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Cake Making and Baking — From the COOKS.COM Culinary Archive.
There are really only several types of cake — those with butter or oil, and those without. If the correct methods of mixing and the principles of baking are understood, any reliable recipe may be used successfully. The principles underlying the making of batters and doughs apply equally to cake making, but in the latter greater amounts of butter and sugar are used.
Butter cakes, or those made with butter, include all the varieties of cup-cake, pound cake, fruit-cake, and the like. A Chiffon cake is one made with vegetable oil, and is a relatively new invention.
There are two ways of mixing cakes. First, soften the butter and rub it until creamy, add the sugar and beat thoroughly; beat the yolks until light-colored and thick; then beat them into sugar and butter. Mix the baking soda, cream of tartar, or baking-powder, and spice with the flour; add milk and flour alternately, beating well; add the whites beaten stiff.
When beating egg whites, care should be taken not to overbeat to the point where the egg whites become dry and begin to take on the appearance of separating foam. Egg whites should be shiny and glistening and hold stiff peaks. When making Chiffon cakes, the beating of the egg whites is crucial to the success of the cake and they should be beaten for an additional 45 seconds beyond this stage. A clean bowl is essential to this process. Before beating egg whites, bring them to room temperature and wipe your clean bowl with a 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar. Add a pinch of cream of tartar to help stabilize the eggs while beating. You can increase volume by adding a few drops of water for each egg white beaten.
All butter cakes should be beaten, before being poured into the pan, until smooth and fine-grained. If fruit is used, flour it or roll in sugar well to keep it from sticking, and add with the flour. One method of keeping most of the fruit from falling to the bottom of the pan is to divide your batter in half. Pour the first half of the batter into the pan bottom without the fruit. Add the fruit to the remaining batter in and pour on top.
The second and easier way of mixing plain cake is similar to that of mixing breakfast cakes. Pour the flour in the mixing bowl, and sift and mix it with the baking soda, cream of tartar, or baking-powder and spice. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Beat the yolks, add the milk, and stir this into the flour mixture. Then stir in the melted butter, and the stiffly beaten whites last, and whisk everything together vigorously, just before pouring it into the pans.
Sponge Cakes. These are made without butter, and when quite rich contain only eggs, sugar, flavoring, and flour. A less expensive type is made by using some liquid, usually water, and more flour, and substituting baking soda and cream of tartar of baking-powder for part of the eggs. In mixing, beat the yolks of the eggs until light and thick, add the sugar, flavoring, and water, then the flour mixed with the soda and cream of tartar or baking-powder, and lastly the beaten whites of the eggs. When only eggs, sugar, and flour are used, there must be no vigorous beating of the yolks and sugar, and no beating at all after the whites and flour are added — only a mixing of the ingredients.
Baking Cake. Thin cakes require a hotter oven than those baked in thick loaves. Cakes made with baking-powder or baking soda and cream of tartar should bake more quickly than pound cake or sponge cake made light with eggs alone. Cakes with molasses in them require a hot oven, but as they burn quickly they must be baked with care. Whichever kind you are baking, determine the total estimated amount of time the cake requires to bake (this will be found in recipe instructions) and divide this time into quarters. Check your cake at each quarter. Look at it quickly, within five minutes. During the first quarter of the time the cake should merely rise and not brown. If it browns before rising, the oven is too hot and the temperature must be lowered.
It should continue to rise on the edges during the second quarter period of baking, and begin to brown in spots.
In the third quarter it should rise in the center and become a rich golden brown all over, and possibly crack a little in the middle. If the dough boils up out of the crack the oven is too hot, and if it remains domed up too much flour has been used, for in the last quarter it should settle to a level, brown in the crack, and shrink slightly from the pan edges.
During the first and second quarter the cake may be moved carefully if necessary, but in the third quarter, or when it is fully risen, but not stiffened by the heat, there is danger of its falling if moved. Protect it by a piece of stiff paper, creased on each end that the edges may rest on the oven bottom with the top an inch above the cake.
When directed to keep a watchful eye on the baking progress of your cake, this is not to say that the oven door should be opened every five minutes; just the opposite. When checking on doneness, be careful not to open the door except for a quick peek. If you allow the oven temperature to drop too much before the cake is fully baked or even slam the oven door, the cake may fall and then remain heavy and uncooked in the center.
Cake is done when it shrinks from the pan and stops hissing, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Loosen the edges of the cake with a knife and turn the pan over carefully over a clean towel or wire rack, leaving the cake top-side up. Do not allow the cake to remain in pan or the bottom will become soggy.
1/4 c. butter 1 c. sugar 2 eggs 1/2 c. milk 1 tsp. baking-powder 1 1/2 c. flour 1/2 tsp. spice or 1/2 tsp. flavoring
Before you begin, make sure your oven is right and have all the ingredients at hand. Line the pans with buttered paper. Mix the baking-powder and spice with the flour. Separate the eggs. Measure the butter, rub it until creamy, add the sugar, and in scraping out the sugar take all the butter that has adhered to the cup. Beat until the sugar is dissolved; add the well-beaten yolks and the flavoring. Rinse out the yolk with the milk, then add milk and flour alternately, and the whites, beaten to a stiff froth, last. Beat well; bake in a shallow pan about twenty minutes, or until it shrinks from the pan.
Vary the cake by adding one half cup currants, or nuts chopped fine, or by coloring a part with dark spices or chocolate.
1 egg 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. lemon juice 3 tbsp. cold water 2/3 c. flour 1 tsp. baking-powder
Beat the yolk of the egg, add the sugar and beat again, add the lemon juice and water, then the flour in which the baking-powder has been mixed, and lastly the whites beaten stiff. Bake in a small shallow pan, or in scalloped tins. ins.
1 c. powdered sugar 1 tbsp. boiling water with 1 tbsp. lemon juice (not extract)
Mix well and add a few drops more of boiling water until it is thin enough to settle when you stop stirring.
A little melted chocolate may be used to give variety.
Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes
William Shakespeare — Twelfth Night