Replace butter when baking cakes

Bake a cake without butter, but with yoghurt, nut puree, buttermilk, fruit puree or half-fat butter: In this article you will learn how it works – and whether the result tastes good.

Can you bake a delicious cake without butter? That was the central question of an extensive test I did for you. There are many reasons to replace butter in baking: Some people can’t tolerate it, others want to bake with low fat or simply don’t have enough butter for cakes at home. But how good is half-fat butter for baking? What happens when you replace fat in the batter – with peanut butter, yoghurt or fruit, for example?

Replace butter with lower fat alternatives

Below you can see which butter alternatives I tested and how much you need for each:

  • Replace 100 g butter with 100 g yoghurt plus 1 tablespoon semolina. It is best to use full-fat yoghurt or curd. Reduce the liquid in the recipe.
  • Replace 100g butter with 100g half-fat butter or yoghurt butter.
  • Replace 100g butter with 65g unsweetened applesauce plus 30g oil or 25g butter, use a little less sugar and liquid if necessary. Banana puree or plum puree are also suitable.
  • Replace 100g butter with 100g buttermilk. Also works with cream. Use less or no liquid.
  • Replace 100g butter with 50g peanut butter or almond paste plus 35g oil. Use a little less liquid.

These were test results in terms of consistency and taste:

  • Cake with yoghurt and semolina: The dough is relatively thin, so I only have to add half the milk. The cake is not comparable to a conventional one. Tastes okay, but is a bit dry and chewy, yet fluffy at the same time. The consistency is very large-pored and firm, similar to the version with buttermilk.
  • Cake with applesauce plus oil/butter: The ingredients in the dough combine poorly at first. I use only half as much milk as in the original. The baked result is a low-fat and moist cake for people who are afraid of dry dough; additionally, you can cut down on sugar. The consistency is good, soft, large-pored, a little dry. Flavour, however, a bit lacklustre.
  • Cake with almond or nut puree plus oil: The dough is minimally tough, but tasty; you only need half of the milk. The cake is delicious, fluffy, buttery, almost as good as with (half-fat) butter. The consistency is very fine-pored, soft, moist, slightly dry.
  • Cake with half-fat butter: In the cake batter, it combines poorly with sugar and egg at first. The consistency of the finished pastry is pleasant, the cake nicely moist and fluffy. The consistency seems fluffy, only slightly more large-pored and drier than with normal butter.
  • Cake with buttermilk: This pastry is also liquid without adding milk. It tastes sourish, but not unpleasant. The cake only gets a light crust and browning. The surface is very uncharacteristically smooth. It is a very low-fat cake, but its consistency tends towards rubbery and compact. With cream, on the other hand, doughs seem rather airy and less dry.

My conclusion on lower-fat cakes without butter

All of the rather low-fat cakes were delicious – each in its own way. In our family, everyone – in the blind test – had a different favourite. The children and their friends all nibbled with pleasure; the little lucky baker found the classic butter version the best, buttermilk the worst. Jan’s favourite was the cake with yoghurt; only replacing butter with peanut butter failed. My winner, on the other hand, was the sponge cake with half-fat butter. Although it is often stated on the products that half-fat butter is not suitable for baking, I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the cake with buttermilk the least.

As you can see, low-calorie baking without butter is definitely possible with apple pie, marble cake, lemon cake and the like.

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Replace butter when baking cakes
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