🔕 🔔

My Basket ()

All questions

butter vs. oil in baking

I know this is a much debated topic, so here goes. I often find that I miss the moistness in cake when only using butter. I think it's the oil I'm missing. I'm wondering where others come down on this, and, even more so, whether anyone has a tried and true method for substituting some oil for butter in a cake recipe.

asked by ATG117 about 6 years ago
5 answers 26182 views
C1ee2f1b 1227 490d 835a 4cd5e3a2e04c  marnely1 1
added about 6 years ago

It definitely depends on your recipe; I've made cakes with just butter and they are extremely moist. Butter is a fat that can be aerated when creamed, oil can't. You'll miss out on the texture butter offers, but oil is great in quick breads like banana breads (much denser products, not as airy as cake)

66fa82d9 408a 4328 aad8 6f82807cfacb  19935 292165946404 502966404 5168928 1994829 n
added about 6 years ago

I'm not sure that oil vs. butter makes a huge difference with moistness - I mostly notice a difference with flavor! I do know that adding applesauce or other fruit to a recipe helps to make it really moist - also that apple sauce etc. can be used in place of all or part of the oil in certain recipes. Not sure if that helps at all! (Personally - I usually opt for butter...)

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 6 years ago

If your cakes seem dry, you may be overbaking them a bit. Oil works very well in quick breads, and is also used in chiffon cakes (made with separated eggs, and the whites beaten separately and folded in). It won't work in cakes where butter is called for because of the emulsion that is created when butter and sugar are creamed together, and the eggs added one at a time.

E4b7660b f3f6 4873 bd6d 2130a16403fb  img 1088

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 6 years ago

I agree with boulangere (and after all, she is the baker!) about overbaking. It could be that your oven temperature is slightly off to the high side. Butter and oil impart completely different qualities to a cake. The much-discussed Food52 chocolate bundt cake http://www.food52.com/recipes... is made with oil. It has a very open crumb and is very moist--almost like a steamed pudding. Cakes with butter have a much finer close-together crumb, as well as that all-important butter flavor. Rather than add oil (or applesauce) to a recipe that calls for butter, try checking your cake 5-10 minutes before the prescribed time, and remove it as soon as the tester comes out dry. I bet you'll be happier with teh result.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 1 year ago

I know this is an old post but for others looking for answers, I found out that to substitute oil for butter or vice versa, you need a ratio of 3/4 C oil for 1 C butter.

Let's Keep in Touch!

Get the recipes and features that have us talking, plus first dibs on events and limited-batch products.

(Oh, and $10 off your order of $50 or more in the Food52 Shop, too.)

Please enter a valid email address.