Olive Oil Vs. Vegetable Oil/canola Oil?

Baking By LukeRubyJoy Updated 11 Aug 2015 , 11:37am by Shockolata

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LukeRubyJoy Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 8:25pm
post #1 of 18

Hello all, I would like to present a question. I found a thread on vegetable oil versus canola oil, but I would like to go one step further.

I ususally use olive oil (virgin or extra virgin) for all my cooking. Can I use it in my baking recipes that call for vegetable oil as well (an olive is a veggie after all) I have been, and the cakes seem fine, but maybe I am missing something. The only problem I worry about is that my extra virgin olive oil is green, not yellow. It hasn't changed the coloring of anything I have done yet, but I am really new at this,so.....

Also, special flour for cakes versus all purpose. I heard that if the all purpose is sifted, then you don't really need cake flour (which is way more expensive in my store).

Thanks for all your help.

17 replies
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vanz Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 8:52pm
post #2 of 18

Extra virgin olive oil can be used in baking if the recipe calls for it. A regular vegetable oil is flavourless so it is ideal for most baking recipe. If you notice the olive oil has some pungent smell to it so it might affect your cake. Also, canola oil is a good substitute too.

I use all purpose flour instead of cake flour by mixing 3/4 cups all purpose flour and 2 tablespoon cornstarch. This works for me everytime. Goodluck to you. I hope this helps.

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czyadgrl Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 8:56pm
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Cake flour question... I've been wondering the same thing. I did buy some cake flour and used it for a few recipes. I can't say that I noticed a difference really. I recently posted this on a similar thread:

This is from www.practicalpantry.com, and believe it's the same thing that's on the back inside cover of the betty crocker cookbook:

For 1 cup of cake flour, substitute 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. You also can try substituting 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch for every 1 cup of cake flour called for in a recipe. To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour, use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every 1 cup all-purpose flour called for in a recipe.
If a recipe for a delicate cake, such as angel food or sponge cake, calls for cake flour, do not try substituting all-purpose flour. Such a substitution could cause the delicate cake to collapse.

Olive oil question: I have used Olive oil in my baking, mostly because we just don't usually keep regular vegetable oil around the house at all. I was very nervous when I used it as the ONLY oil in a brownie recipe, and they came out just fine. I didn't notice a difference in taste at all.

I guess this is really a bump because I would love more information on both q's too!


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kjgjam22 Posted 16 Aug 2006 , 11:17pm
post #4 of 18
Originally Posted by vanz

Extra virgin olive oil can be used in baking if the recipe calls for it. A regular vegetable oil is flavourless so it is ideal for most baking recipe. If you notice the olive oil has some pungent smell to it so it might affect your cake. Also, canola oil is a good substitute too.

I use all purpose flour instead of cake flour by mixing 3/4 cups all purpose flour and 2 tablespoon cornstarch. This works for me everytime. Goodluck to you. I hope this helps.

thats my thinking too...i think it will overpower or change the taste of what ever it is yuo are baking.

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we8cake Posted 16 Aug 2006 , 11:53pm
post #5 of 18

I have used olive oil in a few cakes, not as a substitution but rather an accent flavor. I used a very fragrant almost floral-like scented olive oil in a lemon cake recipe. The results were delicious.

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newlywedws Posted 23 Aug 2006 , 3:06am
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This might be of interest (regarding baking w/ olive oil)

This is the link - but I will also include the actual article ( as sometimes the articles are prone to disappearing, especially when it's from a newspaper)



"Olive oil is aromatic in a salad dressing, it adds great flavor to the saute pan, but in a cake?
"I think of olive oil as melted butter," says Faith Willinger, who has written about food and taught cooking in Tuscany for more than 25 years. The American native describes herself as an "olive oil obsessive." She uses it for cooking, drizzling, and baking, having all but eliminated butter from her home.

Willinger is not the only one using oil in ways diehard butter lovers would not venture. A surprising number of pastry chefs in local restaurant kitchens are scaling back on butter and mixing sweet batters with the green-gold elixir.

"People use olive oil because it is healthier [than the alternatives], and it lets the genuine flavors stand up for what they are," says Willinger. "Butter coats the whole palate and makes everything sweeter. Olive oil complements, rather than hides, flavor." She adds it to brownies, breads, and pancakes. For baking, she prefers lighter, sweeter olive oils, like those produced in southern Italy or other temperate climates.

In this country, vegetable oil in cakes has been popular for decades, especially in fruit and vegetable quick breads. Recipes for old-fashioned pumpkin or zucchini breads and apple cakes, for example, often call for oil.

But oil can't be used spoon for spoon in place of butter. To convert butter cakes into olive-oil cakes, Willinger recommends using less oil (see below)*

Most olive oils fall into one of these four categories: delicate and mild, fruity and fragrant, olive-y and peppery, or leafy green and grassy. The first two are best for baking. According to Deborah Krasner, author of "The Flavors of Olive Oil," delicate and mild oils have a subtle quality, fine not only for baking and frying but also for infusing with vanilla or herbs. Fruity and fragrant oils, which have more personality, can be fruity like apples or fragrant like green leafy vegetables. According to Willinger, some people like to mix peppery oils with chocolate and let the two flavors play off each other.

