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sub for crisco in cake recipe

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I have a cake recipe that calls for 1/2 cup crisco but am looking to substitute something a little healthier - does anyone know what I could use?

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  1. Butter? If the crisco is melted you could use veg oil, but if it's creamed with sugar etc., you'll need a solid fat. My choice would be butter.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Nyleve

      It is mixed with cake mix, eggs, water and instant pudding. Do you know i ratio of butter to crisco is the same?

      1. re: 1707

        Yes, I believe it is exactly the same.

        1. re: roxlet

          Butter is only about 80% fat as compared to 100% fat for shortening. Of the other 20%, 16% is water and the rest is butter solids. Whenever I am substituting butter for shortening, I divide the weight of the shorting by .8 to get the proper amount of fat in there, then multiply the weight of the butter times .16 to find out how much liquid I need to subtract.

          I'm not sure if I do these things because I'm a scientist or if I became a scientist because I do these things.

          1. re: LabRat

            « I'm not sure if I do these things because I'm a scientist or if I became a scientist because I do these things. »

            I'm not sure if I love that statement because I ended out in science or if I ended out in science because I love statements like that. Either way, I love the attitude and precision.

            1. re: tmso

              I may steal that idea because I'm not a scientist and would not have been able to come up with that water/fat ration on my own... but I love that there are people like you who do, and I'll mention you in the footnote with the cake! :-)

            2. re: LabRat

              Wouldn't clarified butter be easier?

              1. re: alwayscooking

                Depends on what you are doing. Clarified butter doesn't work as well as whole butter (or shortening) when using the creaming method. Plus there is the extra time it takes to clarify and cool the butter and the loss of flavor when you discard the solids.

                1. re: LabRat

                  You can buy jars of wonderful, cheap clarified butter (ghee) in Indian grocery stores.

                  1. re: Claudette

                    ghee isn't the same as clarified butter. It's either slightly browned or fermented/soured/whatever, but there is a flavor difference.
                    Yes, it is made from butter and it does have the milk solids removed, but the flavor isn't the same.

      2. butter is healthier than crisco? i know some recipes substitute applesauce for the fat, but maybe that is only a substitute for oil. iirc, pumpkin puree has been used, too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alkapal

          « butter is healthier than crisco? »

          Absolutely! Besides containing vitamins, it's fats aren't 100% saturated (I think), and it contains a certain quantity of water besides.

          That said, the question *does* have a "slate is greyer than charcoal?" quality to it ...

        2. Palm Shortening, non hydrogenized, trans fat free. It is naturally stable at room tempurature and was recommened by Cooks Illustrated. Spectrum makes an organic one which is labeled as pure vegetable shortening though palm is the only ingredient. It is high in saturated fats, but is clean of any added ingredients.

          1. I did this the other way around once when I was out of butter to make a cake and didn't have time to go to the store.
            I used Crisco and the texture was completely different - lighter, fluffier, and the cake baked up higher.
            Maybe somebody with more knowledge of chemistry and physics can weigh in.
            The only thing I could think of was that the two fats had different melting temperatures which caused the cakes to rise and set at different rates.

            If this is one of your family's old recipes from the Depression or WWII or whatever, it might have been developed using Crisco, so be prepared for a texture change if you use another fat.
            Worth experimenting though if you're intent on avoiding Crisco.
            Maybe lard? Store-bought commercial lard has next to no flavor so the cake probably wouldn't taste "piggy."

            1. Try Whole Foods for something called Earth Balance. They sell three differente types- one in a tub, like whipped butter, and two in stick form. One is Buttery Sticks and the other is Shortening. In the fridge where they sell butter.. I've used both and had good results. I've never used Crisco, so I can't tell you how they compare, but these are all non-hydrogenated.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Miri1

                i used to really like Earth Balance when I could have it. that and Smart Balance are both good.

                you can also, along the lines of the applesauce sub, try pureed prunes...

                1. re: Emme

                  Emme, why can't you have Earth Balance anymore?

              2. Try coconut oil. It is solid at room temperature, with a consistancy like crisco, although if you put it in the fridge it becomes like hard plastic.

                I have never tried in cakes, but I use it in biscuits, and it works wonderfully. Does give a slight taste of coconut, but this is not unwelcome.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MarkC

                  That is a GREAT idea. I don't like coconut flavor myself, but I have lots of friends who use it in their baking and I know it works texture-wise. They say that there's no coconut flavor, but I tend to believe you.

                2. Actually, I believe that Crisco is now trans-fat free. And yes, I think that butter IS healthier than crisco. It is a not a manufactured broduct!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: roxlet

                    roxlet is correct - I think you can feel ok using your Crisco now. Tho butter might taste nicer.

                      1. re: Caralien

                        In Canada there is no trans fat-free Crisco. It's still the same old bad old. I use it in some of my pastry recipes, but that's it. Even if there were trans fat-free Crisco available, I would still prefer to use butter whenever possible. Is it healthier? In my world, the closer the food is to its natural state, the more comfortable I feel ingesting it. Period.

                        1. re: Nyleve

                          Yeah, it's B.S. here, too. It's just that in the US there are loopholes to the labeling requirements that allow the company to *say* it's TFA-free (untrue).

                    1. Whole Foods carries 365 shortening and Jungle shortening; both have no transfats and are probably better for you than Crisco, if you want to use shortening and not butter. I agree that Earth Balance buttery sticks or Earth Balance shortening yield good results in cakes, as I use them all the time. Save the EB tubs for spreading on toast or bagels. You'll get a higher rising cake with the sticks, at least that's been my experience.

                      1. Leaf lard from a pasture raised pig, high in omega 3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fat than butter. Sourcing it can be problematic, and depending on how it's rendered the flavor might be too porky.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: rockfish42

                          Can someone explain what leaf lard is please? Is it lard made to taste less pork-y? Thanks!

                          1. re: Mawrter

                            Leaf lard is from around the kidneys, much like suet--it doesn't have anything to do with how the animal was raised:

                            I honestly haven't had much pig (or cow) flavour from fresh, unrendered lard or suet, as it's cut prior to roasting and doesn't take on cooked flavour of the meat so much. Once heated, there's a touch of animal flavour, but not much, and it's not unpleasant.

                              1. re: Caralien

                                Lard is a great old standby...it still makes the best, flakiest pie crust. And irony of ironies...in the end it is actually healthier than that hydrogenated fats that have been rammed down our throats for generations masquerading as a healthy alternative. Pretty funny if you think about it.
                                The "porky" flavor is negligible if you handle it right. Trick is to render it very slowly, starting it wit a spoonful or two of water. And a great byproduct is the cracklings you wind up with...when they're cooled chop 'em up and add them to biscuit dough, homemade bread, or better still... seek out a recipe for Hungarian "pogacsa" biscuits. Quite the treat.

                          2. Lard is best. And healthier.
                            Happy eating, Oana