Experts and BHG readers answer.
When is it best to use pure vanilla extract in my desserts and when can I use imitation vanilla flavoring?
In oven-baked sweets, such as cakes and cookies, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the flavor of items prepared with pure vanilla and imitation vanilla flavoring. So for baked goods, imitation vanilla is just fine.
In low-heat treats, such as puddings, pastry creams, and icings, the taste difference is more noticeable. For best results, use pure vanilla extract for these treats and for frozen dessert items.