Olive oil on the savory table became popular for its flavor and its health properties. In "Olive Oil: From Tree to Table," Peggy Knickerbocker writes that olive oil in baking dramatically reduces the cholesterol and saturated-fat content. Goods baked with the fat taste lighter, she says. Like Willinger, Knickerbocker has used olive oil in breads, pizzas, brownies, biscotti, citrus cakes, and quick breads.

Pastry chef Jackie Boisse has been offering an apple cake made with olive oil on Il Capriccio's menu. "This cake is really moist," says the Waltham baker. "You couldn't use butter." Though corn or safflower oil would work in the recipe, Boisse notes that "olive oil changes the character of the cake in a subtle way. It gives [the cake] a moisture and particular flavor that is not so pronounced."

Boisse also uses olive oil in her sweet, moist vanilla chiffon white cake, which she likes to serve with complementary foods such as sauteed figs.

In keeping with the tradition of beating oil into quick breads, Tom Ponticelli of Davio's makes carrot cake with olive oil. He also recommends substituting olive for generic oils in other vegetable breads because, he says, "olive oil gives a little more character."

Following their lead, I experimented on my unsuspecting family, substituting olive oil for butter in my grandmother's brownie recipe. The squares looked beautiful, with a shiny top. Their good flavor was well received, even after I told my tasters about the oil. I still had reservations.

An olive-oil cornbread was spectacular, with a crisp crust, soft crumb, and robust flavor. I'll never go back to using butter in it. One of my sons declined to taste my cakelike carrot ring, adapted from another family recipe, because he thought he wouldn't like it (he ate the brownies because he wasn't on to my experiments at the time). Though the carrot ring's flavor was different than what we were used to, the oil made it less sweet and gave it a pleasing and satisfying richness.

Lemon almond polenta cake, a traditional Italian dessert, was the best of the baked goods. And it should have been. The pairing of oil, cornmeal, and crushed almonds is an old combination. The moist, intensely flavorful cake had a nice crunch. A side of whipped, sweetened ricotta provided the perfect finishing touch. Next time you take out your baking supplies, if you reach for the olive oil, you're in for a pleasant surprise."

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

*Butter-to-olive-oil conversion chart

Cookbook author Peggy Knickerbocker says that you can't substitute olive oil for butter spoon for spoon, so she has worked out the proportions.


For 1 teaspoon butter, substitute 3/4 teaspoon olive oil.
For 1 tablespoon butter, substitute 2 1/4 teaspoons olive oil.
For 1/4 cup butter, substitute 3 tablespoons olive oil.
For 1/3 cup butter, substitute 1/4 cup olive oil.
For 1/2 cup butter, substitute 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil.
For 2/3 cup butter, substitute 1/2 cup olive oil.
For 3/4 cup butter, substitute 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil.
For 1 cup butter, substitute 3/4 cup olive oil.

Source: "Olive Oil: From Tree to Table"

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Phoov Posted 23 Aug 2006 , 3:20am
post #7 of 18

I use olive oil in all of my baking that calls for "oil". It is very good for you- unlike canola, vegetable, corn, sunflower....etc. ad nauseum. The other mentioned oils are rancid. You cannot taste the rancidity...but studies have proven that they are. Canola is cheaply made....and thus a goldmine for it's producers/marketers. It slipped in under the F&DA in this country because of $$$$$.... AND CRISCO IS HORRIBLE!!! LOL

Butter and olive oil are equally "good" for you. I get rave reviews on my cakes....with either of these.

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jkandell Posted 18 Jun 2015 , 1:43am
post #8 of 18

Virgin vegetable oils like walnut and sunflower can work well too. The flavor so are not subtle but do go well with many other ingredients. 

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cake_goddess Posted 18 Jun 2015 , 3:29am
post #9 of 18

I also use avocado oil which works beautifully .

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CatPoet Posted 18 Jun 2015 , 5:40am
post #10 of 18

I been told by a Greek chef  that  extra virgin olive oil is for fine cooking and salads since the heat destroys the flavour and the flavour is the reason you use extra virgin olive oil  and lower grade olive oil  is for baking, since the flavour will be destroy and it doesn't matter. I don't dare say no to him, because he will most likely hit me with a spatula again. I don't bake with olive oil since it too expensive I use rapeseed oil which is  European word for canola oil. My cakes comes out moist, yellow and lovely.

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costumeczar Posted 18 Jun 2015 , 11:42am
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Cake flour and AP flour are made from different types of wheat and have different protein contents. This makes cake flour have less gluten when it's mixed with liquids, so the resulting product is softer. Substituting AP for cake flour is fine in a pinch but it does make a difference. I could tell when I used pastry flour (which is between the two in terms of protein content) and it does make a difference.

