Before I gave up the dairy, butter was my baking-fat of choice. I believe natural, whole foods are best, and butter makes baked goods taste amazing!
Now I've begun baking with Earth Balance, the dairy-free butter alternative most talked about online (at least on the blogs I read). And it's really great.
True confession time: I am just now realizing that this Earth Balance is the "natural shortening" version - not the "buttery" version. Oops. I used this on a cake, cookies and various Chex Mix recipes with total success. Had I not seen the package in this picture, I probably would have never known :)
I use the tub version on toast and such and for small cooking tasks, and I think it tastes very good. It's really salty - yum! And it melts well on toast.
I also use Smart Balance Light (light is dairy free - regular is not) because it's cheaper and is sold at Winco. Earth Balance is quite expensive and requires a special trip to the store.
Smart Balance is good but not great, and it doesn't melt well. But it's an adequate alternative, especially in cooking when the flavor is less prominent.