Margarine vs butter in baking

I know margarine is oil and not used widely in baking now days, but wondered what the difference in the results are when a recipe calls for margarine and you use butter. I just posted a recipe from my Mother that calls for margarine, it could be that back in the 50's or 60's everyone used margarine. My question is other than taste is there an appreciable difference when you use margarine rather than butter in baked goods.

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sdebrango September 24, 2011
The cake was terrific and the butter as you suspected boulangere made the cake buttery and delicious. My grand daughter had some today and my daughter took it home with her. I think it was a success. Thank you to everyone for your help!!
boulangere September 24, 2011
Interesting note, amysarah. You're right, sdb, in the in the '50s and '60's margarine was the new black. I would suspect that your sub of butter will only be for the better in every way.
amysarah September 23, 2011
Margarine is also often used in kosher cooking/baking. For instance, immediately following a 'meat meal', you can't eat a dessert made with dairy products.

sdebrango September 23, 2011
@ATG117 thank you I have used vegan margarine for the same reason and I imagine that the cake or whatever baked good would be more moist using the margarine. I actually made the cake today using butter to try it out and it turned out well. My recollection from my childhood is well, a little blurred since it was so so long ago. I think the recipe made with butter has a different crumb and is a bit less moist but nonetheless very good and you just can't beat that buttery taste,
ATG117 September 23, 2011
I've used margarine before when the baked goods I was making could not contain dairy. Margarine obviously lacks the buttery flavor, but otherwise I think it's a pretty safe substitution (though not necessarily great for you) in cakes and cookies. I actually found cakes made with margarine were often a bit more moist. But I haven't used it all that often.
sdebrango September 23, 2011
I agree ChefJune, the flavor is far superior and I have only baked with vegan margarine out of necessity. I am going to try my recipe with butter and see how it turns out, Thanks everyone
sdebrango September 23, 2011
Maybe the margarine is good for the frosting in this recipe, its a soft frosting that is poured onto a hot cake. Thank you so much erikal.
ChefJune September 23, 2011
Well, I was baking back in the "margarine era" when they tried to tell us it was better for us than butter. I have never cared for it, either flavor or texture-wise. Technically, they work interchangeably. However, the flavor is always better with butter, imho.
erikal September 23, 2011
I've made frosting with margarine, too, and it never "sets up," I'm assuming because margarine is so much softer than butter at room temp. I'm sure that swapping equal quantities of butter for margarine will work fine (and possibly better) in your recipe.
sdebrango September 23, 2011
Thank you erikal, the recipe uses margarine for both the cake and frosting I have used vegan margarine before and the results were ok, it was chocolate chip cookies. The recipe is pretty old and I think that using butter would be alright even though the recipe calls for margarine. I like butter for the flavor but wondered what textural difference there could be. Thank you again,
erikal September 23, 2011
Yes, there's a significant diff--I use margarine when making baked goods for a friend who cannot have whey or casein, so have to use vegan margarine, to boot. Cookies are softer--I haven't figured out how to get chewiness with of margarine batters. They also don't develop a crispy top/crust, and they don't brown as well. Brownies and other bar cookies suffer, too, though less noticeably. Again, it's a textural diff. And all baked goods taste "flat" when compared to those made with butter, because margarine itself has a very flat and not a "rounded" flavor. I would never choose to use margarine for anything but sometimes, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
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