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Oil In Vegetable-Based Cake Recipes


Dailey
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i've tried many recipes for these types of cakes and most call for at least 1 or more cups of oil. is it just me or does anyone else have problems with the cake being greasy?!? :wacko: obviously people are having good results with these recipes because there are so many of them that call for this amount of oil. i realize these are not light, fluffy-type of cakes but i just can't get over the greasy look and taste. i just finished remaking rebecca rather's tropical carrot cake, it originally called for 1 1/2 cups of oil but i redid it using 1 cup of oil and 1 stick of butter. i like the look of it (and taste) much better.

however, maybe these types of cakes are suppose to have this type of texture and taste? i have an order for carrot cake next week and would hate to tweak my recipe when someone expects it to taste a certain way...hope that makes sense! any thoughts? thanks!

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Dailey, I am not an expert on american cakes , but I can immagine trying to change a recipe for an order , not good .

I have made the commissary carrot cake for my son's birthday thie year , following the thred an the best carrot cake http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=48658&hl=

I have made it twice to see , the first time I made the recipe the way it is , and it was very right greasy if you want but was fine , the second time the one for the party I made it with the tweaking that Lorna ( Ling ) posted ( like you did butter and oil in combination ), the cake was much better texture not greasy and less sweet ( I did lower the sugar at my taste ), you might want to try this , but I am sure the cakes expert will come in to you rescue soon .

Best of luck :smile:

Vanessa

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And I'm not a baker at all, but I am a fan of carrot cake, so I think I might be a useful data point for consumer carrot cake preferences. :smile:

I can tell you one of the biggest reasons I prefer carrot cake to conventional bakery cakes is specifically because of the heavy, rich texture. Maybe I'm a Philistine contrarian that way, but the light fluffy texture that many bakers seem to strive for in their cakes just doesn't do a thing for me (except as a vehicle for frosting ... :wink: )

But I don't think of that standard heavy, dense, moist carrot cake texture as "greasy." Still ... I have tasted a number of carrot cakes from American commercial bakeries over the years, and if those are the types you experience as greasy-tasting, well, I guess then I do like 'em "greasy!" :biggrin:

I do have a question: the veg-cakes you find too greasy, are they just that way in comparison to your professional/personal preferences in cake texture, but you might find them pleasant enough as long as you thought of them as a dessert in an entirely other category than "cake"? Or are they just too greasy for you to find palatable, period? I mean, tastes do differ, and That's Okay. :smile:

I too think that if your client is expecting standard-texture carrot cake, you might not want to mess with their expectations without checking first ... hey, for all we know, they might welcome a cake that's a lower fat-intake than otherwise. Not that one should be worrying about that when eating cake, but, you know how things go ... :smile:

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I sub unsweetened applesauce for 2/3 of the oil in my carrot cake.

Can't stand the thought of dumping all that oil in it!

For an added bonus you can claim you're eating fruit and veggies instead of cake ;o}

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There are some nice traditional apple cakes from Germany, Austria and other parts of Europe that do not use oil as an ingredient. Many of the German/Austrian ones use some yeast in the cake.

See this thread for some recipes and see post 18 wtihin the thread for links to other apple bread and cake recipes. click

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I have trouble passing up desserts, except when it comes to one of these fruit or veg cakes. Yuck! I dislike them so much I can't even imagine experimenting to find a more palatable, less-greasy version. everywhere I turn I am assaulted by these things. My aunt always brings one when she comes to visit. I toss it as soon as she leaves. They are a favorite at work for birthday cakes, so at least they are helping my diet. Another friend bakes them for all her friends. She has bought more than a dozen cases of bananas over the summer, but somehow I've managed to dodge this bullet, or should I say cannonball...

Edited by Kayakado (log)
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I write and test recipes all the time and as such I play around with different fats. It all depends on the recipe itself. There are some American layer cakes that you want the rich taste of butter, such as the white and yellow varieties. You don't get that with oil.

However, cakes that do work well with either, to name a few, are chocolate, carrot, apple and any nut or cornmeal textured cakes. Carrot cake is one variety that sort of straddles the line. I would image the real reason oil is used in so many carrot cake recipes is due to the typical cream cheese frosting, hence refrigeration. Cakes made with oil do not cause the layers to seize up in a hard mass like butter, so you can basically eat them straight from the ice box.

