Can You Use Grape Oil for Baking a Cake?

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A woman is baking a cake. (Image: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images)

Because the saturated fat in hard fats like butter, shortening and lard are harmful to your health, you may want to use oil in your baked goods instead. Grape oil is low in saturated fat and has a light color and flavor that won't conflict with the other flavors in your cake. However, substituting oil for butter in a cake recipe doesn't always work. Using oil in a butter cake recipe can make the cake heavy and damp, unless you make some adjustments to your recipe.

Nutrients

One tablespoon of butter contains 102 calories and 11.5 grams of fat of which 7.3 grams are saturated fat. The rest is unsaturated fat. In contrast, grape oil contains 120 calories per tablespoon and 13.6 grams of fat, only 1.3 grams of which is saturated fat. The rest is unsaturated fat. Eating saturated fat can increase the cholesterol in your blood, which is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and hardening of the arteries. Solid fats, like butter, shortening and lard, tend to have more saturated fat. Oils from plant sources like grape seed have more unsaturated fat.

Substitutions

In baking, you can substitute one oil for another. So if your recipe calls for vegetable oil, for instance, or canola oil, you can use grape oil instead in the same amount. If your cake recipe calls for a solid fat, like butter, shortening or lard, you'll have to make some other adjustments in the recipe to avoid having a heavy, dense cake. Use 3/4 cup of oil for each cup of butter or shortening called for in the recipe. It's all right to substitute oil in a one-to-one ratio if the recipe calls for melted butter.

Lightness

Creaming butter with sugar, called for in many cake recipes, incorporates air bubbles into the batter, making the end result lighter and airier. Because it is more difficult to incorporate air into an oil batter, beat the egg whites called for in the recipe and fold them into the rest of the batter to add the air bubbles. Because oil is liquid, you will have to reduce the other liquids called for in the recipe. Start with half the milk, water or juice the recipe calls for. If the batter is too thick, add a little more liquid.

Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cake is a combination of the characteristics of a cake made with eggs, butter, milk, sugar and flour with the characteristics of angel food cake. Chiffon cake is light and airy because the egg whites are beaten to peaks before being folded into the rest of the batter, like angel food cake. However, angel food cake doesn't contain any fats. The oil in chiffon cake makes the crumb more moist and tender than the crumb of angel food cake. If you are uncertain about using grape oil in a cake recipe, look for a recipe for chiffon cake so that you can be sure your cake will turn out right.

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