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What can i substitute butter for in cake? (1 Viewer)


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Hey guys,

Recently got into baking and ive been wanting to practice more, most recipes ive found lately call for butter but lets be honest butter aint as cheap as it used to be lol! Ive been baking a lot and if i was to start using butter in every recipe id be looking at 1-2 whole brick of butter per week just for baking Can i substitute butter for oil or will that completely ruin my recipes (if so whats the ratio that i should use)? And If i can't substitute with oil what can i use that will not totally ruin the flavour?
Hi @laflamme472

Welcome to the site. :)

That's fabulous that you've gotten into baking, and I appreciate that ingredients can be on the expensive side; however, there are a few things to consider when you substitute alternative ingredients in recipes, as they can alter the taste and the texture of the bake and can cause a whole host of problems with your overall baking results. (Thus, costing you more money in the long run).

🧈 Butter adds fats to cakes when baking, which gives the cake a light texture, flavour, and firmer structure. When the butter melts, the water content adds steam to the cake, helping it rise. However, I only ever use blocks of butter (sticks) when making buttercream so that it holds its shape; in all my other bakes, I tend to use a buttery margarine, depending on my recipe and what I want to make.

Oil will create a moist cake, but if your recipe calls for the creaming method (where you mix butter and sugar to incorporate air), you will be unable to trap the air in the sugar crystals, thus giving you a denser, flatter cake when baked as you will be unable to incorporate air into it.

There is also a fat difference between butter and oil too. Butter is made up of around 80% fat, then split between water, salt and milk solids, whereas oil is 100% fat. Therefore, you wouldn't be able to substitute the oil like for like with butter as the ratios don't add up. You would, therefore, roughly have to use a reduced amount of oil to ensure you have the right amount of fat in your bake.

There are, however, many recipes on the internet, such as cookies, cakes and brownies, whereby you will be able to use oil, so search out those tried and tested recipes so that you know that they will work when you bake them and this will help with your purse strings.

If you are going to have a play about with oil, then I would suggest vegetable oil rather than olive oil, as olive oil can leave a distinct flavour that you would be able to taste in your cake when it's baked.

To help you, I have linked below to some of the tutorials I have for cakes and bakes on my site, showing that I use a buttery margarine for most of them.

I hope this helps.

Good luck and Happy Baking! 👨‍🍳

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