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sub for crisco in cake recipe

1707 Jan 15, 2009 03:17 PM

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. n
    Nyleve RE: 1707 Jan 15, 2009 03:28 PM

    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
      1707 RE: Nyleve Jan 15, 2009 03:41 PM

      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
        roxlet RE: 1707 Jan 15, 2009 05:07 PM

        Yes, I believe it is exactly the same.

        1. re: roxlet
          LabRat RE: roxlet Jan 16, 2009 12:16 PM

          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
            tmso RE: LabRat Jan 16, 2009 01:38 PM

            « 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
              Mawrter RE: tmso Jan 17, 2009 10:30 AM

              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
              alwayscooking RE: LabRat Jan 18, 2009 12:55 PM

              Wouldn't clarified butter be easier?

              1. re: alwayscooking
                LabRat RE: alwayscooking Jan 19, 2009 06:27 AM

                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
                  Claudette RE: LabRat Jan 22, 2009 10:54 AM

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

                  1. re: Claudette
                    MakingSense RE: Claudette Jan 22, 2009 01:59 PM

                    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. alkapal RE: 1707 Jan 15, 2009 05:58 PM

        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
          tmso RE: alkapal Jan 16, 2009 10:40 AM

          « 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. s
          Stuffed Monkey RE: 1707 Jan 15, 2009 06:40 PM

          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. m
            MakingSense RE: 1707 Jan 15, 2009 06:51 PM

            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. m
              Miri1 RE: 1707 Jan 15, 2009 07:58 PM

              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
                Emme RE: Miri1 Jan 15, 2009 09:24 PM

                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
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: Emme Jan 16, 2009 10:01 AM

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

              2. m
                MarkC RE: 1707 Jan 15, 2009 10:01 PM

                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
                  Mawrter RE: MarkC Jan 17, 2009 10:31 AM

                  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. roxlet RE: 1707 Jan 16, 2009 04:11 AM

                  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
                    jen kalb RE: roxlet Jan 16, 2009 10:13 AM

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

                    1. re: jen kalb
                      Caralien RE: jen kalb Jan 16, 2009 10:50 AM

                      trans fat free?

                      1. re: Caralien
                        Nyleve RE: Caralien Jan 16, 2009 11:20 AM

                        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
                          Mawrter RE: Nyleve Jan 17, 2009 10:33 AM

                          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).

                  2. Caralien RE: 1707 Jan 16, 2009 10:21 AM

                    butter or coconut oil

                    1. a
                      addicted2cake RE: 1707 Jan 16, 2009 12:02 PM

                      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. r
                        rockfish42 RE: 1707 Jan 16, 2009 04:38 PM

                        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
                          Mawrter RE: rockfish42 Jan 17, 2009 10:34 AM

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

                          1. re: Mawrter
                            Caralien RE: Mawrter Jan 18, 2009 12:38 PM

                            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
                              Mawrter RE: Caralien Jan 21, 2009 07:55 PM


                              1. re: Caralien
                                The Professor RE: Caralien Jan 21, 2009 08:38 PM

                                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. oana RE: 1707 Jan 22, 2009 10:59 AM

                            Lard is best. And healthier.
                            Happy eating, Oana

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