If measuring, sifting and stirring were the boring science lessons in cake baking, then the secrets of cake baking as follows will definitely help you conquer all the difficulties and find pleasure in cake baking.
1. Good cake begins with a mixing bowl
The process of making cake is actually a chemical transformation course: produce specific effect by mixing a series of ingredients complying with strict order in a mixing bowl. If you want to make a butter cake (such as Pound Cake or Layer Cake) that is soft, moisture and smooth inside, the very first step is to mix butter and sugar until creamy enough, and then beat in eggs and keep stirring, slowly whisk dried ingredients and liquid ones (milk or cheese) into the mixture. White cake and sponge cake or chiffon cake is well-known as its sponge-like texture air-rich mouthfeel. In respect of making, when eggs or egg whites are beaten and stirred, it means that the air is folded into the mixture and gives rise to the expansion in volume and flexibility in texture of cake. So, be sure to obey the directions of recipe strictly no matter what kind of cake you’ll make and the sequence and method of stirring in ingredients are also very important to cake baking.
2. Be acquainted with your oven
The best solution to prevent your cake from half-baked or over-baked is a thermometer: which is the best way to ensure whether your oven is adjusted accurately. Please place your cake in the middle layer of the oven (too close to the top or bottom of oven will burn the cake). And gently close the oven door for it will release the air in cake mixture. The way to checkout whether a cake is baked is to press slightly on the center of the cake with a spoon’s back, if the center of the cake bounces back to where it was, it implies that the cake is baked; or, use a toothpick to insert into the cake and then pull out, if the toothpick is clean, that means the cake is ready to serve.
3. Choose ovenware with an appropriate size and color
What do you do if it needs a 9 inch ovenware in a recipe while what you only have is a 8 inch one? The solution must be finding a 9 inch ovenware. We need to comply strictly with the requirement for ovenware in recipe, because the cake will expand a half to one time of volume larger than it was, if the ovenware is too small, the cake will overflow. In addition, the color of ovenware is also important, transparent glass ovenware or dark non-sticky ovenware will usually lower the baking temperature comparing to sliver aluminum ovenware.
4. Use flour correctly
Different flours have different content of protein, the more the protein, the stronger the toughness. Cake flour has the lowest content of protein so that it can make cake as light as white cake; while bread flour has the highest content of protein, which could be used to make products with dense texture; medium protein flour is in the middle and can be used to make soft cake.
5. Flour should be measured by electronic scale but not measuring cup
If you haven’t got a kitchen electronic scale, it’s time to buy one. Measuring is the only way to weigh your flour. Because the flour in measuring cup has a different tightness, the weight will vary even with the same scale.
6. The importance of chemical transformation among ingredients
It is based on the initial chemical transformation among the main ingredients in recipe to make a good cake. Flour can add consistency to dope and can form an integrated structure for cake by mixing with other liquid ingredients; but over-stirring shall be avoided for it will turn the cake hard. Expanding agent such as soda powder and baking powder will make cake expand; grease such as butter, shortening or cooking oil will block the formation of gluten and in the mean while providing moisture to the cake; sugar will break the gluten and keep the cake soft, yet it can absorb the moisture; eggs will form and stabilize the cake in baking.
7. Knacks of cooling cake
Generally speaking, most cakes will do with demoulding after baking and cooling for 20 minutes on the grill, but some need special treatment, such as white cake, which is so light and in order to prevent it from collapsing and deforming, we usually put them on hollow and flat base ovenware for baking, and when removing from the oven, we will rotate the cake with ovenware, and let it cool by putting a bottle in the hollow place for supporting.
8. Wipe frosting on cake like a professional
Before placing the cake, wipe a little frosting on the cake plate, it will prevent sliding when frosting. Using a scraper to frost on top of the cake, and cover it with a layer of another cake, and finally frost for the whole cake, refrigerate for 15 minutes, finished.
9. Fondant cake is beautiful in appearance but just so-so in taste
The rolled fondant on cake you can see on wedding or baking competition is actually the dough made of gelatin, glycerin and sugar for modeling. Although it has an outstanding appearance, it is inappropriate to eat. Liquid fondant is just the boiled syrup which is usually poured on the surface of cake or candy or used for dressing fancy cake.
10. Baking in areas where has a high latitude
The cake will expand larger and the moisture of cake will evaporate due to the low air pressure in high latitude, and if you live in a place with latitude of 1067 meters, please comply with the method below: increase the temperature of your oven to 707F, every liquid ingredient shall be added with another 2 tablespoons, and each cup of sugar shall be reduced by 1 tablespoon, every teaspoon of baking powder shall be reduced to a half, and at last the baking time will need to be reduced by 5 minutes.