I've been thinking about this for a while, but was moved to post after the discussion on the NAF board. When cooking, if I find a recipe that's otherwise interesting, I can substitute real ingredients for packaged, i.e. white sauce for cream of mushroom soup, and things like that. I don't know how to do this so well in baking--I usually just don't choose recipes with instant pudding in them. However, after my honeymoon, I was looking for a recipe for tortuga rum cake, and found only the one linked below. I tried it, and it does indeed taste very much like the rum cake from the Caymans, but I would certainly prefer to not use the instant pudding. What purpose does the pudding mix serve, and should I sub cornstarch or something? Or make up a batch of pudding and reduce the liquid in the recipe? There's only 1/2 cup milk in the recipe, but a lot of oil. Any guidance?