I need help with a project I'm doing!! Why do some cupcake recipes have milk and some don't? What does the milk add? If it were called for in a recipe, but not put in, what would happen? Thank you!
There will be plenty of forum members who can give you much more scientific answers but for a first idea, milk makes things softer. It gives a nice texture to a cake (and makes bread soft, even meatloaf softer). But in cakes with chocolate, the chocolate flavor is enhanced if there is no milk, because the milk kind of takes away the intensity of the chocolate flavor.
I think if a recipe is developed for milk, you might have to adjust other ingredients, but that's something you'll need an expert to tell you.
Am I totally mistaken? Isn't really rich milk only about 3.5-4% butterfat?
IMHO, that's 96-96.5% something else
Most often, the reason some sort of milk is used in a cupcake or muffin recipe, other than adding moisture, is to assist in the leavening or rise of the baked item. The lactic acid contained in the milk or buttermilk reacts with the alkaline (or base) of the baking powder or baking soda. This creates small bubbles in the batter which when heated, expand to raise the batter and cook the flour and other ingredients from within. The fat contained in the milk also helps to tenderize the batter and resulting crumb, but butter and oil do a better job of that.
One must be careful substituting other liquids, such as fruit juice, for the milk as it contains more acid than milk and can overwhelm the leavening action before the cakes even reach the oven. It's kind of a delicate balancing act.
For more about how this all works, I suggest consulting Shirley Corriher's BakeWise. The recipes are great and she explains in an easily understandable way how all this works.
I am very sorry for my many mistakes. I was on a question answering spree that day and so whenever I saw a question I try to answer it :D. When someone asks something I try my best to answer it and I guess my answer was very unaccurate but it's worth a shot ^_^ and thank you for correcting my flaws