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I recently tried this recipe: http://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/09/easy-pumpkin-bread/ with the following modifications:

  • I didn't have any butter, so I substituted 1/3c olive oil and 2 pureed apples
  • I cut the sugar down to 1.5c

After cooking for 50 minutes at 165°C (preheated), the insides (everything more than a few cm from the edge) were still kind of moist. Why is this? Is there a problem with my oven? Was the batter too "wet" or something? I've had this with other stuff, too (muffins).

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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Substituting oil for butter in a quick bread would be fine, but you only used 1/2 the amount of oil, and further added two pureed apples. These are about 84% water, substantially increasing the amount of liquid in the recipe.

The thing is, the method for this pumpkin bread relied on the creaming method, which requires a solid fat; changing to a liquid fat and apples) would dramatically change the outcome. It would make the bread denser (no leavening from creaming) and more wet from the increased liquid.

Then, by cutting the sugar almost in half, you reduced the ability of the bread to hold water, as sugar is hydrophylic. So it would seem more wet.

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Your cake did not rise properly because of the substitution you made.

Oil and apple mousse are only an acceptable substitution for butter under some circumstances. When a recipe directs you to cream the butter with the sugar, you cannot use a non-solid fat substitute. The creaming creates a bubbly, airy structure, and these mini-bubbles get expanded by the baking powder. If you dump a liquid fat in, this won't happen, and your cake will stay un-aired. It will be doughy, which you perceived as a moistness.

By the way, the sugar also plays an important structural role. I would advice you to not reduce it in cake recipes, as you will get a worse texture (although the results won't be as problematic as with the butter substitution).

If you want to make cake that requires creaming and don't have butter, you can get decent results with shortening, margarine, lard (caution: the taste will be noticeable, will not do for fine tortes), coconut fat, and other solid fats. If you don't have any of these, you have to choose a recipe which uses a different method for combining the ingredients.

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