Olive Oil Vs. Canola Oil: Which Is Better For Baking Cake?

When you're baking a cake, you might be accustomed to using butter to add fat to the recipe (or maybe vegetable oil, if you usually rely on boxed cake mix). But you don't have to stick with butter for every recipe, or even one type of oil. Both olive oil and canola oil will work for baking cakes, depending on what you want the final dessert to taste like.

According to Bakestarters, canola oil is the best choice for baking most cakes because it won't affect the flavor of the cake at all and will let other ingredients like chocolate or vanilla bean shine. So if you don't really want to notice the oil in your cake, reach for canola. According to Livestrong, canola oil is also low in saturated fat, so it'll make a deliciously moist cake while also being a little healthier than some other choices like vegetable oil.

If you're using a recipe that calls for vegetable oil, switching to canola oil is super simple. According to Southern Living, the two can be used interchangeably, so just use the same amount of canola oil to replace the vegetable oil. The health factor is the main reason to make the switch — while it's lower in saturated fat, some research has shown that canola oil might also lower your total cholesterol, including "bad" LDL cholesterol.

How to bake a cake with olive oil

You can also use olive oil for baking, but it does have the potential to change the flavor of the cake. According to Livestrong, if you're going to use olive oil in a cake recipe, it's best to reach for a bottle of "light" or refined olive oil. This will just make your cake moist and won't really affect the flavor like extra virgin olive oil can.

However, you can also find cake recipes that highlight olive oil's flavor. For those cakes, the whole point is to enjoy the oil's flavor, so you wouldn't want to swap the olive oil for canola oil or something else. According to Taste of Home, cakes made with extra virgin olive oil usually aren't too sweet and often have other ingredients like citrus or almonds to give them a hint of another flavor. If you like olive oil cakes, you can also use it as a substitute for butter in other cake recipes, or swap out vegetable or canola oil for olive oil.

If you're just looking for a general replacement for butter or vegetable oil, canola oil is probably the best choice for baking cake, because it's easy to sub in and a little healthier than other fats. But sometimes, with the right recipe, olive oil is the perfect choice for a rich, moist cake.