What does milk do in a cake?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “what does milk do in a cake” with an in-depth analysis of what milk does in the cake. Moreover, we are going to discuss the difference between the effect of the addition of milk or water in the dough along with an easy way to make hot milk cake.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

What does milk do in a cake?

Milk moisturizes the cake (owing to the presence of water in its formulation) and makes it soft, adds great color and flavor to the cake (owing to its fat content). 

Thus, by adding milk to your cake batter, not only you will be able to mix the dry ingredients of your batter quickly but you will also get your hands on a soft cake.

Milk also helps in activating the gluten, thus making your cake spongy and fluffy. The addition of milk enhances the texture of the cake and provides an environment where your leavening can carry out its chemical processes nicely (milk is used to dissolve the yeast). 

The proteins present in the formulation of the milk improves the structure and texture of the cake by making it more spongy and also improves its tenderness.

Moreover, milk is a highly nutritious food item. Milk is a rich source of protein and contains about 7.7 grams of proteins per cup (240 ml). Milk contains about 80% of the casein while 20% of the whey protein. While talking about the fat content of the milk, different variants of milk have different fat values. 

Whole milk contains about 3.7% fat, semi-skimmed milk contains about 1.7% fat, 1% fat milk contains 1%, while the skimmed milk contains about 0.3% fat in its formulation.

Moreover, milk is also rich in many vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin, and owing to its rich nutrient content, it also raises the nutritional value of the cakes or muffins in which it is used.

Milk vs water in the cake

If you want to substitute the milk with water in your cake batter then you should know that no doubt water will also help to mix the dry ingredients to make the batter but on the other hand, it won’t add any nutrients to your cake and won’t provide the same spongy texture.

Moreover, it takes more time for the yeast to rise the dough in which water is used as compared to the dough in which milk is used. 

The dough with added water is more sicky as compared to the dough in which milk is added.

So if you are allergic to milk or have gone vegan, it is better to substitute the regular milk of your recipes with plant-based milk instead of water. Soy milk is a great substitute for regular milk owing to its protein content and nutrient profile.

How to make a hot milk cake?

So what you gotta do is to first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Now take a bowl and add 4 eggs to it. Now with the help of the electric whisk, whisk the eggs for 5 minutes at high speed or you can continue to whisk the eggs till you get a uniform lemon-colored thick paste. 

Now add 2 cups of sugar gradually in these whisked eggs along with constant beating using the electric whisk. You have to beat this mixture till you get a fluffy and creamy white mixture. Now it is time to add vanilla extract to this mixture. 

So add 1 tsp of vanilla extract and mix it.

Add 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour in this bowl along with constant beating at a low speed followed by the addition of 2 ¼ tsp of baking powder and set it aside.

Now take a pan and add 1 ¼ cups of milk along with 10 tbsp of butter and warm it till the butter completely melts into the milk. Now add this gradually to the prepared mixture and beat it till to completely dissolve everything.

Take a baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan. Tap the pan 1-2 times to get rid of the air bubbles. Now place it in the oven and let it bake for 30-35 minutes. 

After 30-35 minutes take out the cake and insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake to ensure that the cake is completely baked. If the toothpick comes clean it is an indication that your cake is completely baked. 

Place it on the wire rack to cool it down. Afterward, top it with some whipped cream or chocolate and enjoy.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “what does milk do in a cake” with an in-depth analysis of what milk does in the cake. Moreover, we discussed the difference between the effect of the addition of milk or water in the dough along with an easy way to make hot milk cake.




Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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