~Baking secrets for Cakes~

There are always secrets and tips to prepare such wonderful cakes~! My Owner’s big brother know everything about these methods and he always does a perfect job when he bakes not only
cakes, but other food too. Here you have important secrets that you, humans, need to know in order to bake a perfect cake~! My Owner waits always to receive a wonderful and delicious cake~

 

1. Good results start in the mixing bowl.

A cake is essentially a chemistry experiment—a series of ingredients mixed in a specific order to cause reactions that produce specific effects. Butter cakes, like pound cakes and most layer cakes, get their soft, fine texture and moistness—called a crumb—by first creaming together fat and sugar, adding eggs, and slowly incorporating dry ingredients into the mixture while alternating with a liquid, such as milk or buttermilk. Angel food, sponge, and chiffon cakes get their signature airy, foamlike textures when whole eggs or egg whites (depending on the cake) are whipped until voluminous, then folded into the batter. The air incorporated by whipping the eggs gives these cakes volume, making them springy and elastic. So whatever cake you’re making, be sure to follow the recipe instruction closely. The order and method described really counts when cake baking.

2. Know your oven.

To prevent an under- or overdone cake, get an oven thermometer—it’s the best way to be sure your oven is calibrated correctly. Bake the cake in the middle (too close to the top or bottom can cause overbrowning). Gently close the oven door—a hard slam can release air bubbles trapped in the batter. To check for doneness, lightly press the center of the cake; if it springs back, it’s done. Or insert a wooden pick; it should come out clean.

3. Choose the proper pan size (and color).

Your recipe calls for two 9-inch round cake pans, but you only have 8-inch pans. What to do? Go get two 9-inch pans. Pan size is specified in recipes because a cake increases in volume 50 to 100 percent during baking; if your pan is too small, the cake could overflow. Color is important, too; glass or dark nonstick pans usually require a 25-degree reduction in baking temperature versus silver-colored aluminum pans.

4. Use the right flour for the recipe.

Different flours contain varying percentages of protein—the more protein, the more gluten. Cake flour has the least protein and yields extra-light baked goods, like angel food cake. Bread flour has the most and is used for denser items; all-purpose is in the middle and produces tender cakes.

5. Weigh, don’t measure, flour.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, it’s time to buy one. Weight is the only accurate way to measure flour. Depending on how tightly flour is packed into a measuring cup, you can end up with double the amount intended. That’s why we give flour measurements in ounces first.

6. Chemistry counts.

The intimate chemistry among key ingredients delivers the foundation for good cake. Flour thickens the batter and provides gluten, a protein that gives the cake structure. It forms when flour is combined with a liquid and agitated. Don’t overmix, which can cause your cake to turn tough. Leaveners, like baking soda or powder, produce carbon dioxide bubbles, which are trapped by the starch in the batter and expand during baking, causing the cake to rise. Fats, like butter, shortening, or oil, help retard gluten formation while providing moisture for the cake. This ensures a tender texture. Sugar breaks up gluten, keeping the texture tender; it absorbs liquid, keeping the cake moist; and it caramelizes in baking, enriching flavors and helping the cake brown. Eggs firm up when cooked, helping cake batters set in the oven. Egg yolks contain fat, as well as lecithin, an emulsifier that allows fats and water to mix smoothly and ensures even texture.

7. Give your cake a cooldown.

Cool cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pan. Once cooled, place a plate on top, invert the pan, and gently tap or shake it to release the cake. Angel food cakes are usually baked in tube pans, then inverted either on feet attached to the pan or over a bottle to cool upside down while still in the pan—gravity helps the cake keep its volume. When it has cooled, run a narrow spatula around the edges, and release onto a plate.

8. Frost like a professional.

Put a small dollop of frosting in the center of the cake plate, and place the first cake layer on top. This will keep the cake from moving as you work. Use an offset spatula to frost the top, add the next layer, then coat the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting. (This “crumb coat” holds loose crumbs in place.) Place the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes, then remove and finish frosting, starting with the top, then the sides.

9. Fondant may make for a beautiful cake, but…

Rolled fondant—the smooth coating seen on elaborate wedding and reality-show competition cakes—is a combination of gelatin, glycerin, and sugar that forms into an easily molded dough. It doesn’t taste very good, though. Poured fondant is a cooked-sugar syrup that’s used as a cake filling, in candies, or to top petit fours—you might know it better as the center of a Cadbury Crème Egg.

10. How to factor in a higher altitude.

Since there is less air pressure at higher altitudes, cakes rise more and can dry out because liquids evaporate more quickly. If you live above 3,500 feet, follow these guidelines: Increase the oven temperature to 375° and liquid by 2 tablespoons for each cup used. Decrease each cup of sugar by 1 tablespoon, each teaspoon of baking powder by ⅛ teaspoon, and the baking time by 5 minutes.

11. Avoid Using Cold Eggs

Sure, you know to bring the butter to room temperature, but it’s just as important for eggs—otherwise the mixture won’t emulsify properly. If you’re short on time, microwave cut-up butter on low in 5-second intervals, checking in between, and place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.

12. Use a Pastry Brush to Butter the Pans

You’ll get better coverage than with a piece of butter in paper—plus, it makes buttering parchment a breeze. Simply swipe the brush over a tablespoon of very soft butter, then onto the pan or paper.

