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Sour Cream or Buttermilk?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So I have this great vanilla cupcake recipe but I want to make it slightly more moist (it calls for whole milk). Now I know that adding sour cream or buttermilk to cakes makes them more moist, but Im not sure which one to use. I've heard that sour cream would be better because it has a lower pH than buttermilk so it won't ruin my recipe, but I've also heard that buttermilk makes the cake more tender. What do you think? Thanks.
Behind every success is a big mess.
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Behind every success is a big mess.
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post #2 of 16
You could start with substituting buttermilk for milk, no other modifications. This usually works for me.

If the cake is consistently just a hair dry and you are weighing ingredients, then you might try adding 1/4 cup sour cream per cup of butter in the recipe--mixing it with the other liquids. Again no other modification for leavening.

My personal experience is that if I make a batch of any recipe leavened with baking powder and add milk to half and buttermilk to the other half, then the buttermilked dough bakes up lighter and more tender. I will grab yogurt and add 2x water if there is no buttermilk...
post #3 of 16
Neither buttermilk or sour cream make cake "more moist". Both have about the same pH since both are fermented milk products - difference is: Sour cream has fat (because it's made from cream) and has one type of bacteria added to ferment it. Cultured buttermilk has little or no fat (it's made from 2% or non fat milk) and has another type of bacteria added to ferment it. The cultures in both products act as natural emulsifiers so it helps make your cake come together more perfect, tightening your crumb.

I swap both 1=1 in my recipes and prefer them over using milk, and I like the flavor of Bulgarian buttermilk over regular buttermilk or sour cream.

To make your cake "more moist", stop over baking it icon_biggrin.gif
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks all that was really helpful. So can I use like 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup buttermilk instead of 1 cup milk?

Oh and I never over bake my cakes, so that's not the problem icon_biggrin.gif
Behind every success is a big mess.
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Behind every success is a big mess.
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post #5 of 16
Yeah, experiment with taste. For example, for my vanilla cake I know if I use Plugra butter I prefer the overall flavor if I use Bulgarian buttermilk. If I use my local dairy butter (not available commercially) I prefer to use sour cream. A customer probably wouldn't notice a difference but I do icon_biggrin.gif.
post #6 of 16
While we're discussing adding these acidic ingredients with distinct flavors that will modify your recipe's overall flavor, OP, you might want to consider how having the 'tang' plays well with your vanilla. I know I had to totally neutralize the sour cream in my recipe as it was tainting the 'pure' vanilla flavor I was going for.

Adding things like sour cream and buttermilk without accounting for the acid-base balance of your recipe will give you a different taste. You may or may not like it. It just depends.
post #7 of 16
Yes the flavour changes--more with sour cream, less with just buttermilk. Yogurt diluted with water is OK depending on the brand.

But you know, the combination of sour cream, vanilla and chocolate chips is divine...much better than any two of them. Ditto for dried cherries.
post #8 of 16
A few days ago I was amazed when I saw whole milk buttermilk in stores. I though it came only in low-fat.
post #9 of 16
Buttermilk is technically the liquid that separates after churning cream into butter. If the cream was allowed to sour first, there would be an active bacterial culture and it would flavour both the butter (known as "European style") and the whey.

Buttermilk became a table item in North America in World War I because of rationing--before that it was fed to pigs or used on dairy farms and never shipped.

It was again a table item in World War II but some people found out that adding some whole milk to it made it tastier to drink (of course whole milk was against rationing rules at the time).

Commercial "buttermilk" is cultured from milk of whatever fat level you like by adding a dose from your previous batch and allowing it to sit in a warm place--much like creme fraiche. I like the taste very much when it is added to mashed potatoes and vegetable salad dressing. It makes excellent baked goods including whole wheat bread.
post #10 of 16
Our walmart sells the whole fat b/ m. I really like to use that in my cakes.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Yes the flavour changes--more with sour cream, less with just buttermilk. Yogurt diluted with water is OK depending on the brand.

But you know, the combination of sour cream, vanilla and chocolate chips is divine...much better than any two of them. Ditto for dried cherries.


I agree, especially with the cherries.
post #12 of 16

I have a recipe that uses Buttercream, oil, shortening and butter which i think is over kill. And although the cake came out very soft and moist i can taste the oil and shortening. Its an Italian creme cake. What can I do do cut out the shortening and so much veg. oil? I would like to substitute sour cream but can i also use buttercream or one or the other? Thanks for the help

 

 

1cup buttermilk

1/2 cup veg. oil

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

4 egg yolk

2c sugar

2 cups flour 1tsp baking soda ( which is added to buttermilk)

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by maggiebug View Post

I have a recipe that uses Buttercream, oil, shortening and butter which i think is over kill. And although the cake came out very soft and moist i can taste the oil and shortening. Its an Italian creme cake. What can I do do cut out the shortening and so much veg. oil? I would like to substitute sour cream but can i also use buttercream or one or the other? Thanks for the help

 

 

1cup buttermilk

1/2 cup veg. oil

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

4 egg yolk

2c sugar

2 cups flour 1tsp baking soda ( which is added to buttermilk)

 

Leave out the oil and add one egg.

 

Does the recipe also ask for baking powder?

deborahanne

http://grandmasugarskitchen.blogspot.com/
http://fromlinetocolor.blogspot.ca/

Life begins at 325° F, and, yes, that IS powdered sugar in my hair.

Baby Shower
(6 photos)
Birthday Cakes
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deborahanne

http://grandmasugarskitchen.blogspot.com/
http://fromlinetocolor.blogspot.ca/

Life begins at 325° F, and, yes, that IS powdered sugar in my hair.

Baby Shower
(6 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(6 photos)
Christmas
(6 photos)
Reply
post #14 of 16
No it does not ask for baking powder. Can I substitute the shortening too?
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by maggiebug View Post

No it does not ask for baking powder. Can I substitute the shortening too?

 

I wouldn't. 

 

I'm just curious, with the multitude of recipes available both on the net and in cookbooks written by respected chefs and bakers, why would you set about changing a recipe that is not working for you (if it tastes bad, its not working)?  Why not just look for a recipe that works for you? 

deborahanne

http://grandmasugarskitchen.blogspot.com/
http://fromlinetocolor.blogspot.ca/

Life begins at 325° F, and, yes, that IS powdered sugar in my hair.

Baby Shower
(6 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(6 photos)
Christmas
(6 photos)
Reply

deborahanne

http://grandmasugarskitchen.blogspot.com/
http://fromlinetocolor.blogspot.ca/

Life begins at 325° F, and, yes, that IS powdered sugar in my hair.

Baby Shower
(6 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(6 photos)
Christmas
(6 photos)
Reply
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