I always use oil with nut cakes and cornmeal/polenta types because the oil actually keeps penetrating the cornmeal kernels and ground nuts, making it softer texturally the longer it sits. These types of cake with oil are much better the next day, or the next.

With that said, butter is always my first choice. Butter is a flavor base, an enhancer, so it not only tastes good, but it makes what ever flavoring in your cake tastes that much better.

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I have news for you. Quite a few years ago I discovered the principle of substituting fruit purees for all are part of the fats in quick breads and dense cakes.

Read this article!

And check the tables here!

Not only do they not have the greasy feel, I think they taste better and they do not stale as rapidly.

There are several very good commercial products, available at any health food store. One that I have found to be excellent is Sunsweet's "Lighter Bake" butter and oil substitute.

Sunsweet Lighter Bake

However you can make your own. I have had excellent results cooking unsweetened applesauce with some coconut oil, 1 part oil to 4 parts applesauce. I make my own applesauce and cook the apples with the peel on, then put it through a food mill to remove the skins, then add the oil. Longer cooking produces apple butter, which is good also.

You can use pears, which, if very ripe, and pureed vigorously, are smoother than the apples.

Plums and prunes also are very good. If you need something with very little color, seedless green grapes (which also need to be put through a food mill after cooking, to remove the skins) are nice.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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All of my oil-based recipes that call for more than 1 cup of oil I've reduced to 1 cup of oil without any disastrous results. My carrot cake and hummingbird cake I've changed to 1/2 c butter (1 stick, melted) and 1/2 c oil so that it retains it's softness/moistness straight out of the fridge but has better flavor. I've also made carrot cake with 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup buttermilk with good results.

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This Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt cake sounds good.

I will have to try it in my new Pumpkin-shaped pan.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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thanks everyone for the input and links~very interesting read. :biggrin:

well i ended up giving both of the carrots cakes that i made to the dog. even the one with half the butter was still too oily according to my taste-testers. i'll have to try it again with some of the suggestions here.

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Hope I am clear enough in questions. Someone should start a "Stupid questions you're afraid to ask" thread in this particular cooking forum.

"They" did.....it's right here.

So, what do you think? Could I use a combo of melted butter and apple sauce instead of the oil AND cake flour instead of AP? There are lots of apples and nuts in the cake, so add-ins to the batter are heavy.

Cake flour=1 c. AP flour plus 2 T. Do I still add the extra 4 to 6 T flour or leave it out, given advice about using low-gluten flours with fruit purée?

Sub the cake flour in using the formula above. The worst case scenario is that you will get a cake that is too crumbly, but I doubt that will happen. Give it a shot. :smile:

Edited by chefpeon (log)
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Thanks for the response, Chef!

I ended up using about a 1/3 cup of canola oil and 1/2 cup of butter, substituting applesauce for the remainder of the 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil the recipe requires.

It's hard to gauge the effect since I did not eliminate oil altogether, but the cake did bake quickly, in about 50 minutes instead of the 75 minutes recommended (Lewis & Peacock say check at 50). It's moist, especially due to the quantities of large apples. I think I'd prefer restoring a little more fat to the batter since it is a wee bit drier (not exactly the right word; let's just say I may be more partial to the "greasy" effect that inspired this thread) to some degree, though that also might have been due to the fact that I used a Pyrex pan while retaining the recommended temperature of the oven.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I know exactly what you mean by the "greasy" taste and texture of these apple, carrot and pumpkin cakes.

In general, they do call for a lot of oil. Over the years, I have experimented with both reducing the oil and changing the mixing technique and have come up with some good results.

For my carrot cake (1 lb. carrots, 4 eggs, etc.-make 2 9" layers or 3 8") the recipe originally called for 1 1/4 cups oil and yes, the cake was moist, but greasy.

I did two things:

1) cut the oil to 2/3 cup and mixed it up the same way-good, but still a little greasy.

then..

2) beat the eggs and sugar until kind of thick and with the mixer still running on medium-high, I gradually poured in the oil. This is kind of like making mayonnaise. Then I added the flour and walnuts and grated carrots.

The resulting cake was lighter, yet still moist, and the greasiness was gone! I think emulsifying the oil into the eggs helped to suspend the oil in a finer structure.

Give it a try. You may be happy with the results.

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I know exactly what you mean by the "greasy" taste and texture  of these apple, carrot and pumpkin cakes.

In general, they do call for a lot of oil. Over the years, I have experimented with both reducing the oil and changing the mixing technique and have come up with some good results.

