Scratching your head from the sea of menu items when you order a cake? Do those jargon words of chocolate fudge, pound cake, angel food cake and so on even give you a sense of how the texture of the cake might be? What makes up of those cakes? Well, here are some tips on identifying the different common types of cake that you should know of.
Everyone knows about sponge cake : it has a light and airy texture and it is soft in your mouth. When baking, we do not use any artificial leavener such as baking soda or baking powder in sponge bake. Whipped eggs are the main contributor for its foamy texture and height. Both egg yok and egg whites in a sponge cake is beaten separately. Sponge cakes are often used in the famous Strawberry Short cake that emphasizes a lot on its softness. It is also popular to used as layered cakes too.
A sponge cake is called genoise in Italy and France. A sponge cake has almost no fat other than coming from its egg yolks. Genoise cake use clarified butter to enrich the cake. It is more moisturized and tender than sponge cake. However, it has lack of significant strong flavor of its own. Therefore, Genoise Cake is usually used in constructing a layered o rolled cakes due to its light texture.
Angel Food Cake
Angel Food Cake was originated from the United States. It became very popular especially in the 2000s due to its extremely light, fluffy and airy structure. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about Sponge Cake. Similar to Sponge Cake, Angel Food Cake gains its height from eggs but it purely uses the egg whites. Sponge Cake on the other hand use both egg white and egg yolk. One point that worth to mention is Angel Food Cake is so light that it has to be cooled upside down to prevent it from collapsing. When served, it is usually topped with fresh berries. It is definitely one of the most refreshing cake given its texture and it is totally butter free.
Chiffon cake is very similar to a sponge texture. Ingredient wise, Chiffon Cake uses not only egg whites but also baking powder to help it rise. Most importantly, vegetable oil is used in Chiffon cake which makes it overall richer in flavor compared to a sponge cake. Chiffon cake is usually baked in bundt mold. Sometimes it is layered with fillings and frostings.
Well, any cake that creaming the butter and sugar together is a butter cake. It is mixed with wet or dry ingredients to support its structure and rise in the oven. You find a good butter cake flavorful, soft but yet dense in texture. Butter cake is known for its yellowish appearance but do not surprise that the striking Red Velvet Cake is also one of the butter cakes too.
Pound Cake is the mother of all butter cakes. It has a pure butter flavor. The texture is much denser and velvety than butter cakes. “Pound” cake was named from the fact that traditionally it was baked with one pound of butter, one pound of sugar, one pound of egg and one pound of flour. Of course, Pound Cake today does not necessarily follow the measurement above and have its recipe much improved. Some even incorporate other ingredient such as matcha, cocoa powder, etc. However it is typically baked in a bundt mold or in a loaf pan.
As its name tells, the easiest way to identify a carrot cake is its grainy texture with grated carrots. Additions of grated carrot in the cake also helps to make the cake more moisturized. Sometime you will also find pecans and walnuts in a carrot cake. Well, carrot cake uses leavenings like butter cake. However, instead of butter, it actually uses vegetable oil.
Cheesecake is a unique cake that easily stands out among other cakes due to its rich and often creamy texture. Needless to say, cheesecake is made of cheese. In the world of cheesecake, there are plenty of varieties that you could pick from. Each has its unique flavors and textures. If you have missed my previous blog about cheesecake, please click here.
Baked Flourless Cake
The cake is baked without flour. Examples of baked flourless cake like baked cheesecakes and flourless chocolate cakes are very rich in flavor. The texture is also dense and solid compared to traditional cakes.
Unbaked Flourless Cake
The cake is not baked and usually chilled and unmolded before serving. Majority of unbaked flourless cake contains gelatin and whipped cream/ egg whites. Typical examples of unbaked flourless cake are Mousse Cake and unbaked cheesecake. For unbaked cheesecake, please refer to my previous blog about Most Common Types of Cheesecake. Mousse Cake has a light and silky creamy texture but yet very rich in flavor. It is always recommended as a good finishing over a romantic candle-lit dinner.
Opera Cake is a French cake. The cake has many layers and is rich in flavor. The layer of sponge cake is soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffee French buttercream. Finally,it is topped by a chocolate glaze, making it so elegant and irresistible.
Made with dried fruits soaked in black tea, spirits or brandy is the signature ingredients of this cake. When incorporated with nuts, you can taste the sweetness of the fruits, crunchiness of the buts and at the same time a dash of beautiful brandy. Fruit cake is considered a holy cake as it is something not to miss during weddings and Christmas celebrations.
Well, I am sure the above are not an exhaustive list of cake types. However, I also assure you that you are not very far from picking something you like on the menu.