Have you ever wondered what is the difference in cake texture using different ingredients? Can butter really be substituted? One thing for sure about banana loaves – you can’t really go wrong with the taste because bananas and cinnamon have such strong flavours but the texture sets the loaves apart. So, today I’ve decided to embark on a little experiment using three different types of ingredients to make banana loaves.
Aim 1: To determine if butter can be substituted with grape seed oil
Aim 2: To examine the difference in texture between the use of buttermilk and non-fat yoghurt
Let’s take a look at the ingredients used (click here for the full recipe)
As we all know, butter is high in saturated fats – the kind of fats that increases your risk for cardiovascular diseases and also makes you fat. But are healthier options such as olive oil and grape seed oil really healthier? Let’s check out the nutritional values for the various cakes.
Looking at the chart above, it’s no doubt that the amount of saturated fats is significantly lower in a butter-free cake. But surprisingly, the calories per serving of a butter-free cake is higher than butter cakes. Another interesting thing to note is the relatively high sodium content in these cakes. If you are curious, check out the nutrition facts between plain flour and self-raising flour, you will be astonished by the jump in sodium levels. Don’t forget, high intakes of sodium is a health problem today and many of us consume it unknowingly as this sneaky element is often well hidden in food products.
So now we are done with the ‘sciency’ bit, let’s take a look at the difference in cake textures.
First up we have butter-free banana loaf. The texture of the cake is spongey and waxy. The loaf feels lighter and somewhat more guilt-free.
Next we have butter + yoghurt banana loaf. Notice that you can see the little grainy cake crumbs within the loaf. The cake is also denser, very moist and not as airy compared to the butter-free loaf.
Lastly, we have our butter + buttermilk banana loaf. To be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference between the yoghurt version and this. The texture feels the same – both equally moist and dense.
My conclusion is that there is really not much difference using buttermilk and yoghurt. Even looking at the nutritional facts, yoghurt is just slightly healthier than buttermilk. However, this experiment cannot be replicated across all cake types as it is dependent on the types of ingredients used (don’t forget baking is all about the science).
Back to the big question, can butter be substituted with grape seed oil? Well, to be honest, the butter-free banana loaf does not taste as good as the ones with butter because of its texture (so the answer is no). Unless you are really conscious about the consumption of saturated fats, if not butter-free cakes are not necessarily healthier. What’s more important is to be aware of the foods you are consuming – the nutritional facts and even the additives used. After all cakes are considered discretionary foods, whether or not it is butter-free or vegan. Like what my grandma always say moderation is the key to everything!