For my carrot cake (1 lb. carrots, 4 eggs, etc.-make 2 9" layers or 3 8") the recipe originally called for 1 1/4 cups oil and yes, the cake was moist, but greasy.

I did two things:

1) cut the oil to 2/3 cup and mixed it up the same way-good, but still a little greasy.

then..

2) beat the eggs and sugar until kind of thick and with the mixer still running on medium-high, I gradually poured in the oil. This is kind of like making mayonnaise. Then I added the flour and walnuts and grated carrots.

The resulting cake was lighter, yet still moist, and the greasiness was gone! I think emulsifying the oil into the eggs helped to suspend the oil in a finer structure.

Give it a try. You may be happy with the results.

you know, i think you're on to something. :biggrin: i recall a recipe i made awhile back which called for over a cup of oil. it stated to do just what you said, emulsify the oil into the eggs. i don't recall the cake being greasy. hmm, i'm gonna have to try this method with my next carrot cake. thanks!

Edited by Dailey (log)
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The other day I had a slight epiphany when I was eating a very delicious parsnip soup i had just made. Why not sub parsnip puree for the carrot puree I use in my carrot cake recipe. I tried it out and it was amazing! I loved it. I thought the parsnip flavour worked excellently, and I tossed in some chopped brazil nuts - yum. I thought I was a genius using parsnips instead of carrots until I googled parsnip cake the next day and realized there were about 30 000 recipes for parsnip cake. So it turns out I'm not such a genius after all, but I do make good parsnip cake :wink:

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"

-Presiden Muffley, Dr. Strangelove

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  • 4 months later...

I recently made a Banana Gugelhupf from Rick Rodger's Kaffehaus that made me think of this thread.

The texture of this cake is wonderful, slightly dense and moist. Unlike modern American banana breads/cakes that often use oil to achieve richness and moistness this one uses instead 1/3 cup of heavy cream. I think the flavor and finer crumb texture are much better than many oil-based banana breads and I'll be making this easy cake often. It keeps well for at least five days if wrapped well in plastic and stored at room temp. We've been enjoying it for breakfast with coffee.

...

gallery_13473_3800_282560.jpg

Maybe this combination of pureed fruit and a little heavy cream would work well in other applications as well.

(As Rodgers mentions, the Austrian Gugelhupf, from which the American Bundt cake descended, is typically flavored with lemon, vanilla and raisins (sometimes rum-soaked) but this newer version has mashed bananas instead of raisins in it.)

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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In regards to the carrot cake method used above -- I've had great luck with the oil/egg emulsion. The cake stays moist for days and doesn't feel greasy at all. I whip the hell out of my eggs (for over 10 minutes) and then stream in my oil and whip for another 5- 8 minutes, dump in sugar, whip for another 2-5 minutes and then fold in my dry ings. and carrots separately.

But speaking of fruit purees -- are there any out there that don't impart too much fruit flavor? I know it might seem contradictory, but I'm looking at making some of my more neutral cakes (yellow, white, etc.) a bit more moist without taking on an apple/pear/banana/whatever flavor or color.

Or has anyone found a nice ratio of fat to puree that they have had good results with?

Thanks for the responses (even though I am a bit off-topic.)

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ludja: I was surprised when you said that cake contained bananas. It's looks very un-banana-ish to me, unusually dry. (Dry in the literal sense, a good kind of dry. Not unappealingly dry, it looks awesome.)

Strange, nonetheless.

Edited by GTO (log)

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^ Your're right in that it doesn't look like a a regular banana cake. I did photograph it in very bright light and I used the flash to illuminate the inside of the cake a bit so that may make a little lighter looking.

I'd have to compare some different recipes to see how it exactly differs in ingredient ratios for flour, eggs, butter, white and brown sugar. In any case, I really do like the texture and subtle taste. A generous amount of vanilla and lemon zest also yields an interestingly different flavor.

edited to add: I'm now intrigued to try some other more original Gugelhupf recipes (i.e.not with banana) that I have laying around. I think a good Gugelhupf (even one without pureed bananas) has some nice moistness but not in the manner of the American oil-based cakes. I think the oil must have been added at some point as a shortcut (don't need to cream room temperature butter), cost savings (oil is less expensive than butter) and/or as a way to minimize the chances of drying out a cake by overbaking. Tastes then changed with many preferring a moister, softer and more open crumb.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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