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If a cake recipe calls for 2/3 cup shortening, can I use butter?

asked by Terry Schacht 15 days ago

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6 answers 159 views
Emma Laperruque
Emma Laperruque

Food Writer & Recipe Developer at Food52

added 15 days ago

What's the recipe? (Usually yes, but it does depend.)

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Smaug
added 15 days ago

Among the things it depends on is how the author is using the word- shortening is strictly speaking any fat that is used to (surprise) shorten the cake or pastry, but is often used nowadays to mean the Crisco product. If it's in a book, it's always a good idea to read the "ingredients" section at the beginning of the book. If it's in a newspaper or online, you're likely on your own. At any rate the main functional differences between butter and Crisco would be meting temperature and moisture content, neither of which is likely to make a big difference in a cake.

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Terry Schacht
added 15 days ago

Thank you. It was just a recipe I cut out of something. I did use just butter but it almost doubled the cooking time.

Smaug
added 14 days ago

I'd like to hear the opinions of some other bakers, but I would say that it's virtually impossible that the substitution was the reason for that discrepancy. Hope your cake came out well, anyway.

spiffypaws
added 12 days ago

shortening is 100% fat, butter is about 80% fat and 20% water. So yes you can use butter but you need to adjust the recipe.

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Smaug
added 11 days ago

20% is a legal maximum; most of the stuff you actually buy is more likely to be in the 16%-17% range; still a bit much to ignore.