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Oil or Butter for cakes?

Which should you use?

Baking cakes is fun, well we think so anyway. Trying new recipes can go two ways, either it will go really well, or it will be a disaster. If it goes wrong, it’s okay (as long as it’s not a cake that is needed straight away), sometimes practice makes perfect, the more you try the more likely you are to succeed. And if after a few tries if it still doesn’t go right, perhaps you need to find a new recipe.

Something that you may notice when exploring new methods of creating delicious bakes, you may notice that some recipes call for butter and some use oil. So, a good question is should you use oil or butter for cakes?

It really depends on the type of cake you are making in our opinion, and sometimes it’s personal preference. Obviously, a big part of your decision is the recipe you’re following too. They both can create delicious cakes, but they do have slightly different effects on the taste and texture of the cake.

You’ll probably find that most traditional English recipes will call for butter, but if you look at more American recipes, you might find oil comes up more often. Here are some factors to think about when you are making your decision on which is the right one to use:

  • If you’re looking to create moisture in a cake, oil tends to help create a moister, more tender crumb to the cake. If you prefer this kind of cake then oil may be the better choice. A particular cake which is hard to get moist is chocolate cake, the addition of cocoa powder can draw moisture out of the batter, so using oil in this example could help you achieve a moister cake.
  • Butter adds a rich, buttery flavour to cakes, which many people enjoy. While oil has a more neutral taste, which means that other flavours in the cake can stand out more. Our preference is still butter for a lot of recipes where possible, especially when you are aiming for a classic tasting cake such as Victoria Sponge.
  • Texture can be different depending on which one you use. Butter can create a slightly denser texture, which oil can result in a lighter fluffier cake. Again, a lot of it is down to personal preference, and recipes can choose one ingredient over another as they’ve been tried and tested many times to get the best result.
  • Dietary needs – there are times when you may not be able to use butter in a recipe, and this is most likely due to a dietary restriction. It could be that someone who will be eating the cake could be lactose intolerant and will require a dairy free cake. Or you need to create a vegan cake so may need to find a vegan alternative to butter, as well as finding an egg replacement to make it fully vegan. There may be some recipes for these kinds of cakes that suggest substituting some ingredients for oil to create these types of cakes.

There may be some situations where you use a combination of both butter and oil to take advantage of the combination of both of their Individual characteristics. For example, you may use butter to add its rich buttery flavour and a bit of oil to create a moister cake.

Choosing the right fat for your cake can be a bit tricky to decide, we always suggest if you’re following a recipe to use the fat that they’ve written as an ingredient. If you’re not 100% happy with the flavour or the texture after a few goes of the recipe, but otherwise are pleased with it you could consider experimenting and adapting the existing recipe to suit you.

Grateful for the knowledge but still a bit unsure? Let us take the stress out of baking for you. We several cake ranges available in a wide variety of flavours. Whether you’re looking for a birthday cake, gluten free cake, or vegan cake, we can deliver them to you.