Can I Substitute Butter for Oil in Cake?

When baking a cake, you want it to come out soft and tastier. For this to be achieved, you must make certain to use the right baking oil. Unfortunately, there are certain moments amid which you will discover you have little or no oil by your side.

Substituting butter for oil in cake recipes is possible and can impact the cake’s flavour and texture, often making it richer and slightly denser. Yes, You can substitute butter for oil in cake recipes using a 1:1 ratio, with a slight adjustment to account for butter’s water content. For every 1 cup of oil, use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of butter.

Check whether you have butter on your counter when this is the case. If it’s readily available, then go on and bake your butter. But be sure you do it correctly (as highlighted below)

  • Measure the same amount of butter as you’d measure for oil.
  • Since butter is in a solid state, you will have to melt it. For this, put it in a microwave and allow it to melt.
  • Next, allow your molten butter to cool to room temperature. During this time, you can proceed to prepare other ingredients.
  • Go on and bake as you normally do with oil.

Hint: Avoid using hot butter, but you can use melted butter. Allow it to cool to a temperature you can comfortably handle with your hands. Otherwise, you risk sustaining injuries.

Can You Substitute Oil For Butter In A Butter Cake Mix?

Before we answer the question of whether oil can substitute butter in cake mix, let’s find out why one would want to do it and whether it is a good idea. To begin with, one may want to use oil in place of butter when:

  • There’s not enough butter for baking
  • Trying to improve the taste
  • Trying to improve the texture
  • Someone uses oil or vegetable oil to be vegan, etc.

Regardless of the reason, it is to substitute oil for butter in your cake mix. However, you must know the correct proportions to use.

Concerning this, baking experts recommend replacing one cup of butter with ¾ cup of oil. But note that the ratio can be altered depending on the type of oil you want to use. For example, for coconut oil, you can use a ratio of 1:1 and still achieve tastier cakes.

NB: You should never substitute oil for butter in a cake mix if the cake recipe will need creaming the butter with sugar. This is so because oil can’t carry the air bubbles necessary for creating a good, creamy texture.

Is Oil Or Butter Better For Cakes?

For those getting started with baking cakes, it is crucial to know what’s better between butter and oil. To determine this, you will, first of all, think about what you want to achieve.

Regarding this, you should go for

  • Butter if you want flavorful cakes and a buttery taste
  • Butter if you will need icing and frosting your cakes
  • Oil if you want soft, moist cakes
  • Butter where you need to cream the cake
  • Oil if you want cakes with prolonged shelf-life

What Makes A Cake Light And Moist?

It can be frustrating when you spend your valuable time whipping up ingredients for that mouth-watering cake you crave, only to find the cake is too rubbery or dense when you remove it from the oven.

This can even embarrass you supposing you were baking for your anticipated guests. Fortunately, there are very many things that you can observe to achieve a light and moist cake.

Some of these include;

  • Using the right cake flour: Unlike some other sorts of flour, cake flour has a soft and tender texture that directly translates into your cake.
  • Adding milk or sour cream: Milk helps to thin the butter while at the same time lightening the crumb. Depending on your recipe, you can as well add sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • Avoid over-creaming: If you begin baking your cake by creaming butter and sugar, you will need to cream properly. This is because butter traps air during this process, and this air expands to produce fluffy cakes.
  • Add enough oil: For your cake to be moist, you will need to use the right quantity of oil. Note that if you prefer baking with butter instead of oil, try mixing the two in equal proportions the next time you will be baking and see if you achieve softer cakes.
  • Simple syrup (or other liquid) can help: Supposing you tried your best, but things went astray, all is not gone. You can try brushing your cake with simple syrup or any other suitable liquid. Keep in mind that you should wait for the cake to cool down before brushing.

What Happens If I Use Butter Instead Of Oil In The Cake?

Supposing you’ve never baked with butter nor had a chance to taste cakes baked with butter, the above question can be a huge concern. To be honest, it makes sense because you desire to bake tastier cakes all the time. You don’t want things to go wrong and hence the essence of the above question.

If that is your case, let’s dig deeper and see whether using batter instead of oil in cake has any significant impact. We begin by pointing out the difference between butter and oil.

Although both contain fats, butter is saturated (100% fat) while oil is unsaturated (not 100% fat). Due to the high-fat content in butter, cakes will have a different texture from those baked with oil. They will tend to be moist, tender, and flavorful. Also, they will stay longer in the fridge since butter has less water content.

Moreover, butter is preferred by most bakers as it doesn’t break down easily due to heat.

Can I Add Butter Instead Of Oil To The Cake Mix?

Baking is not something you just do anyhow; it needs a lot of certainties if you must achieve your desires. The term ‘certainty’ in this case means using the ingredients and procedure. So before you go experimenting, you go on to use butter in place of oil to ensure what this will lead to.

In case you are doing it for the first time, have no worries, as butter is as good for cake baking as oil is. It adds more butter flavor and reduces the need for using leavening products. Also, it allows room for icing and frosting and not to mention improving the cake texture.

Is Oil Better Than Butter For The Cake?

Answering the above question can be plenty easy for experienced bakers. However, it can be challenging for newbies who never tried to substitute oil for butter or vice versa.

If you ask every baker, you will never get a precise answer because everyone has a different taste. So to help you out, we will compare cakes baked with butter versus those baked with oil. That way, it will become easier for you to find out which is better.

 Cakes baked with butter.Cakes baked with oil.  
 Normally, cakes made from butter tend to be more flavorful. As such, you won’t need to use a lot of ingredients.Oil has no flavor. Therefore when using it for baking cakes, you will need to use a lot of flavors. For example, vanilla, fruits, chocolate, cocoa, etc.
 Cakes are baked with butter while, in most cases, harden when refrigerated. Also, they might shed dry crumbles if stored outside for a prolonged duration.Oil-baked cakes tend to remain moist, and they don’t shed dry crumble even when stored outside for a while
 Butter makes lighter and fluffier cakes.Oil makes soft, moist, and denser cakes.
 When baking cakes with butter and cream with sugar, you will not need a lot of baking soda. This is because butter creamed with sugar acts as a natural leavening agent. Oil doesn’t have leavening properties. That being so, you will require an artificial leavening agent (e.g., baking soda) when baking your cakes.
 Butter works best when you are baking spongy cakes.Oil is suitable for chiffon cake with softer and lighter crumbs.
 Butter-baked cakes are structurally strong and are often used with frosting and ice.Oil-baked cakes are tender and soft. Therefore they will not hold frosting and/or icing on their top.


Hope you will get a great solution to your query about making a delicious cake with butter or oil. Anyway, now enjoy your soft, fluffy, perfect cake without any doubt with oil or butter as a substitute for each other.