The desire to bake can hit at a moment’s notice, often when you’ve not yet changed out of pajamas to hit the grocery store. Just because you don’t have eggs or buttermilk doesn’t mean you have to settle for something else for breakfast. Baking is essentially just science with tastier results, so there are ways to test and find successful baking substitutions for everyday ingredients.  

What are buttermilk pancakes without their title ingredient? There’s a quick way to mimic the sour liquid: Mix milk and lemon juice together, then let the acid in the juice quickly curdle the milk. Flaxseed and water create the fluffy, fatty texture of a fresh egg, helping pancakes rise just as tall as ever. If you know nothing about cake flour—except for the fact that there’s definitely none in your pantry—just mix all-purpose flour with cornstarch. And of course, we’ve all been met with an empty jar of baking powder at one time. Here's your lifesaver: cream of tartar + baking soda = baking powder.Commit this equation to memory, and you’ll never have limp muffins again.

Chocolate Chip "Buttermilk" Pancakes

  • Yields: 16 pancakes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Hands-On Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes



  1. 1. Whisk together milk and lemon juice in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Whisk together flaxseed meal and water in a medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add milk mixture to flaxseed mixture; whisk to combine. Set aside.

  2. Grind 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in a coffee grinder until fine and powdery, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

  3. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Gently stir milk mixture into flour mixture. Gently stir in melted butter. (Batter will be lumpy.) Let stand 5 minutes.

  4. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot (about 350°F) buttered griddle. Sprinkle each pancake with about 2 teaspoons dark chocolate chips and about 1 teaspoon pecans. Cook until pancake edges are dry and bottom is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.Turn and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve pancakes warm, topped with butter and sprinkled with ground sugar.

Triple Berry Muffins

  • Yields: 18 muffins
  • Cook Time: 28 minutes
  • Hands-On Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes



  1. 1. Toss together strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and 1 tablespoon of the flour in a large bowl; set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together cornstarch and remaining 1 3/4 cups flour in a medium bowl. Whisk together cream of tartar and baking soda in a small bowl. Whisk cream of tartar mixture and salt into cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

  3. Beat butter with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer on medium speed until creamy. With mixer running, gradually add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add cornstarch mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with cornstarch mixture, beating on low speed just until blended after each addition. Gently fold in berry mixture.

  4. Place 18 paper baking cups in muffin pans. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 26 to 28 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer muffins to racks, and cool 15 minutes.