Yogurt in bowl on rustic black table - Photo of plain natural organic yoghurt close up.

Yogurt can add an unexpected tang to ho-hum cake recipes. Whether you're looking for a healthy update on an old favorite or you're trying to infuse extra flavor into a cake recipe, yogurt does the job. While there are a plethora of recipes that use yogurt in place of other fats or dairy products, most basic cake recipes can be updated to use yogurt in place of other ingredients. Use plain or low-fat yogurt instead of the sweetened varieties to preserve the balance of sugar in your recipes.

Replace butter with yogurt for a healthier cake. Since you still need plenty of fat for the cake to bake properly, only substitute half the amount of butter for yogurt. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter, use 1/4 cup yogurt and 1/4 cup butter instead.

Replace shortening or oil with yogurt in cake recipes. Exchange half of the oil with 3/4 the amount of yogurt. For example, if your cake calls for 1/2 cup of oil or shortening, use 1/4 cup oil and 3 tbsp. of yogurt. If you're having trouble figuring out the proportions, just remember that one cup is equal to 16 tbsp.

Substitute yogurt for just about any dairy product in cake recipes. Milk, buttermilk, cream, sour cream and creme fraiche can all be replaced by yogurt in equal proportions. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, replace it with 1 cup of yogurt.

Use yogurt to make a quick substitute for baking powder. The general rule for baking powder is 1 tsp. for each cup of flour. Instead, use only 1/4 tsp. baking soda. Exchange 1/2 cup of any liquid in the recipe for 1/2 cup of yogurt. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 tsp. of baking powder and 1 cup of milk, use 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup milk.

Add yogurt to store-bought cake mixes. It will do wonders for the flavor, making it tangy and sweet and uniquely yours. Yogurt works especially well in chocolate or lemon flavored cake mixes. Substitute the yogurt for milk, oil or butter, depending on what the mix calls for.