13. Rotate the Pans During Baking

This will ensure even baking. But wait until the cake is set—about two-thirds of the way through the baking time—to prevent collapse. If you’re using more than one rack, this is also the time to swap the pans.

14. Cool Cakes Upside Down

This will flatten out the tops, creating easy-to-stack disks for layer cakes. If the top of a cake is still too rounded, slice it off with a serrated knife.

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Butter Cakes

Use butter, margarine or solid shortening. Don’t substitute oil, even if the recipe calls for the shortening to be melted.

Use solid shortening to prepare the pan. Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with solid vegetable shortening (butter, margarine and oil don’t coat as evenly). Use a paper towel or pastry brush to spread the shortening. Then dust the greased pan with flour, shaking it until the bottom and sides are well coated. (If you’re baking a chocolate cake, you can use cocoa instead of flour.) Tap out the excess flour. For nonstick pans, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Instead of greasing and flouring pans, you also may use pan inserts made of parchment paper. The inserts are available at many cooking specialty stores. Use paper or foil baking cups to line cupcake pans.

Make a hollow. After filling the pan with batter, make a slight hollow in the center of the batter with the back of a spoon or spatula. This will give the cake a nicely rounded, rather than humped, top.

Cool cake in the pan. Cool cake on a wire rack for 5 to 20 minutes before removing it from the pan. To remove a cake, carefully run a knife along the edge to loosen it from the pan. Place another wire rack on top of the pan. With the pan sandwiched between the two racks, turn it over. Carefully lift the pan from the cake. To make sure that the top of the cake will be facing up, once again sandwich the cake between two racks and turn it over. Remove the top rack.

If the cake sticks to the pan, return it to the oven and heat for 1 minute. Remove it from the pan.

Cut the cake with a thin, sharp knife. Use a sawing, back-and-forth motion. If the frosting sticks, dip the knife in hot water and wipe it with a damp towel after cutting each slice. An electric knife also works well for cutting most layer cakes.

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Foam Cakes

Do not grease or flour the tube pan. During baking, the batter must be able to cling to the sides of the pan and the center tube in order to rise properly.

Beat eggs at room temperature. For the highest volume, bring egg whites to room temperature before beating them. Be sure that no egg yolk remains in the whites and that the bowl, beaters, and rubber scraper are clean and free from any oil or shortening. Even a little bit of grease will prevent the whites from beating properly.

Break bubbles in the batter. So that the cake will have an even texture, cut through the batter with a knife before baking to break large air bubbles and to seal the batter against the sides of the pan and center tube.

Bake on the bottom rack. In some ovens, cakes in tube pans bake better on the bottom rack, preventing the top from getting too brown. You may need to remove the top oven rack to leave adequate room for the pan or for the cake to expand.

Cool cake in the pan. To prevent this delicate type of cake from collapsing after baking, turn the tube or Bundt® pan upside down on a wire rack, heatproof funnel or the neck of a bottle so the cake doesn’t touch the counter.

Remove it carefully from the pan. Use a smooth, gentle sawing motion, or use an electric knife.

Freeze leftover egg whites. If you have leftover egg whites, lightly beat them, place in a freezer-safe container, and freeze. Thaw them in the refrigerator and use them like fresh egg whites in foam cakes, meringues, and cooked frostings. One egg white equals 2 tablespoons.

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Is the cake done? How do I know?

Underbaked cakes are soggy, pale and raw-tasting; overbaked cakes are dry, too brown and may stick in the pan. To be sure that your cake is done just right, follow these simple steps.

Check for doneness at the minimum baking time. Then check at 1-minute intervals until the cake is done.

Butter cakes are done when:

  • A toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • The top is rounded, smooth and springs back when lightly touched in the center.

Foam cakes are done when:

  • The top springs back when touched.
  • The cracks on top look and feel dry.

(If a cake is underbaked, it will pull away from the sides and tube and/or fall out of the pan when inverted.)

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How to keep my Cake fresh?

Store when completely cooled.

Cakes with frostings or fillings containing dairy products should be refrigerated.

Store under cake cover or large bowl.

If a cake has a fluffy cooked frosting, insert a knife handle under an edge of the cake cover so it isn’t airtight. The frosting can be totally absorbed by the cake when stored in an airtight container. If you don’t have a cake cover, cakes with creamy frostings also can be covered lightly with foil, plastic wrap or waxed paper. To keep the frosting from sticking to the protective covering, insert several toothpicks halfway into the cake around the edges and in the center to support the covering.

Freeze unfrosted cakes.

For unfrosted butter cakes, cool completely, wrap in heavy-duty foil and freeze. Foam cakes may be frozen in the pan to prevent crushing. Cover tightly and freeze. Unfrosted cakes may be stored in the freezer up to 6 months.

Freeze cakes with buttercream frosting.

Frosted cakes can be frozen in a tightly covered plastic container. Or, place cake in freezer until frosting is frozen. Then wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil and freeze up to 3 months. Cooked, boiled or fruit frostings and fillings don’t freeze as well. Place layer cakes in a box or cake container to prevent crushing, then wrap the box in foil or plastic wrap before freezing. Foam cakes may be filled or frosted with whipped cream or whipped topping before freezing. Frosted cakes may be stored in the freezer up to 3 months.

Thaw cakes at room temperature.

Thaw unfrosted cakes covered and frosted cakes loosely covered for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature.

 

 

Thank you, pillsburybaking.com and cookinglight.com~!

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