I did some research, but can't find the answer to my problem: I need to thicken the cream that I am making for my layered cake. The cream is made of sour cream and sweetened condensed milk. The cream, the way it is - is runny. It is good (and also preferable) for getting the layers of my cake moist. But then, I need to keep a layer of the same in between the layers of the cake and that's where I face the problem: it all runs off. I would like to thicken it. What I had in mind is consistency of a vanilla pudding or, maybe, even a bit thinner. I tried xanthan gum, but I don't like the texture: it is too slimy. I tried tapioca flour, but nothing happens (maybe I did something wrong). Anyone has the experience? Until now, I kept thinking that heating was not an option and that I had to keep the sour cream cold, but now I thought that maybe it is what I will have to do. I am just not sure if heating it will degrade its quality as the end product will be the type of cake that needs to be refrigerated.

  • I'd not heat up anything that contains sour cream, as it tends to curdle and get grainy when heated! About tapioca: like any other starch, it needs to be heated to get the thickening effect.
    – Gretel_f
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 7:41

2 Answers 2


I'm wondering if mixing in some cream cheese in addition to, or in place of a portion of the sour cream, might help thicken things without altering the taste profile too much.

Sour cream is roughly 73% water, while cream cheese is only around 53% water. That may be a way to reduce some of the water content without having to resort to heat.

  • Depending on where you live you could get other dairy products that behave similarly to cream cheese int his case, but with different flavor profiles. In Germany, we have something called "quark" for example, which is frequently used in pastry creams. It is more tart than cream cheese. So, what you are looking for, if you're up to experimenting: any dairy product that has a higher fat and protein and lower water content. :)
    – Gretel_f
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 7:37

I think I would go with double cream. It's really thick once whipped (careful not to split it by overwhipping it). Then fold gently your sour cream and condensed milk mixed together into it, preferably with a maryse.

You could also add some gelatine if that's not an issue for you.

  • 1
    +1 on the gelatin! Or agar agar as a vegan alternative to gelatin. also: don't let the whipped heavy cream get warm, it will melt! :)
    – Gretel_f
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 7:39
  • Yes agar would work but it would need to be cooked in a liquid. I've only used it for jellies with fruits but i guess you could cook it with some cream and cool it down, then blitz it with the condensed milk? Not sure how that would go though...
    – Clepsyd
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 12:14
  • well, i used it similarly to gelatin, but I admit, it's a bit more difficult to handle, as it sets faster than gelatin. However, I still managed it most times.
    – Gretel_f
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 13:18
  • It helps to not dump the hot agar liquid straight into the cold cream (which will make it cool to fast resulting in clumps), but to add a portion of the cream to the agar mixture first, mix, and then swiftly incorporate it into the rest of the cold cream. Might also be a good idea to not have a super cold cream, to begin with. But it requires a bit of practice, i admit.
    – Gretel_f
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 13:31

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