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Jul 13, 2007 10:36 AM

Buttermilk to replace milk in...

Can I use buttermilk to replace the milk or water in a cake mix?
Does anyone have any experience of this?
I bought a litre of buttermilk, having used it for the purpose that it was bought, and short of going out and buying a package of Oreos to pig out on, to drink the rest of the carton, I need some uses for it. I would rather not throw it out the remainder, and I DO have to make a small cake this weekend. I have several cake mixes in the cupboard that are also in need of being used.



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  1. I use mine in my pancakes and of course cornbread.I do know some cakes call for it but not sure if you can just use it in any cake mix...although I can't see that it would hurt.

    1. never did cake with it, but I'm not a baker - try mashed potatoes or a fruit smoothie, and though not the season for it, Alton Brown's steel cut oatmeal uses it

      1. I have experience using buttermilk instead of water in pancake batter with great success.

        Cake mixes are *very* forgiving. I say go for it!

        Just be sure to pop it in the oven soon after mixing wet and dry so that the leavening is not exhausted from all the acidity in the buttermilk (i.e. preheat the oven, don't let the batter hang out on the counter for more than 10 minutes).

        1. My gut feeling is that this may not be a good idea. The idea when baking is to balance acids with bases. This is because the leavening in most cakes is a chemical leavener which relies on a reaction between the acids and the bases to create carbon dioxide. If you unbalance this, you may have some chemicals which have not reacted left in your cake. This often gives it a metallic/chemical flavor.

          However, if you make your own cake batter, you can adjust for this fact. You would reduce the amount of baking powder (which is a mixture of and acid and an alkali) that the recipe calls for and increase the amount of baking soda (which is just an alkali). Since the buttermilk has so much acid, it will balance the amount of acid and base (an alkali is an basic, ionic salt).

          1 Reply
          1. re: bmubyzal

            Thanks all.
            All thoughts are those that I've considered.
            Bmubyzal, I thought of that, and that's why I was asking. I wonder if anyone has tried, adding some baking soda to the buttermilk, to neutralize the acid, as many recipes call for, when using vinegar/lemon juice and milk.


          2. I have no idea if it would work with a cake mix. Maybe with a white cake mix? I know buttermilk does have a different reaction to leaveners than milk.

            However, I do know that buttermilk can be easily used up in a number of ways! Make biscuits, waffles, or pancakes! Pancakes can also be frozen and then reheated for a quick workday breakfast. You can make buttermilk sherbet, use it in a smoothie, or make a tea bread. You can even freeze it to use later. Buttermilk also keeps for quite a long time in the fridge, so there's no real hurry to use it up now.