Monday, 25 July 2016

How do you create baking perfection? Using butter vs margarine.

It's long been a hot topic with every keen baker and cake fancier, do you dare to use margarine instead of butter in that bake, or do you stick to the long standing favourite and use butter to bake a perfectly fluffy and moist cake?

There are plenty of benefits to using both in the kitchen, yes it may be sacrilege to some to even think of daring to use margarine in a bake, but margarine does have it's benefits in the kitchen, not to mention being a great substitute for dairy free bakes when using a vegan margarine. It may look like a plastic tub of yellow gunk to some, but to others it's a miraculous ingredient, helping to add those essentials fats to your bake in place of butter.

Butter on the other hand is perfect for adding the essential fats to any bake, whilst also adding that rich creamy texture when baking classic sponge cakes. It may take more time to use when baking, allowing for it to soften prior to baking, but it's a favourite in the kitchen with many bakers that helps to create the perfect bake.

Both do have their pros and cons, to some the ease of whipping that tub of margarine straight out of the fridge for your bake is perfect for those quick bakes, or days when your strapped for time in the kitchen, whereas to others the preference in taste and texture draws them more towards using butter in their bake over margarine.

Butter is certainly best, and most recommended for baking, it's high in fat compared to margarine, allowing for a better bake, but margarine can benefit the perfect fluffy cake, with half and half blends now commonly available for baking, alongside a much better range of vegan margarines for dairy free bakes, it's best to use in bakes where you're adding extra flavouring in, such as rich chocolate cakes, where the sometimes noticeable taste of margarine is replaced with the tasty extracts, flavourings or cocoa powders placed in the bake.

When it comes to the topping, you can't beat butter for your frosting, but a good quality margarine can result in a tasty buttercream when adding flavourings in to the mix. A margarine based frosting does tend to be more runny compared to a stiffer butter based buttercream, making it easier to spread on top of bakes.

Personally, I tend to flit between the two when baking, on cold winter days margarine can be wonderfully time saving in the kitchen, whereas butter can be an utter delight to use on a summers day (that is when the weathers not too scolding hot!). Whatever your preferences, you can certainly find a time when you would prefer to use a tub of margarine over butter, or a stick of salted butter over a margarine block, either way, whichever you choose to use you'll still have an immensely tasty bake afterwards to munch upon't!