Is Butter Always Better?

In the baking world, butter has a far better reputation than its greyer industrial cousin – margarine. Butter is pretty fabulous, but Stork baking margarine is the magic producing some of the best cakes I’ve ever made – light, fluffy, well-risen and delicious.

But still…it’s margarine. No self-respecting foodie uses margarine surely??

Thus torn betweeen my desire to make wonderful cakes, and my ethos of only using natural ingredients, I thought it was about time I did a direct comparison betwen the two, to see if the difference was really that marked.

I made up two single-egg-victoria sponge batters: one using Stork baking spread, and the other using Président Unsalted butter.  They turned out surprisingly different.

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In the image above, you can see that the cake on the left is darker in colour. Texturally, it made for a crisper crunchier top. The sponge on the right is not only paler, but also rose better, with a softer, more open crumb.

But which cake used which baking fat?

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The darker cake is made from butter. The lighter one  – Stork. Did you guess correctly?

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Both cakes had a pleasingly aerated texture, but the Stork cakes definitely won on the fluffiness factor, with an almost-cloud-like crumb. The butter cakes were firmer, and had a richer, fuller flavour, whereas the Stork cakes stood on more neutral ground, and required more additional flavouring as a result.
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I reckon butter is great in baking, especially when its flavours are allowed to really shine. I still choose it over anything else in cakes, pastry, biscuits and butter-rich bakes. However, I can also visibly see that Stork manages to consistently make better cakes, especially these classic English teatime favourites.
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This experiment isn’t totally complete, as I’d still like to pit Stork against spreadable forms of butter containing vegetable oil and a higher water content next. Let’s see what results emerge!
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11 thoughts on “Is Butter Always Better?

  1. Hmm… I’m still yet to be fully convinced to go for Stork. However judging by the amount that is stocked in the supermarkets there is obviously a massive market for it! I may give have to give it a little go and see how it tastes…

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    1. Stork itself doesn’t taste great, I have to admit. Stork is great for texture, but you really have to throw something else in that’s strongly flavoured to make up for it. On the other hand, the plus side is you don’t sometimes get a slightly greasy aftertaste that you can get with cakes purely made from butter

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      1. This is true too! I’ve tried a few recipes that use only vegetable oil instead of butter or spread and they come out really light and fluffy, however lacking in taste! Maybe it’s a combination of the two that works best? 🙂

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  2. Interesting comparison. I also find cakes made with butter to be on the heavier side, but I don’t like margarine because of it’s aftertaste.
    When I don’t want the heaviness of butter I sometimes use clarified butter or oil instead.
    Another trick is to substitute part of the butter with unsweetened apple sauce. Somehow it works. 🙂

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