Originally Posted by s_mack
Well... first off, 100% would be... well, lard I guess?
I think you misunderstand fat content.
"whole" milk is 3.25% milk fat by volume. What I have is 1% and 18%. The sour cream is actually a relatively high fat content at 14% ("light", by comparison, is typically around 5%). Yogurt wasn't mentioned.
So with the science of it, I could do the math and combine appropriate amounts of 18% and 1% to get pretty close to a 3.25% yield... but that wasn't really the question.
As I mentioned, comments were that the recipe was too dry. As I'm sure YOU know :)... baking is just as much an art as it is a science. The classic time-tested 1-2-3-4 cake recipe has endured for (hundreds of?) years... are we really to believe that it actually happens that this radio is scientifically derived? No, its more a matter of round numbers, convenience, and easy to remember. Every recipe can be tweaked. This one, according to others, is too dry so people add "more milk" (which is vague) and 1/4 cup fo sour cream (no mention of fat content). So my question, really, was for opinions and feelings on what I might try with the 18%/1% mixture as 1) a substitute for 3.25% and b) to accomodate the "dry" aspect.
I have to run to the store now anyway... not enough butter... but I'm still hesitant to buy whole milk for this unless there's a good reason :)
Baking to me is not a science, but an art born of knowing how the ingredients work together to make whatever it is that I want to make. I regularly throw together batters for this or that, and sometimes make substitutions if I don't have the ingredients I want.
If the complaint is "dry cake", then adding more fat will definitely solve the problem. For instance, a boxed cake mix recipe that states the addition of 1/3 cup of cooking oil, is much more moist, and satisfying with the addition of 2 extra tbs. of cooking oil. So in your recipe, using cream to increase the fat content would work. And junlike cooking oil, I don't think you will ruin your cake if you add a bit more cream than you actually need.
I once obtained a carrot cake recipe that called for a lot of cooking oil. Looking at the recipe, I thought that the amount may have been a misprint. But after speaking with the person who gave it to me, I tried it. The cake tasted like it was supposed to, and the crumb was good, but it was so heavy with cooking oil that I could press down on my slice, and oil would ooze out, like from a sponge. I reduced the oil amount by half and the cake was then very good.
Fat is what gives a cake, or most quickbreads that moist texture we all love. So in response to your question, I would substitue 1/2 of the whole milk with your cream. So take your skim milk, and add enough cream to approximate whole milk, and add half the amount the recipe calls for of that mixture to the cake batter. Add the rest as straight cream.
Another way to increase the moisture of your cake is to poke holes into the baked cake with a fork. Then mix up either a complimentary gelatine flavor (cherry with chocolate, or butterscotch with a yellow cake, etc), or an instant pudding mix that compliments the cake. Then pour the gelatine, or pudding over the cake, then place in the fridge for two hours before serving. This is an excellent technique for making your cake extra moist and flavorfull.
Seeeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the NOrth