may be denser and have a bit more crumb to them, as canned pumpkin doesn’t create as strong a bond as fat and eggs do.
How to use canned pumpkin
When baking from scratch, in recipes that call for one cup of butter use one-third cup pumpkin and two-thirds cup butter. This reduces the fat in the recipe but provides a sufficient amount of moisture and fat.
Add another fourth of a cup to the recipe to substitute for one egg. In almost any recipe, the one-fourth cup of pumpkin to one egg ratio works well.
If your recipe, whether a mix or from scratch, calls for one stick of butter, one or two eggs, and less than one-third cup of water, use a 15 ounce can of pureed pumpkin if you wish to eliminate the fat and eggs completely.