Butter, a common ingredient in many cake and pastry recipes, is most commonly replaced with oil or margarine. Using oil makes a recipe moister or slightly more likely to crumble, while margarine offers a minimal flavor difference. If you wish to add a unique flavor twist to your recipes and increase their creaminess, you can replace some of the butter in a recipe with cream cheese. Since cream cheese is not always a good substitute for butter, you will have to try different ratios to perfect your recipe.
Spread cream cheese on a pastry, bagel or slice of toast as an alternative to butter. Cream cheese offers similar flavor-enhancing properties due to its high fat content. Though it tastes different than butter, it offers a pleasant creaminess.
Replace the butter in a cream sauce recipe with half cream cheese and half vegetable oil. For example, if you are making Alfredo sauce and it requires 1 cup of butter, use 1/2 cup of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of oil. The cream cheese increases the creaminess of the sauce. If the sauce already calls for cream cheese or cream, you may wish to reduce the amount of cream cheese or cream you add to the recipe.
Eliminate butter from your cheesecake filling, replacing the entire amount of butter with cream cheese. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray or wipe it with oil to keep it from sticking to the pan. This will lead to a rich, creamy cheesecake.
Warm cream cheese on the stove or in the microwave before adding it to pastry, cookie or cake recipes. Cold cream cheese is too thick to add to most recipes.
Add cream cheese to a pastry, cookie or cake recipe by mixing it with oil. Add the liquid to the dry materials in the recipe. Adding cream cheese to a pastry recipe gives it a flavor more similar to a tart and may have a cheesy taste. In most cases, you will want to use a ratio of 25 to 50 percent cream cheese and 50 to 75 percent oil. Replace all of the butter with this oil and cream cheese mixture. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, use 3/4 cup of the mixture.
Cream cheese is typically lower in fat and calories than butter.
References and ResourcesJoy of Baking: Baking Ingredient Substitution Table
The Cook's Thesaurus: Food Substitutions: Fats
ResourcesJoy of Baking: Cream Cheese Brownies; Alice Medrich
The Kitch'n: Cookie Recipe: Super-Simple Cream Cheese Cookies; Nora Singley