Which Is the Best Dairy Product for Your Cake: Whole Milk, Buttermilk, and Sour Cream

“I am just here for the cake!” has to be everyone’s fondest childhood memories, while attending a birthday party. At that time, we could not probably understand anything else, except our love for the cakes. Cakes are mostly relished on some special occasions. But let me tell you that no occasions are like the best occasion to enjoy a heavenly bite of cake. Now the question is what if the cake is not as heavenly as we had expected? Would you urge to relish it diminish? Well, yes definitely for the majority! Who would love to gorge on a below standard cake, right? But, what should be taken care of while preparing a cake?

Bakers say that the proportions of all the ingredients used while baking a cake needs to be taken care of to make a cake taste delicious. Neither too much of something nor too little of something can make the cake taste better. Rather, every ingredient used should be used in correct proportions to make a cake top-notch. 

Best Dairy Products for Cakes

While some ingredients are pretty dominant from its taste, some others are left commonly unnoticed by the baker or the relisher. Liquid ingredients are likely to fall under the latter category. Usually, different types of dairy ingredients tend to have a different effect on the cake, eventually after baking. Three such popular dairy ingredients are whole milk, buttermilk, and sour cream. One of these liquid dairy products is said to add the acid and fat element to your cake. While acids would lead to a positive amalgamation between the protein bonds and also help in starch gelation, fat would extend its moisture and thus help in tenderizing the cake. But, one of the noteworthy things about these three liquid ingredients is that each of the ingredients has different properties of its own, which reflect differently on the cake mix. 


Among all these ingredients, whole milk is the most neutral liquid. It tends to provide 9 grams of fat per cup. The acidic element seems to dominate as compared to its moderate level of fat content. 

On the other hand, buttermilk is lower on its fat content, with approximately 2.5 grams per cut. But the acidic element is great with around 1% of the acidic content. 

Similar to buttermilk is the approach of sour cream in cakes. The acidic element in sour cream is about 0.8% and its fat content rounds up to 40 grams of fat per cup.


Sour cream wins this league of being the best dairy product for cake baking, due to its beautiful, balanced impact of acidic and fat content. This balance tends to give a proper yummilicious cake with fine moist granules. Also, it tends to give the cake a lovely texture and flavour, which makes it even more desirable.  But, if you tend to bake your cake with whole milk then you shall observe a slightly darker hue of the cake, along with rough crumbs. Also, if you consider the taste factor, the cake made with whole milk seems to be bland, as compared to others due to its lack of proper acidification. 

Last but not the least, buttermilk as a dairy product used in cake baking not just gives a lighter texture, but also accounts to a tendered crumb.

Keeping up with each of its properties, you can experiment on your own and can reach up to your conclusions. As baking has got a lot of science attached to it you might end up getting surprised with your results!