YAY! This is my 100th post!
Thanks to the Pastry Chef website. I have now mastered THE Perfect CAKE!!
In past years, everyone has loved my cakes, or so they claimed, but the fact that they always gave me the compliment, “Mmmmmmm, taste like corn bread!” Has never sat well with me. Do I want my vanilla butter-cream cake to taste like corn bread? Whats more, do I want my chocolate cakes to taste like chocolate corn bread? No, not really!
I do not even recall what I goggled, but Jenni’s site came up. There is a wealth of baking information on her site, which is why I added her link to my page. I have already tried her muffin method, and plan to try the cookie method real soon.
I used this recipe for the purse cake that I posted last week.
Buttery Moist BIRTHDAY CAKE
4 cups Swans Down cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) room temp butter
2 cups raw sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
4 large eggs, ROOM TEMP.
2 cups buttermilk OR kefir, well-shaken ( I used my homemade kefir.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray cake pan first. I baked the cake for 35 mins.
Take the time to read through the creaming method a couple times. It will make all the difference, and it really is not that hard to follow. I will be making another cake for my sons birthday this Saturday. No more corn bread cakes for me! :o)~
The Creaming Method
1. Beat fat until light and fluffy. (Butter only)
2. Beat sugar with fat until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs, one at a time. (forgot to snap picture!)
4. Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients.
So, why use the creaming method? The first steps in the creaming method are designed to introduce as many tiny air bubbles as possible into the cake batter. The more thoroughly you perform these steps, the lighter your cake will be.
How to Bake the Perfect Cake By: Jenni
Shortened cakes (cakes containing fat) all contain more or less the same ingredients: flour, sugar, fat, eggs, other liquid, leaveners, flavorings. That’s about it, really. Here’s how you put all of these ingredients together to make a fantastic cake.
1. Blend dry ingredients together really well. This means flour, baking soda and/or baking powder, and salt. Really well means really well. Use a whisk and blend the dry ingredients together for at least thirty seconds or so. You do this to evenly disperse the salt and leaveners throughout the flour. The more evenly your ingredients are dispersed, the more uniform your rise. Since the leaveners give off gases, you want them to be evenly distributed so they give off their gases evenly. That way, you won’t have a very tight crumb in some places and big old holes in your cake in others. This step will also incorporate some air into the dry ingredients. This will assist the rise even further.
2. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Have your butter at cool room temperature. You want the butter soft enough to whip but firm enough to hold its shape and be able to expand and hold air.
3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. “Why not skip step 2?” you ask? It’s easier to blend two ingredients with like textures than it is to blend one heavy ingredient with one light ingredient. Sugar is a lighter ingredient than butter–its crystalline structure allows space between all the little grains of sugar. Those spaces are filled with air. Take the time to whip the butter to incorporate some air. You’ll be able to cream the butter and sugar together much more efficiently.
Remember that I said you need to keep the butter cool. Well, it will warm up during all the creaming, so keep feeling the outside of the bowl. It should feel cool. If it doesn’t rub the outside with a bag of frozen peas to cool things off again. Not elegant, but it works. You could also throw the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes.
Cream on medium speed for at least three to five minutes. At least. You want the butter and sugar to increase in volume. What’s happening during this time? The sugar crystals are tearing little holes in the butter. The holes are filling up with air. In order to achieve the best rise in the oven, you’ll want the maximum number of little air holes possible. This takes time, so wait for it.
4. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix each one in thoroughly before you add the next one. You’re making an emulsion–butter and water (from egg whites) are being held together by the emulsifiers in the egg. Emulsions take time, so only add one egg at a time. Make sure your eggs are at cool room temperature. If you throw eggs in the butter/sugar mixture straight from the fridge, you’ll just make your butter all hard again. Then it won’t be stretchy and plastic anymore. Then, it won’t hold onto its air bubbles. Then you’ll be sorry. So, to keep the butter nice and pliable your eggs should be at about 68 degrees, same as the butter.
Anyway, add them one at a time. Make sure that your butter and sugar are as light as you can get them, because once you add the eggs, the mixture won’t increase in volume anymore. Make sure the eggs are evenly blended into the batter. Scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure the structural proteins in the whites and the emulsifiers in the whites get evenly distributed throughout the batter.
5. Mix your water/milk/buttermilk–whatever your liquid is–with any flavorings, such as vanilla extract. Stir this together really well.
6. Add about 1/2 of your dry ingredients to the mixer. Mix in slowly until just combined.
7. Add 1/2 the liquid. Mix in until just combined. Add the other half of the liquid. Mix in until just combined.
8. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix in until just combined.
So, what’s up with steps 6-8? Why not just add everything at once? Why not mix fast? Introducing water (as water or milk) can start to activate the gluten in the flour. We want some gluten activation so the cake doesn’t fall apart, but we don’t want so much that we end up with a chewy cake. Mixing half the dry ingredients in first, when there is very little water in the batter (only from the egg whites) allows you to mix thoroughly and have only minimal gluten development. Adding the liquid in two stages and mixing in between allows a little more gluten to develop without ruining the emulsion that you took pains to make back in step 4. Adding the last of the flour at the end smooths the batter out, and since you’re adding it at the end, you won’t have to mix very much, so you end up limiting gluten formation that way, too.
What you should end up with is thick, airy batter. It shouldn’t pour into pans. You should have to scrape it into the pans. You’ve done it! Beautiful cake batter made with the creaming method!
I have made 2 cakes using this method thus far. I have two more birthdays coming up, so will be continuing on…
Check out this chocolate cake that I made for my sons 7th birthday the other day. It was the best chocolate cake we have ever had! For real! So moist,excellent crumb, and texture. It totally melted in your mouth. Of course maybe that was the tiny chocolate chips that were also in the batter. :o)~