How to Substitute Oleo for Cooking Oil in Cake Mixes

by Deborah Lundin

In an effort to satisfy a craving for cake, you take out the box of cake mix and read the recipe ingredients, only to realize you're out of oil. While you might consider this a large obstacle, oleo, more commonly known as margarine, is an easy substitute. Oleo, in fact, is made from vegetable oil and, with a little melting, gives you an almost identical substitution to oil.

Preheat your oven as directed on the cake mix box. Measure out an amount of oleo equal to the amount of oil called for, plus an additional tablespoon or two to account for possible evaporation when melting, as oleo contains some water. Place the oleo in a microwavable-safe bowl.

Microwave the oleo for 30 to 35 seconds, or until melted. Set the bowl aside until the oleo returns room temperature. Do not allow it to solidify.

Place the cake mix into a mixing bowl and add additional ingredients as directed. When you come to the oil, add the same amount of oleo. Combine the ingredients and bake as directed.

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Items you will need

  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Microwavable-safe bowl
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cake pan


  • Oleo can be high in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, which can contribute to heart disease. When choosing oleo, choose soft tub varieties over sick form as these tend to be healthier.
  • In addition to oleo, other ingredient substitutions for oil include pureed fruits, pureed vegetables and yogurt. Pureed fruits substitute at 1/2 of the oil amount, while pureed vegetables and yogurt substitute at 3/4 the amount. For example, if you recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil, replace with 1/4 cup fruit puree. When replacing oil with a non-fat substitute, cooking times may shorten, so check your cake for doneness a few minutes before the recommended cooking time is up.

About the Author

Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.

Photo Credits

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