Nothing can replace the whipped cream on top of your strawberry shortcake, but milk and butter can do a good job standing in for the cream in the shortcake itself or in other baked goods.
The substitution also works for other dishes such as sauces and soups, because the fat in butter adds richness to foods and the milk adds the smoothness of cream.
To replicate the creaminess of whipping cream, use whole milk instead of 2 percent or low-fat versions.
At 3.5 percent butterfat, whole milk doesn’t mirror even light whipping cream at 30 to 36 percent fat, and milk falls far short of heavy cream, which has at least 36 percent fat. But whole milk along with butter, which by law must contain at least 80 percent fat, approaches the same the smooth mouth-feel as cream.
For recipes in which you want extra richness, such as a sauce for meat or fish, use butter with more butterfat. This type of butter typically comes from European countries and has as much as 82 percent butterfat, according to the Crafty Baking website.
Use the same ratios whether you substitute for cream in sauces, scrambled eggs, soups, stews or baked goods, such as quick breads, muffins, cakes and cookies. For each cup of whipping cream, use 3/4 cup of whole milk and 1/3 cup of melted butter.