Does it really matter what fat content of milk you use in your cake? I have often wondered about this but had never taken the time to set up a comparison until recently.
In our household, we typically have 1% milk on hand, but I usually keep whipping cream around to mock up whole milk and frequently buy whole milk if I know I have a large or special cake project coming up. I have been ever curious though about what the differences would be in cake that was made with different milk-fat content dairy. Would there be a difference is taste, or moisture content or texture? To answer this query, I baked up cakes made with whole milk and low-fat milk to compare the two.
There was little to no difference at all between cakes that were made with whole milk (on the left) and 1% milk (on the right). Although I expected there to be a difference in moisture level due to the differences in fat, the moisture was exactly the same in the two cakes. The taste was identical. Only the texture varied ever so slightly, and the 1% milk cake was the one that I preferred. The 1% milk fat cake was slightly finer and more delicate than the whole milk cake. Shocking!
What matters with milk in cake is the liquid content. The more cakes that I bake the more important liquid content proves to be. Liquids such as milk play a vital role in moisture, structure and leavening. It appears the fat content of these liquids matters less than the fact that they are water containing.
The take home message? Whatever percentage of fat your milk at home is, it is fine to use in your cakes. Feel free to use what is on hand.
What type of milk do you usually use in the cakes you bake? Let me know in the comment section below.
The best of baking to you!