Coconut Oil

Having been recommended to try this ingredient by a visitor to the site, I undertook two test bakes:

Rock Cakes and Boiled Fruit Cake

Rock Cakes

Having undertaken some research on coconut oil, it is generally recommended to subsitute half of the usual fat in a recipie with coconut oil. Therefore this is what I did when making the rock cakes.

The appearance of the mixture while making the cakes, was no different. However the baked cakes did not look rocky but smoother and flatter (very like the “Fat Rascals” sold in the famous “Betty’s Tearooms”).

I then asked my “test panel” (my ever willing family) to taste half a rock cake made traditionally and half a cake made with the coconut oil.

The results were very favourable. The look did not deter them at all and whilst a slight coconut taste was noticed on the first bite this was very subtle. In fact the overall opinion was that they preferred the flavour of the coconut oil rock cake and also the softer texter that it had.

In conclusion I would definately use the coconut oil again, but would top each bun with a blanched almond prior to baking to enhance the appearance and thus createing my own “Fat Rascals”.

The only downside is the cost. £9.99 for a 453 gram tub is very expensive for everyday use. However, if you are dairy intollerant or are baking a celebration cake for someone else who is, then it is an excellent choice as it has a much nicer flavour than the white Trex I normally use.

Boiled Fruit Cake

For this test, I used all Coconut oil, although I reduced the overall amount by 25grams as it is more oily.
Again the uncooked mixture did not look any different and the cooked cake looked fantastic.
I sealed it in a tin and let it mature for two days and then let my family at it. The cake sliced nicely and was beautifully moist. Again my tasters noticed the coconut flavour, but overall it was liked very much, although in this case they said they would prefer the traditional flavour.

In Conclusion

If you or a member of your family are dairy intollerant, I would fully recommend using coconut oil. It has a much nicer flavour then other non dairy fats and it gives the same texture as dairy fats unlike some dairy free fats, such as soya, which give a very dry crumbly texture.

Another positive result is that the rock cakes were still fresh 5 days after baking and the boiled fruit cake just got better and better and was absolutely delicious 8 days after baking with a wonderful light but moist texture. (Both were kept in air tight tins).


  1. I have now made the Rock Cakes using coconut oil and even though my recipe does not have a lot of butter, I have reduced it and added water instead. The result was very pleasing in that they certainly look like rock cakes and tasted very nice. Four days on they are getting a little dry but still very nice with a cup of tea. I have now published the recipe I used and you can find it on the following link.

  2. Hi, Thank you for the information, it is very interesting. I will certainly bear this in mind when I try making the Rock Cakes tomorrow.

  3. Hi Sheila, before you experiment again, here is an article I stumbled across that describes how the two fats relate.

    “Cookies made with coconut oil instead of butter will generally turn out OK, although they’ll be a bit more crunchy. That’s because butter is 16 to 17 percent water, while coconut oil is pure fat. Less moisture produces a crisper cookie.
    “If you wanted to be entirely accurate, you could add some liquid to make up for the missing water. So for every cup of butter (226 grams) in the recipe, substitute 194 grams of coconut oil and 36 grams (or a little over 2 tablespoons) of milk.
    “Recipes that call for melted butter, like bread, quick breads, muffins, and cakes, will be fine……”

    Not sure if you find this helpful, but let me know how you make out. As an old “Brit”, I am itching to try the Rock Cakes, but butter is not good for my heart.

  4. I substituted 50% of the butter with coconut oil. I did not reduce the fat content at all in this test but as they came out smoother, I think perhaps you could. I have just bought some coconut oil to try them again.

  5. How much coconut oil did you substitute for butter in the rock cakes by percentage. I understand that you don’t need to use a total one for one amount, so I am interested in your experience.

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