Aug 28
let's talk Butter Substitutes - Talking about butter substitutes in dairy free and vegan baking

Butter Substitutes for Vegan and Dairy Free Baking

The butter substitute you love on your toast is not going to be the best one to use in your cakes.

But I love the flavour of it, I hear you cry.

Pull up a chair and let’s talk about butter substitutes, and I will explain why it’s best left on your toast.

Butter is at the heart of 90% of Cakes and baked goods, in one form or another. With Dairy Free baking and Vegan baking one of the biggest steps to getting a good bake is going to be finding a good substitute for butter.

Before we go looking for substitutes let’s have a look at the real thing. I think the key to finding the best substitutes is to firstly understand the role of the original ingredient in the cake. If we know what the ingredient does and how it behaves we stand a better chance at replicating it.

The Role of Butter in Baking

In cakes butter is used for flavour, structure, texture and leavening. wow, that’s a lot of work for one ingredient. I would say our replacement has pretty big shoes to fill.

Most butters have a butterfat content of at least 82%. This means they have a low moisture content, this is what we will be looking for. If they have too high a moisture content it will be like  adding another spoonful or two of water to your batter. Which  we definetly wouldnt want to do.

Creaming Butter and Sugar

Most cake recipes call for the butter to be creamed with the sugar as the first step. This means we beat softened butter with sugar until its light and fluffy. The light and fluffy is what we can see, but if we were to look very very closely we would see the sugar granules cut into the softened butter. This forces air into the mixture, which helps create the structure and the rise.

Rubbing in Butter

In other baked goods where we rub in the butter, the butter behaves differently. We want the small pieces of butter to be coated with the flour so when its popped in the oven the butter melts and creates little pockets of steam. This creates the rise.

So ultimately we are looking for a substitute with a high fat content and low moisture content.  This means we are looking at a margarine and not a spread. Let’s not forget it’s also got to taste good.

Dairy Free Butter Substitutes for Baking


Stork,  in a block, as in not the ones in the tub, are a fantastic substitute. It is my go to. It has a moisture content of 75%, very similar to butter so it behaves in a very similar way. It produces lovely cakes, can be rubbed in lovely when it’s cold, it doesn’t leave a fatty residue in your mouth like some vegetable fats and it doesn’t have that classic margarine flavour or smell.

And it’s cheaper than real butter. It’s not often our foods are cheaper than the real thing! That’s a real plus point.

Another plus point is that Stork is actually soya Free as well, as I know a lot of people avoid dairy and soya.

Flora Dairy Free, Vitalite Dairy Free and Pure are all spreads. Pure Olive oil has the lowest fat content at 54% and the highest is Flora Dairy Free at 60%. Compared to the 75% fat content in block stork, it’s easy to understand why it behaves very similar to real butter.

Another option is Trex, it has 100% fat content and you can use 20% less of it in your cakes for this reason. However, I have not tried this, yet, as it reminds me too much of lard, and the thought of baking a cake with lard is not a good one, so I have been putting off doing this. So…. my solemn promise to you all is that I will test Trex out and I will report back. Watch this space.

Dairy Free spreads also have that classic margarine taste and smell. My kitchen fills with the smell when I cook with it, to me it’s not a good baked smell, and it’s not a taste I want in my cakes or frosting. Stork has a very neutral smell and taste, you can taste the cake flavour rather than butter or margarine. I also use Stock in my frostings, and everyone loves my frostings.

What do you currently use?

Try Stork and let me know what you think?

Looking to improve your Gluten Free, Dairy Free or Vegan baking? But dont really know how to do it?

Head on over to The Baking Bunch. We will soon be launching a Free From Baking Accademy.  Sign up now to be kept in the loop with all of our launch details and come join the community over on Facebook.