Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked October 17th 2012

oil instead of butter

Hi could I use oil for the cupcakes instead of butter. My sister can’t eat butter and wanted to make them for her. How much would I use ? Thanks


I suggest you use vegetable margarine instead of butter so that you can cream the mixture to incorporate air. There are some recipes that use oil such as carrot cake.



The short answer is no you can’t just do a straight oil for butter substitute. The chemistry wouldn’t work. Creaming butter, sugar and eggs creates thousands of air bubbles, which when combined with the flour enables the batter to rise. When we use oil, there is no creaming in with the sugar and eggs, so the resulting batter is dependent on levening agents like baking power and baking soda. Butter is 80% fat and 20% water, so with any oil recipe you’d have to use the same in oil and top up the rest in other liquids eg buttermilk, milk or water. I would rather use already developed recipes than try and experiment with the substitution. There are some lovely oil cupcakes recipe online which you might find appealing.


You can directly substitute Stork baking liquid or Flora Cuisine (same product made by same company but “healthy” flora cuisine costs more!) which is a blend of vegetable oils. It comes in a bottle but will be next to the butter/marg.

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