The basics of Cakes
The basics of cakes, where in the past
emulsifiers, leavening agents weren’t obvious. The natural present
ingredients had to be used in such a way that were set in their optimum. This
is in particular the case with eggs as eggs seems to be vital in a cake: they
give it a lifting (soufflé-) effect, they bind or bring together ingredients
that mix hard other wise.
When eggs are a bit warmer, they dissolve
sugar well, but also the overrun or amount of air that can be hold becomes
greater. Interestingly when separating eggs in yolk and whites one gets a
different result: egg whites can incorporate more air than yolk, but the whites
require an emulsifier (which you can find in egg yolk) to stabilise the
air-sugar-egg white solutions. In regular egg the total incorporation of air is
however less than egg white, but it is more stable. When eggs are whipped warm
(about 35 °C) the proteins are opening
up more easy and air will incorporate therefore also more easy.. This is also
called a foam.
Now we can add the flour to this and stir
it together. Sifting the flour will help absorb the liquid faster and we will
loose less air. If we have combined all ingredients (egg+sugar+flour) in equal
amounts we have a basic batter that would go through for a foam or sponge cake.
A more richer product would have fat that
has been melted and added to this foam. If done in the same proportion as the
other three ingredients we have created a cake with 4 equal parts of eggs, sugar, flour and fat: the French call
this ‘quatre quart’ or in English ‘Pound Cake’. The air and moisture in this
formulation are responsible for the lift of the cake during baking, whilst
creating a tender product.
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