You don't need to add the corn starch, by the way, just remove the extra AP flour from the measuring cup. But the best thing is to use the flour the recipe calls for and not make substitutions. 

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Jun 2015 , 12:35pm
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In Canada, our Crisco oil has been canola oil for many years. I have baked with it with great results.

Several years ago on the  egullet.com site, several pastry chefs were substituting extra virgin olive oil for vegetable oil called for in several cake and loaf recipes.  I remember some recipes being for carrot cake and chocolate cake. Quite frankly I thought they were nuts because I assumed that the oil would give things an odd taste. I tried it and today I use it in all of my baking that calls for vegetable oil. It works well in everything from vanilla cakes to chocolate cakes and carrot cakes and everything else and does not affect taste. I have used sunflower oil, corn oil and peanut oil in the past also with good results. I have recently used coconut oil in gluten-free recipes with good results also.  I would try any of the other oils mentioned too. You won't know the results until you experiment and compare. But yes, extra virgin olive oil is expensive.

As far as flour goes, I totally agree with costumeczar that you should use the flour called for in a recipe to get the best results. And just from personal experience, when making piecrust if a recipe gives you different options for using either all purpose or cake and pastry flour, go with the cake and pastry flour. This will produce the flakiest piecrust of the two.

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CatPoet Posted 18 Jun 2015 , 3:44pm
post #13 of 18

And it sad to destroy  a good extra virgin olive oil in a cake. Yes the cake will not taste because the flavour dies.  Like I wouldnt use  cold press  rapeseed oil in cake because it would just taste  like normal rapeseed oil so why waste such a good produce. 

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littlejewel Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 1:34am
post #14 of 18

Ditto what costumer said. I love the flavor butter gives to baked goods.  Of course countries who love olive oil are going swear by olive oil be cause they love the taste of it. The first time I used olive to substitute vegetables many years ago, and does have a noticeable flavor that will off in you cakes. But one day I was watching Giadia at home and she used olive oil in cupcake batter she was making, it wasn't a typical flavor cupcake.

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Jenny BakesAlot Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 3:19am
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I substituted olive oil for vegetable oil once in my chocolate cake.  Never again.  It tasted completely different, for the worse. And my taste testee agreed.

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imagenthatnj Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 4:17am
post #16 of 18

I've been told the same CatPoet says: extra-virgin olive oil for salads and for dipping your bread in, light olive oil for cooking. Mostly because you don't want to waste your money using extra-virgin olive oil at high temperatures. It will taste the same as the light one, which is less expensive.

I've only used olive oil in cakes that specifically call for it, like the Italian olive oil cake. I've made many versions of it, some with orange, some with lemon, others with almond. It's called "olive oil cake" so I figure I can't use any other oil. Now that I think about it, I don't taste any odd flavor on those cakes, so it might be OK to use it in others. I would use the light, though. I'm only afraid to be too used to olive oil because I hardly cook with anything else. Perhaps to someone not used to it, the taste would be off.

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oftheeicing Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 4:59am
post #17 of 18

I have to agree .  . . Though I go through EVOO by the gallon when it comes to cooking our favorite dishes on low heat or in a salad dressing,  my recipes are tried and true and not only would I never risk altering the flavor, I don't want to lose money as EVOO costs quite a deal more than my tried and trusted Crisco Veggie. Unless they're  dealing with an allergy or medical condition, when people are buying a cake, they're not looking for healthy.  They're looking for something yummy and sweet, or a once-in-awhile treat.  I say save ypur $$$ and stick with the original recipe.

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Shockolata Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 11:37am
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I am Greek. The people who have olive groves and never run out of olive oil use it for everything BUT cakes. Butter has a much better flavour, especially Greek butter which is highly aromatic (by nature, not by addition of chemicals). When I came to the UK, I could not eat commercial butter (e.g. Lurpak, President, Anchor etc) because it smelled bad to me. Now my senses have been dulled. Luckily, with the influx of Greeks in the UK it is now possible to buy authentic Greek butter at street markets - ahh bliss! I must add here a footnote that olive oil is used for baking special biscuits that can be eaten on specific fast days. I personally find them a bit on the heavy side of taste so make mine using sunflower oil.

OK, so should you use olive oil in cakes? You could do, but olive oil (especially the best quality) is expensive. There are olive oils in the market which are a blend of olive oil and other oils. You need to read the labels carefully. If I have to use oil, I use sunflower oil like Flora because it lacks smell and flavour and will not overpower the cake. I keep my olive oil for Greek salad so that I can dip my crusty home made bread in the oil and vinegar mix and do 'papara' - soaking up of the juices. Yum!

With regards to cake flour, it is all a question of protein (gluten) content and how finely a flour has been milled. That is why some bakers recommend using all purpose flour mixed with corn flour (corn starch) to create an approximation of cake flour. 

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