Is Butter Or Oil Better For Cake Recipes?

Whether using the best cake recipe or just using a boxed cake mix to satisfy your sweet tooth, you may be unsure if you should be using oil or butter as the fat content element of the ingredients. Maybe you're out of oil, so butter seems like a better option. Or, maybe you're just trying to create a better texture than just any other boxed cake mix. While there seems to be a debate about oil vs. butter when it comes to baking the perfect cake, the answer about which one creates a better product seems to depend on the type of cake you're baking.

When baking a cake, you need some kind of fat to add to the flavor, rise, and texture of the cake (via Food Heaven Magazine). These fats could be oil, butter, or shortening depending on the type of texture and rise the cake should have. And while bakers don't recommend substituting oil for butter in a recipe unless the recipe is calling for melted butter, there is some discussion about which fat is better. Everyone makes mistakes when baking a cake, but don't let butter or oil mess you up.

It depends on the cake

When baking a cake with butter, you get fuller, more developed flavors in your cake. You are also able to get a better rise from the cake due to the water in the butter that evaporates when baked. Butter is usually the go-to when deciding on a fat to use, but that doesn't always mean it will get you the best texture overall. If a recipe calls for butter, especially room temperature butter, you should follow the directions, since this usually means you will be creaming it, creating a fluffier cake (via Martha Stewart). So sticking with the butter may be best to keep the integrity of the cake that you're baking.

When using oil to bake a cake rather than a solid fat like butter, you will end up with a more tender cake. Since oil is a liquid at room temperature, you get a final product that has more moisture throughout. Its liquid form also calls for less mixing so the batter doesn't get over-mixed, which usually causes a tougher cake in the end (via Washington Post). So, using oil instead of butter for your cake really just depends on the cake you want to make.