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October 2019
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Giving Cake the Olive Oil Treatment

Taste Testers:  Little Difference After Replacing Trans Fat in Cake with Olive Oil

With little difference in taste, bakeries should replace traditional shortening with olive oil. It's trans-fat free!

File this one under “What took them so long?”

According to a recent study published in the journal Food Science and Technology, the artery-clogging trans fats that mire our food supply can be replaced with olive oil without affecting the food’s consistency, palatability or aroma.

Researchers from Greece discovered this after replacing margarine—which is almost pure trans-fat—with the more healthful extra virgin olive oil to be used as a shortening in Madeira cake.

Having no knowledge of what the researchers used for shortening, 20 taste testers sampled three different Madeira cake offerings.  One of them used only olive oil, another used a margarine/olive oil mixture, and the other one used only margarine.

Rating the cakes on mouth feel, and taste, “the cake prepared with extra virgin olive oil/margarine was the most highly preferred by the panelists,” writes Adamantini Paraskevopoulou, the study’s lead researcher.

While the least favored cake was the one that used only olive oil for shortening, the researchers said that the olive oil-based cake was “very close to those obtained for the control cake.”  That’s probably because the extra virgin olive oil gave the cake the volume and density that sponge cake often lacks.

Praskevopoulou and his other researchers come from the University of Thessaloniki.

Now, don’t construe this report as a tacit endorsement for eating sponge cake.  Cake by its very nature is high in calories and sugar, and is certainly not something that should be eaten on a regular basis.

My point in mentioning this study is simply to show that healthier oils can replace partially hydrogenated oils, without having to compromising on its taste and consistency.  Because let’s face it—one of life’s many joys is eating food.  Enjoying it for the nutrition that it provides our bodies, and enjoying it for the good taste and smell it provides our senses.

Our health should be the primary reason why we eat, but every once in a while, it’s OK to eat because it’s fun and we deserve to treat ourselves.  But studies like this demonstrate that we can, in fact, have our cake and eat it too.  At least sometimes we can.

With any luck, other cities and municipalities will follow in the footsteps of New York City and Chicago and ban trans fat from restaurants.  Let’s hope bakeries will follow suit.


Related Posts

  1. Olive Oil May Prevent Breast Cancer
  2. The Trans Fats Ban Can’t Come Soon Enough!
  3. McDonald’s to Finally Use Oils Free of Trans Fats
  4. Trans Fats Increase a Woman’s Infertility Risk by 70 to 100 Percent, Study Finds
  5. Giving Rye a Try

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