I’m having a love affair with using oils in my cakes. For a few of my most recent cake recipes in my cooking series VEGAN AROUND THE WORLD, and my new cookbook, I will start with mixing the oil and sugar together, adding remaining liquids and then mixing with the dry ingredients. I’ve learnt a lot about choosing the best oils for baking.
My objective is to make the recipe as simple as possible, using the least amount of tools and my cakes have this amazing fluffy rise. I’m finding this method (also known as the melting method if you’re using melted butter) is wonderful for creating butter type cakes with little effort.
If I choose to use oil instead of butter, the cakes are more moist, however they do lack that buttery taste. In most cases, I will use a vegan buttermilk to help recreate those desired dairy flavours. The type of oil you use in your baking can largely affect the outcome of your bake, your budget and the flavour.
SNAP SHOT OF TIPS
- Organic canola oil is my go to
- Buy oils in dark glass bottles, store in the fridge & use within 30 days
- 3 types of oils – saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
- I don’t recommend using coconut oil in cakes unless directed by the recipe
Here are my top 5 tips when choosing oil for baking:
When baking, I generally recommend using a neutral flavoured oil such as an organic canola oil, extra virgin olive or grapeseed oil. An exception to this is when you’re wanting the oil to contribute to the flavour of the bake such as coconut, sesame or macadamia oil. Nut and seed oils like walnut and avocado, general are cold-pressed and have a very distinctive flavour.
If you’re health-conscious avoid highly processed oils such as non-organic canola and sunflower oil that are mass-produced. Most of these oils use toxic solvents during the extraction process and come from heavily sprayed crops. These oils are usually packaged in a clear plastic bottle which can allow fat soluble chemicals to leach into the oil. Canola oil is the most popular baking oil as it’s stable at high temperatures, is cost-effective and has a very natural flavour. It also has only 7% saturated fat and contains omega-3s. Choose organic where possible even if it’s a little more pricey.
Without getting too technical, there are three types of fat ratios found in oil that can be defined as: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Saturated is solid at room temperature e.g coconut oil, monounsaturated is liquid at room temperature e.g sunflower oil, and polyunsaturated is liquid at room temperature but more stable than polyunsaturated oils and doesn’t go rancid as quickly, e.g canola oil. (kinda not a tip but always good to know)
Look for oils that are stored in airtight dark glass bottles. Oils can oxidise and turn rancid once exposed to air, light and heat. Always store your oils in a dark place away from sunlight and if you’re using them for longer than 30 days, store them in the fridge to prolong their lifespan. Your oil should smell fresh if not, it has gone rancid and is no longer good to use. Consuming rancid oils can be linked to heart disease and other illnesses.
I generally don’t recommend using coconut oil (unless the recipe calls for it) when baking cakes as I find it can make your baking more dense once your cake has cooled down. My go to is organic canola oil.
Check out my Mini Lamington Cakes from my online cooking series to see how I used this method.