Shortening For Cupcakes – When You Should Or Shouldn’t Use It

People have asked me when should or shouldn’t I use shortening for cupcakes, and the honest truth was, I didn’t know, at least in that point of time.
However, I put that question behind the back of my head and not long after, I began my quest to get an answer to that question.
And if you’ve been baking cupcakes or butter based cakes for a while now, I’m pretty sure you know that shortening can be used as a butter substitute. But when should you or shouldn’t use shortening for cupcakes in place of butter?
Before I answer that, here’s a short introduction about shortening
The Introduction to Shortening
Shortening is actually vegetable based fat as opposed to butter, which is animal based fat. Unlike butter, it doesn’t need refrigeration, so storing shortening can be really convenient.
The Downside of Shortening
Because shortening is a plant based fat, you can expect it to have less fragrance compared to butter. And while it is said to be healthier than butter, it’s really up to the end users to decide if this is so.
That’s because shortening is 100% plant fat, while butter has a mixture of milk and water. So before you use shortening, it’ll be necessary for you to do your due diligence before you determine if using shortening for cupcakes or your pastries will really be worthwhile.
Properties of The Cupcakes when Shortening Was Used
I read online that using shortening for cupcakes will result in different textures as compared to butter, so as an experiment, I pulled out a basic cupcakes recipe and tried it out.
And I found that while mixing and producing the batter didn’t result in difference, the texture of the batter definitely felt different.
For one, the resulting batter was softer, and the batter had a lighter shade of yellow. So my cupcakes would have looked white if not for the presence of the eggs in it.
Secondly, using shortening for cupcakes made the baking process a little longer, as I realized that shortening had a harder time melting under the heat.
You could store shortening at room temperature, so I suppose that’s what gave it that property.
And the final taste after baking? Using shortening for cupcakes definitely didn’t yield cupcakes that were as delicious as butter
So When Should Or Shouldn’t You Use Shortening?
The question on everybody’s mind will now be answered.
Personally, I do feel that you should use shortening for cupcakes in place of butter based on the 3 reasons below:
– You feel it yields healthier cupcakes.
– You don’t want to store butter in your fridge.
– You want to add colour to your batter and you want the colours to turn out really sharp.
But other than that, it’ll be better to stick to butter for the sake of better tasting cupcakes.
However, the best way to determine if you want to use shortening for cupcakes is to always try it out with your favourite recipes. If you can accept the taste, then by all means, go for it.