Mayo, Cola, Bacon and Kale: How To Give Your Baked Treats an Out-of-the-Box Twist

There is more to baking than just flour, butter and eggs

Annabelle D’Costa

When it comes to desserts, there are a few ingredients that are a given—butter, flour and eggs. But what about chillies and mayo? You really can use them to add zing to your baking. 

Here are these and more secret ingredients that will take your baking to the next level: 

Baking with Apple Cider Vinegar


If you’re wondering what role does the sharp flavours of apple cider vinegar play in soft, fragrant, moist, and delicious baked goodies, you’re not alone. Acidic nature of vinegar helps in leavening and stabilising vegan confections. It is often used for its flavour enhancing properties.

Baking with Kombucha 

Did you know that Kombucha, a probiotic drink could actually stand in as a starter culture for gluten-free sourdough? Besides, you could also use the drink’s carbonation and acidity to add fluffiness and some flavour to your muffins, quick breads and more. 

Baking with Herbs

Herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are often associated with savouries. However, they could help add a delicate dimension to baked goods. Think citrusy and bittersweet undertones of lemon thyme cake or the rich warmth of orange, chocolate and cinnamon! To get you started on baking with herbs, here's a Gondhoraj Poppyseed Cake recipe 

Baking with Nut Milk Pulp

Instead of throwing away the leftover pulp of a homemade nut- and seed milk, use it in baking and help cut down on food waste. From granola bars to crackers and energy bites, this nut residue helps you in adding a fibrous boost to your baked goodies. 

Baking with Edible Flowers

There is a lot more to edible flowers than just a garnish or cake decoration. Edible flowers such as thyme, sage, rosemary, lilac, mint, fennel, dandelions, chives, calendula and basil make good additions as flavour boosters to both sweet and savoury bakes such as custards and cookies, flans and quiches. 

Baking with Mayonnaise

Dessert with a side of mayonnaise may sounds strange but it is the secret to a rich cookie or a soft cake. “The secret to gooey brownies EVERY TIME is a tbsp of mayonnaise in with the brownie batter. Trust me. You do not know true pleasure until you’ve tried this,” shares the Instagram user Vicky Smith (@nerdybakes). A little bit of mayo could come a long way in helping make your baked goods moist and dense, thanks to its high-fat content.  

Baking with Bacon

Nothing beats the smokey richness of bacon (unless you are vegan or vegetarian)—breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and even your baked goodies. Combine bacon to your favourite baked treat, and it elevates even the simplest of treats. “All it takes is saving the fat from several batches of bacon, until you have 3/4 cup,” writes Instagram user Kari Hickman, who strongly recommends substituting oil or butter with bacon fat. Baking with bacon, no longer a dream!

Baking with Coca Cola

We all know it's best served chilled on its own, or with Old Monk, but Coca Cola can also be used as a handy ingredient in the kitchen. From a cake to roast chicken or in a crock pot, the dark cola has proved itself to be useful. In fact, there are several recipes for utilising Coca-Cola on the company website. From frosting, peanut brittle and ice cream to muffins and more, baking with coca-cola is one of the most popular baking tricks. 

Baking with Veggies

Veggies aren’t just meant for side dishes to go with your dining table’s piece-de-resistance. They are also great in desserts!  Vegetables such as kale, pumpkin, beets and more can be used in an array of fabulous desserts that will make even a sceptic rejoice. Case in point are these chocolate truffles, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and sweet potato buns!

Baking with Juices

From sugar and oil alternatives to natural food colourings and glazes, there’s so much more you can be doing with fruit and vegetable juices. If you’ve got some juice, store-bought or homemade, lying around in your fridge, use it as a substitute for the water or liquid that your original recipe calls for. For a more detailed guide on

baking with juices

, don’t forget to check this out:

Baking with Spices

Making your dessert a bit spicy may seem counterintuitive, but spices and even chillies can enhance your dessert’s flavour and add a new dimension to your sweet treats. Garam masala has long been Instagrammer and blogger

Deeba Rajpal’s secret baking ingredient

– from dark chocolate truffles, salted butter caramel macarons and cookies to a Whole Grain Bourbon Garam Masala Christmas Cake, Rajpal can’t seem to get enough of the spice.


Editor’s Pick

Recipes of the Day

Related Stories

To feed your hunger for more


Want more? Click on the tags below for more videos and stories