Is Oil Or Butter Better For Cakes? (Best Oils To Use)

This is one of the most popular questions is which is better to use oil or butter. This will be addressed below so you can decide for yourself what you will prefer to use based on the properties and benefits it gives to a cake.

Is Oil Or Butter Better For Cakes?

Using oil or butter in cakes will be better depending on the type of cake that you are making. Butter tends to be used when making vanilla cakes or pound cakes. The combination is really good it makes a really rich flavorful and denser cake. Oil is often used in baking recipes for chocolate cakes, brownies or banana breads.

The primary purpose of oil is to add moisture, prevent a dry texture, and keep its flavor neutral. Oil and butter can be better than the other depending on how you use them in a recipe. 

If you were to use the creaming method to create a light and airy cake you can’t mix oil and sugar together and expect it to become fluffy and creamed. Only butter and sugar can do something like that. 

If you like a butter-flavored cake then adding butter to your cake would be best for you. If you like something that’s moist and tender think carrot cake then using oil would be best.

Check out this article all about butter and the best Butter to use if you’ve been thinking about using butter in your cake.

There are so many ways to make a cake super moist Beyond just using oil and butter. I am going to share more about what other ingredients you can use. As well answering can you use both oil and butter in the cake at the same time and what type of flavor you should expect based on the oil you choose to use.

Can I Use Both Oil And Butter In the Cake

You can indeed use both oil and butter in a cake but it’s not always exactly a 1:1 exchange. This will highly depend on the cake. If it’s an oil-based cake and were to the oil with butter especially if the cake needs moisture an exact exchange wouldn’t work. 

But in a butter-based cake substituting it for oil might work well as a butter base cake doesn’t require the texture to be moist. There have been tests done where bakers have done half butter and oil in a recipe and it worked out well. They’re really aren’t any fixed rules using both sometimes can help you get the best of both worlds when it comes to making your cake. 

There’s usually some wiggle room when it comes to adding fats to a cake. When it comes to this topic you’ll get different answers. Whether you decide to interchange oil or butter or use both, it’s going to affect the consistency. The water from the butter might act differently with the other ingredients within the recipe where using the oil may not have reacted at all.

When To Add Oil To Cake Batter

Adding oil to cake batter is perfect for cakes that require a mutual fat so it doesn’t overpower the overall flavor of the cake from the other ingredients in a recipe. you’ll usually see this a lot in carrot cake, chocolate cake, and banana cake.  you especially want to add oil to a cake batter if you are looking for a more moist and tender cake that is especially constant in a room temperature environment.

Buddy Valastro from Cakeboss, states that it is possible to substitute butter for oil but it’s something that you would have to test because it depends on the type of cake so he recommends that you test the cake with both butter and oil Separately to see which one you like best. He did mention That if a recipe calls for butter it is usually better but you may like it better with oil but the consistency will change. And you have to be ready for that.

If you’re not looking to take a risk on your cake especially if it’s currently butter-based but you want to be able to add oil it’s best to just find a recipe where the cake is oil-based so there’s no guessing involved or testing. 

Which oil is best to use in cakes?

The best oils to use in your cake are neutral flavorless oils. There are some exceptions where some people like using olive oil especially if making a olive oil cake. When choosing the right oil for making a cake it comes down to the type of oil that you prefer to use in your cake. 

As you start to test more you may grow a preference for a type of oil that you prefer to add to your cake that suits your taste.

Below you’ll find a list of oils that are common to be used in cakes

Common Oils that is best to use in cakes:

Type Of Oil To Bake With

Flavour Type

Oil Details
Sunflower oilFlavorlessLess processed
Canola oilNeutral flavorHas less fat than most other oils
Vegetable oilFlavorless
Extra virgin olive oilVery subtle flavorHas less fat than most other oils
Coconut oilHas a coconut-type flavor if you use refined coconut oil it won’t have a flavorIt is known to add a nice sweetness to your cake
Grapeseed oilNeutral flavorThis oil is on the “healthier” side
Avocado oilNeutral flavorLess processed “healthier”

Which Ingredient Produces A More Moist Cake?

There are many ingredients that produce a more moist cake, here is a list that helped with that.

  1. Mayonnaise – It makes chocolate cakes so moist
  2. Sour cream – It acts as fat making the cake batter creamier
  3. Vegetable oil 
  4. Pudding mix – It has a starch ingredient that helps the cake retain water
  5. Full-Fat Greek Yogurt
  6. Buttermilk
  7. Soaking your cake in simple syrups
  8. Cane sugar 
  9. Brown sugar
  10. Applesauce

Simple Syrup 

Simple syrup is used to moisten a cake. It’s recommended to use on a cake that has a great structure as it can start to break down the cake especially if it’s not strong enough especially when sliced.  It is very simple to make it consists of sugar and hot water mixed together and it’s equal amount so if you use 50g of sugar you will add 50g of water and mix.

