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Jan 11, 2009 09:51 AM

Butterless baking:) How to modify recipes?

I really enjoy baking cakes and cookies but am very much so turned off by the amount of butter and fat called for by many recipes. Does anyone have a general rule for modifications or recipes that they use that are dramatically reduced in this way?

For example: Last night I made banana bread. I used the recipe below. Delicious but one whole stick of butter!! I can't enjoy eating it because of this. Any ways to modify it and any other recipes people would like to share?

3 cups flour (2 cups WW and 1 cup white A/P)
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans)
1½ sticks butter
1 + 1/8 cups buttermilk
1½ cup mashed bananas

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  1. if you search the "Home Cooking" board using terms like low-fat or nonfat baking, you'll find plenty of information. in the meantime, one of the most common methods for reducing the fat content in baked goods is to replace a portion of the butter or oil with applesauce or low- or nonfat yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream. it definitely alters the texture, density and "crumb" when you remove fat from baked goods, and replacing ALL of it usually results in rubbery or gummy products. start by replacing about half of the butter with one of the ingredients i mentioned, and adjust from there based your preferences & results.

    you can also save some fat & calories by replacing one whole egg with two egg whites.

    and for the record, most baked goods contain more sugar than is really necessary - you can typically cut back on that by about 25% without a noticeable difference.

    1. Well I used half the sugar in the recipe above (since I don't like things too sweet) and I did replace .5 butter for .5 cup applesauce so total it had 1 whole stick of butter. The texture was fine for me...

      I'm wondering if I can use olive oil or some healthy fat....

      In terms of egg whites, I thought that that doesn't work because the YOLK is what allows for an emulsion???

      1 Reply
      1. re: cups123

        sorry, i should have clarified about the eggs - keep one whole egg, and replace one with two whites. and yes, you can absolutely bake with olive, grapeseed, canola, or rice bran oil.

      2. Here are recipes for Devil's Food Chocolate Chip Muffins, Corn Muffins and Baking Powder Biscuits that use vegetable oil and yogurt. My family is always asking me to make these recipes, especially the chocolate chip muffins. They are all really good.

        Devil's Food Chocolate Chip Muffins

        Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix copycat

        Easy Baking Powder Biscuits

        1. I find that for lots of spongy cakes, if you replace butter with low fat Philadelphia, you get a delicious, moist and healthier cake/muffins/banana bread, etc. Olive oil can be used for savoury recipes in most cases instead of butter and you can use half the amount of molasses, muscovado sugar or honey instead of normal sugar and add a bit of Splenda to compensate for the rest. I've tried it and it works for me.

          1. You can use oil instead of butter, but especially in cookies the oil will cause your baked goods to spread more. You can compensate a bit for that by chilling your dough before you bake it, but also by using more leavening. Baking is so precise though that it can get messy experimenting and substituting too much. You might check out Bakewise by Shirley Corriher. She's a food scientist of the most thorough sort and she explains far better than I can what the role is of all the ingredients, and also how to make changes to recipes and still get the results you want.