I always emphasize that before you call baking an art, one must master the science of it. Besides learning about How to decide temprature of baking, leavening agents like Baking Soda and Baking Powder, Compound Chocolate and Couveture Chocolate, how to avoid 10 common mistakes in baking and even diabetes friendly baking, it is time to go deep into 5 main techniques that one must master to make a perfect cake!
All in one Method
All in one means mixing all the ingredients at one go. The steps are pretty straight forward by putting all the measured ingredients and sieved flour into the mixing bowl. Very often the ingredients also include leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder. Mixture is beaten at medium speed, followed by low speed for the last 2 minutes. This is the simplest and the least time-consuming method therefore is highly use in commercial production line. The cakes made with all in one method is also called rich cake. Examples are cupcakes, Madeira cake, simple chocolate cake, etc.
Whisking is also known as whipping method. This method is about whisking the wet ingredient like eggs and sugar to trap air and form the volume. Whisking must be properly done so that your baked goods will rise. As mentioned in 10 common mistakes in baking, make sure your eggs are in room temperature to achieve the desired effect. When the wet ingredient reaches the ribbon stage, that’s when dry ingredient like sieved flour is gently folded into the mixture. Despite that folding too much will not be helpful to hold the air, one must make sure that folding stops only no traces of flour are seen. Improper folding will result in heavy and crumbly texture instead of light, airy, and fluffy texture that this technique is trying to achieve. This method is usually used in making sponge cake, chiffon cake, meringue, and swiss rolls.
This is a method whereby butter and caster sugar are mixed together. Subsequently other ingredient is added one at a time. When you beat the butter and caster sugar together, it creates a lot of air bubbles. The air bubbles are trapped in the mixture and thus form a natural leavening. More air bubbles will be created as you beat more. Observe that the mixture turns pale and creamy, it is likely that enough air is trapped inside the mixture. After this, you may add eggs one by one into the mixture while maintain the moderate speed. If you try to pour all eggs at one time, curdling is the effect that you likely to get. Make sure your mixture is not under-creamed as the mixture will split when eggs are added. This may result a tough and dry cake. Lastly, incorporate the sieved flour. Again, divide into several small portions to add in to avoid curdling. Creaming method is perfect for making a cheesecake, cream cakes and Victoria Sponge cake. Most importantly, all ingredients must not be cold and should be at room temperature.
Melting is the least error prone method to use. You melt the butter in a pot first. Then incorporate the eggs followed by dry ingredients. There is no whisking in the process so you need leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder to help the cake rise. Melting method usually result in moisture and dense cakes like fruit cake, ginger cake, flapjacks and Horlick crunchies. The tips for this kind of cakes are precise measurement to avoid a sinking cake.
Use your fingers to rub fats ingredient like butter or margarine into flour. During rubbing process, always sprinkle the crumbs higher to trap more air. Then incorporate sugar followed by liquid ingredient such as milk. Rubbing is ideal to make tart skin, scones, crumbles and crust pastry.
If one could master all 5 main techniques above, you are on the way to become a professional baker in no time.