substitute for butter in a cake

Butter plays a crucial role in cake baking, contributing to its flavor, texture, and moisture. However, there are instances where the use of butter might need to be replaced, either due to dietary restrictions, health concerns, or personal preferences.

Purpose of Butter in a Cake:

  • Flavor Enhancement: Butter adds a rich and indulgent flavor to cakes.
  • Texture: It contributes to the cake’s tender and moist crumb.
  • Moisture: Butter helps retain moisture, preventing cakes from becoming dry.
  • Binding Agent: It binds the cake’s ingredients together, ensuring cohesiveness.
  • Aeration: Creamed butter traps air during mixing, leading to a light and fluffy texture.

Why Replace Butter in a Cake:

  • Dairy-Free Diet: Individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies need dairy-free options.
  • Vegan Lifestyle: Vegans avoid animal products, including dairy-based butter.
  • Health Concerns: Some people opt for lower saturated fat options due to health reasons.
  • Cholesterol Reduction: Replacing butter can help reduce dietary cholesterol intake.
  • Flavor Variation: Alternative fats can provide unique flavors to cakes.

Substitute: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a versatile option with a mild coconut flavor.

Nutrient Amount per 1 tbsp
Calories 120
Total Fats 14g
Carbohydrates 0g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Use melted coconut oil in place of melted butter in the same quantity.

Substitute: Unsweetened Applesauce

Applesauce adds moisture and sweetness to cakes.

Nutrient Amount per 1/4 cup
Calories 25
Total Fats 0g
Carbohydrates 7g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Replace an equal amount of butter with unsweetened applesauce.

Substitute: Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt adds moisture and protein to cakes.

Nutrient Amount per 1/4 cup
Calories 35
Total Fats 1.5g
Carbohydrates 2g
Proteins 4g

How to Make: Substitute an equal amount of butter with Greek yogurt.

Substitute: Avocado

Avocado provides healthy fats and a creamy texture.

Nutrient Amount per 1/4 avocado
Calories 80
Total Fats 7g
Carbohydrates 4g
Proteins 1g

How to Make: Mash ripe avocado and use it to replace butter in equal amounts.

Substitute: Nut Butters

Nut butters like almond or peanut butter can add richness and flavor.

Nutrient Amount per 2 tbsp
Calories 180-200
Total Fats 14-18g
Carbohydrates 6-8g
Proteins 6-8g

How to Make: Use nut butter as a 1:1 replacement for butter.

Nutritional Facts Summary Table:

Nutrient Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins Source Works Best In
Coconut Oil 120 14g 0g 0g Plant-based oil Baking, frying
Unsweetened Applesauce 25 0g 7g 0g Fruit Moistening, sweetness
Greek Yogurt 35 1.5g 2g 4g Dairy product Moistening, protein
Avocado 80 7g 4g 1g Fruit Healthy fats, creaminess
Nut Butters 180-200 14-18g 6-8g 6-8g Nuts Richness, flavor


  • Will using coconut oil change the taste of the cake? Coconut oil may add a subtle coconut flavor, but it’s generally mild.
  • Can I replace butter with applesauce in all cake recipes? Applesauce works well in many recipes, but adjustments may be needed for optimal results.
  • Is Greek yogurt a good source of protein in cakes? Yes, Greek yogurt adds protein and moisture to cakes.
  • Does avocado flavor affect the cake? Avocado adds creaminess without overpowering the cake’s flavor.


While butter has a significant role in cake baking, these substitutes offer a range of options to accommodate various dietary needs and preferences. Whether you opt for coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, Greek yogurt, avocado, or nut butters, each alternative brings its unique qualities to the cake, allowing you to create delicious and satisfying treats without using traditional butter.

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

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