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sour cream & cakes

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i just had a basic question. what exactly is the purpose of putting sour cream in cakes and such? i have used it plenty of times but i don't understand what it does for the baked good... also, would putting too much of it give the cake a sour taste??

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  1. My guess is that it is more for texture than taste...am not a great baker but I do know that the cake recipes I have that call for sour cream produce a very, well, fine-texture cake. Am hoping that more adept bakers will respond!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      Yes, it's true that sour cream lends a very nice, fine texture to cakes, but also great moistness, and, I suspect, a more golden color in yellow cakes.

      There is a most definite subtle tang in sour cream cakes, but very pleasantly so, much like buttermilk pancakes. This acidity seems to enhance the buttery flavor of yellow and white cakes and deepen the intensity in chocolate cakes. When I see sour cream as an ingredient in a cake recipe, it is already a good sign for me.

    2. The 'cream' part is, well, cream, so it has a high fat content and makes for a tender crumb; the 'sour' part is used to react with the leavening which has a basic component (such as B. soda), so it actually does some work! I also think it adds a bit of je ne sais quoi, but maybe I'm alone in that