Can You Use Margarine Instead Of Butter For Cake?

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Cake is a delicious treat that is often made from flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and baking powder or soda.

There are many different types of cake including pound cake, sponge cake, red velvet cake, chiffon cake and includes all kinds of ingredients such as fruit, nuts, frosting and chocolate.

It’s great for all kinds of occasions, from birthday parties to after-school snacks.

Most cakes call for butter in the recipe, but what if you’re out of butter and need to use margarine instead?

When baking cake, margarine can be used as a substitution for butter with some adjustments. Since margarine has a higher water content than butter, using it in cake may result in a more dense and compact cake. To account for this, many recipes that call for butter will also include baking powder.

When substituting margarine for butter in cake, it is important to use a margarine that contains at least 80% vegetable oil to ensure the best results.

How Does Margarine Affect Cakes?

Margarine is made from vegetable oils, water, and emulsifiers. 

It often contains less saturated fat than butter and no cholesterol.

The higher water content in margarine can make cake more dense and compact than if made with butter. 

Using an additional leavening agent such as baking powder helps to offset this difference.

In general, cakes made with margarine will be slightly more moist than those made with butter.

You can make all kinds of cakes such as chocolate cake, vanilla cake, cupcakes and even banana bread with margarine.

You may find that the flavor of your cake is slightly different when made with margarine.

However, this difference is usually not noticeable after the cake is frosted or decorated.

Now let’s go ahead and take a look at a recipe that uses margarine instead of butter to see how it works.

Many have found that substituting margarine for butter in cake recipes works well, with only a slight difference in texture.

When choosing a margarine, it’s best to select a tub variety without trans fats from hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Look for a margarine that lists liquid vegetable oils like canola oil high on the ingredients label and has a similar fat content to butter.

Margarines enriched with milk solids, like Land O’Lakes, can provide a richer flavor that resembles butter nicely in baked goods.

While the cake may not be identical to one made with butter, most people will still enjoy the final product and appreciate the benefits of using a margarine that contains less saturated fat compared to butter.

Margarine Based Cake Recipe

This recipe for a basic cake uses margarine in the batter and produces a light and fluffy cake.

Ingredients you will need:

1 cup (227 grams) margarine, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 2/3 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (177 ml) milk, at room temperature

Follow these steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the margarine on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture in three additions alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat just until combined.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing them from their pans to cool completely on a wire rack.

The Benefits Of Using Margarine For Cakes

Now that we’ve seen how margarine can be used in cake, let’s talk about some of the benefits. 

One benefit of using margarine is that it is usually more affordable than butter. 

Margarine also has a longer shelf life than butter, which means you can buy it in bulk and have it on hand for when you need it.

Another benefit of using margarine is that it often contains less saturated fat than butter. 

This means that it can be a healthier option for those who are trying to watch their saturated fat intake.

So, if you’re out of butter and need to make a cake, go ahead and try out margarine. 

With a few adjustments, you’ll be able to produce a delicious cake that everyone will enjoy.

Many margarines are also free of dairy and contain no lactose, making them suitable for those with dairy restrictions or lactose intolerance.

Margarine manufacturers have worked to formulate spreads with similar fatty acid profiles to butter, using plant-based fats like canola oil that contain mostly monounsaturated fats.

While real butter adds wonderful flavor, suitable margarine alternatives can allow those following a plant-based diet to still enjoy favorite recipes for cakes, cookies and more.

Just be sure to select a tub variety with a higher melting point similar to butter for best results in baking.

With some simple adjustments and choosing the right margarine, home bakers have plenty of options to create treats with delicious flavor for every diet.

Are Cakes Better With Butter Or Margarine?

Some people prefer the taste of cakes made with butter, while others find that they like the taste of cakes made with margarine better.

Cakes made with margarine tend to be more moist than those made with butter.

This is because margarine has a higher water content than butter.

Cakes made with margarine also usually contain less saturated fat than those made with butter. 

This makes them a healthier option for those who are trying to watch their saturated fat intake.

So, if you’re wondering whether you should use butter or margarine in your cake, the best answer is to try both and see which one you like the most.

The flavor difference between cakes made with butter versus margarine will depend largely on the specific margarine used.

Some margarines aim to mimic butter’s rich flavor quite well, while others have a slightly milder taste.

For those who enjoy the richer flavor profile butter provides from its dairy content, it’s difficult to fully replace in recipes.

However, suitable margarine options exist for home bakers who think margarine is the better choice due to dietary restrictions or following a plant-based diet (most margarines are basically vegan butter!).

The best approach is to experiment using a high-quality tub margarine without trans fats in recipes.

Compare the results to cakes made with butter, considering factors like taste, texture and moisture level.

Choosing a margarine with similar fat content and types of fats like the monounsaturated fatty acids in butter can help yield the best substitute.

Other Questions You May Have

What type of margarine is best to use as a butter substitute in baked goods?

For most baked goods like cakes, cookies, and pie crusts, a tub margarine or vegan margarine is generally the best butter substitute. Look for a margarine that contains no hydrogenated oils and has a higher melting point similar to butter so it performs well in baking.

Stick margarines and vegetable oil spreads are usually not the best choice due to their higher water content.

Can I use olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter in a cake recipe?

While olive oil and coconut oil can work in some baking recipes in place of a small amount of butter or oil, they are usually not the best substitution for a full cup of butter. These oils have lower melting points and may cause the final product to be denser or change the texture.

Neutral oils like canola oil or a vegan margarine are better options to replicate butter’s properties in most cake recipes.

Can you use margarine instead of butter in a pound cake?

Margarine can generally be used in place of butter in a pound cake recipe. Look for a tub margarine without trans fats and a higher melting point similar to butter.

While the flavor may not be identical to butter, most people will not notice a significant difference in taste or texture when baking with margarine instead of butter in a pound cake.

Can you use margarine instead of butter in a sponge cake?

Margarine is a suitable substitute for butter in most sponge cake recipes. While the flavor may be slightly different than butter, most people will still enjoy the moist crumb and delicate texture of the cake.

Be sure not to use a margarine labeled as a spread, which could make the cake dense.

Does margarine taste similar to butter?

The flavor of margarine can vary depending on the brand and type used. In general, plant-based butters like margarine aim to mimic butter’s flavor but usually do not have quite as rich, buttery taste as real butter. When a baking recipe calls for butter, many will not notice a significant difference in flavor between butter and margarine.

However, for a baking recipe where butter really shines in terms of flavor like pie crusts or biscuits, a fan of butter may prefer using the real thing. It ultimately always comes down to personal preference.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the answer to the question, “can you use margarine instead of butter in cake?”, you can go ahead and try out baking a cake with this ingredient in your baking.

Margarine is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different recipes.

I personally like to make cake with margarine because I find that it produces a more moist and fluffy cake. 

However, you may prefer the taste of butter in your cake.

One of my most favorite cake recipes is this recipe for vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting.

It is delicious and never fails to impress. If you’re looking for a delicious cake to try, I highly recommend giving this one a go!

If you’d like to learn more about baking with margarine, check out this blog post I wrote on using margarine for baking banana bread.

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