The basics of Cakes

11 October 2022
                                               The referent of Cake | Bakery Academy

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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