It is recommended to use it mostly if you know the cake is going to be still in your house for more than 48 hours. Otherwise, it’s usually commercial bakers that use this to keep a cake moist and it’s not so much needed for whole bakers. 

Though it is a rising popular thing to add to your cake to make it more it’s not everyone enjoys adding syrup to their cake as some don’t like the flavor and it is known that this was a method used back in the day to cover up people who are bad Bakers. not to say that you’re a bad baker. 

Brown and Cane sugar

Using any of these ingredients would help your cake become even moister because of its properties. Especially experimenting with using different types of sugars they don’t all work the same and the sugars mentioned in this list are known to retain moisture really well so you will definitely notice a big difference in your cake.  The darker the sugar the more moisture it will provide for the cake because of the molasses in the brown sugar and cane sugar.  

Is Oil Or Butter Healthier For Cake?

There is an option to use a more healthier oil Such as Extra virgin olive oil Or canola oil which is known to have less saturated fats. But given the quantity that is usually used in a cake batter it’s very unlikely that using the amount of butter or oil will add to the calorie count compared to the common ingredients usually use such as sugar, milk, and flour.

Choosing between oil or using butter when baking quick Baking cake shouldn’t be based on which one is healthier as if both are not consumed in moderation it will not be good for you. Cakes in general are not known as a healthy treat but a dessert to consume in moderation and fulfill a guilty pleasure for something sweet.

If you’re going to bake a cake the deciding factor for using oil or butter should be based on the type of cake you want to make, the texture you’re looking for, and the overall type of cake that you’re feeling for. Depending on the fat that you choose it’ll play a big factor in the consistency you get.

There are some people that prefer a buttery cake because it has great flavor it’s known to be light and is crumbly and more on the drier side. Then there are others who prefer a  more oil-based cake because it’s very moist, and tender. On the other side of this, there are people out there that don’t like the oily aspects of cake. So if you’re a cake person, it really comes down to personal taste: do you prefer an oil or butter-based cake?

How Does Oil Affect The Taste Of Cake?

Using oil in cake tends not to affect the taste of the cake. Compared to butter which is full of flavor, oil is flavorless and doesn’t add any type of flavor. unless you’re using olive oil it may have a slight flavor. Oil is used in cake recipes to smooth out the texture and ensure that all of the other ingredients are noticeable and doesn’t overpower any flavors.

Does Oil Or Butter Help Cakes Last Longer?

Generally, oil-based cakes tend to last longer in terms of freshness, taste and texture for the main reason that the cake doesn’t undergo any changes from being in a cold or room temperature environment. So the moisture of the cake is constant. For a butter-based cake, there are more steps involved to keep it as fresh as possible.

Keeping a butter-based cake in the fridge will start to dry out over time. The texture will start to get weird if the proper measures aren’t taken. The risk you’re taking when putting the cake in the refrigerator is the cake absorbing the odor from the fridge and it drying out.

One of the things that you can do is if the cake is “bare” without any frosting, it can be cling-wrapped so it’s sealed tight in the refrigerator especially if it’s waiting for you to frost it and you’re expecting to eat the cake in a few days.

 It is still important that whether it’s an oil-based cake or a butter-based cake it is monitored closely. The key thing is you want to make sure that there’s no moisture in the cardboard or within a container because that’s what’s going to create mold. You want to keep the cake as dry as possible wherever you decide to store it. 

The recommended shelf life is usually about 3 to 5 days but it’s not necessarily abnormal if a cake lasts longer and lasts 10 days. Eventually, the cake will get stale especially if there are no preservatives. You will know when it gets stale because there’ll be a day where you will taste the cake and it will no longer taste good. There isn’t really a fixed time because everyone’s room and fridge temperature are different. 

How Do You Keep A Cake Fresh For 5 Days

To keep a cake fresh for at least 5 days the goal is to prevent the cake from drying out if in the fridge. If you plan to keep the cake in the fridge longer, it is best to use a Tupperware that can fit your cake to keep it sealed. Once taken out of the fridge it is important to give the cake time to get back to its room temperature else the cake won’t be that good. 

If the cake is a butter-based cake the texture will be different because of the butter being solid because of the cold temperature.  If the cake is frosted it actually helps to seal the cake and protect it and prevents the cake from drying out from being in the fridge. 

An oil-based cake tends to do well being in the fridge and staying fresher. When taken out of the fridge it will have its moist texture immediately and there will be no requirement for it to adjust to room temperature. 

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