When baking cakes six main ingredients are used.
Liquid and Eggs
These ingredients must be weighed and measured accurately to ensure:
· the recipe remains balanced
· a uniform product is obtained
· the correct yield is obtained
· faults are prevented.
Wheat is milled to produce flour. The main factor to be considered when choosing a flour for baked goods is the protein content. This protein is called gluten and is responsible for giving elasticity to the dough.
Flour is a major structural agent and has an important effect upon the characteristics of a baked product.
Properties of Flour
Fats and oils are highly refined extracted foods.
They may be of either plant or animal origin.
Types of Fats
Butter - Made by churning cream. Can be salted or unsalted. Is expensive. Gives a delicious flavour to cakes.
Margarine - Cheaper than butter. Made from oils. Coconut, cotton-seed, ground-nut, palm, palm-kernel, soya-bean and sunflower oils may be used. By law margarine must contain Vitamins A and D.
Cooking fats - Made from the same partially hardened oils as margarine.
Properties of Fats
Aeration - Creaming incorporates air into fat. A fat that has been creamed contains tiny bubbles of air, caster sugar helps this process. Soft tub margarines speed up the creaming process. The presence of a little water speeds up the creaming process and gives a lighter result, but may also sometimes alter the consistency!
Emulsifying - The ability to assist in the formation of a smooth clear batter.
Flavour - Depends on the type of fat used.
Eating quality - Provides added flavour depending on the type of fat used. Fats have a general effect on the eating quality (e.g. soft crumb)
Nutritional value - Provides the body with warmth and energy. Provides the body with vitamin A and vitamin C. Keeping qualities The emulsifying and enriching properties of fats help to extend the shelf life of a product.
Eggs are added to most cake mixtures.
Types of Eggs
The most commonly used are:
frozen egg white
dried egg white.
Properties of Eggs
Moisturising - Egg contains 74 per cent water. Egg has the ability to moisturise its own weight in flour.
Aeration - Whisked egg can incorporate air and increase in volume. It has the ability to aerate its own weight in flour.
Structural - Egg is distributed through the fabric of the mixture. When subject to heat it expands. The proteins coagulate and the structure is established.
Emulsifying - Egg yolk contains a natural emulsifying agent known as lecithin. This lecithin assists in the formation of a smooth, clear mixture.
Flavouring - Own characteristic flavour.
Colouring - Yellow colour. Egg whites alone give a white colour.
Eating qualities - Confers lightness, moisture and flavour to the keeping qualities.
Keeping qualities - Moisturising, emulsifying, enriching and general softening properties will extend the shelf the shelf life of the product.
Nutritional value - High levels of calories. Good source of protein and energy.
In order to make cakes rise and have a light texture, gas must be introduced. As the mixture heats, the gases expand, the mixture rises and the proteins coagulate, causing the mixture to set (if it is the correct consistency).
Raising agents may be mechanical or chemical.
Mechanical aeration relies on trapping air between the fine particles of the mixtures.
This is introduced by:
Creaming - Beating margarine or butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy.
Whisking - Beating eggs and sugar together until the volume has increased.
Sieving - is used to aerate the flour and dry ingredients.
Beating - Beating egg into fat and flour sugar mixtures results in air being incorporated. Both yolk (to a slight degree) and the white (to a greater degree) can hold air bubbles in a foam.
Carbon dioxide is produced in mixtures by using:
Bicarbonate of Soda - Only used in strongly flavoured cakes e.g. gingerbreads.
Bicarbonate of Soda with Cream of Tartar - produces baking powder
Self-raising flour - Useful for plain cakes. Contains too much raising agent for rich cakes.
Sugars and Syrups
Caster sugar has small crystals which dissolve more easily and thus gives a smooth texture.
Granulated sugar has coarse crystals and is more suitable for cakes using the melting method. Has fine to coarse crystals.
Brown sugar adds colour and flavour to dark cakes.
Icing sugar is a fine powder. Mainly used for icings and decoration.
Glucose can be a powder, syrup or chips. Is used in jams, confectionary and icings.
Golden Syrup and Treacle can be used with sugar and gives a more moist cake with a closer texture.
Properties of Sugars and Syrups
Flavour - To sweeten the cakes.
Shortening - To dissolve into a syrup and soften the gluten in the flour during baking.
Lighten - To help trap air with fat during creaming so that cake rises. (Excess sugar causes the gluten to become too soft and this will cause collapse during baking.)
Colour - Caramelises in the heat of the oven to produce a brown crust.
Shelf life - Retains moisture and stops baked goods becoming dry.
Sugars and Syrups - Preparation for Use
Depends on the mixing methods
Can be sieved with the dry ingredients.
Can be dissolved in liquid prior to addition.
Fresh fruits add flavour, sweetness and moisture to a baked product.
Dried fruits, which are more commonly added to baked goods, add flavour, sweetness but less moisture.
Fruits must be dry to prevent them sinking to the bottom of the cake.
For example, the heavy syrup coating on some fruits such as cherries must be washed off and the fruit carefully dried.
Types of Fruit
Currants - Small black Corinth grape
Raisins - Grapes are stoned then dried. Some come from seedless grapes. Dessert raisins have stones left in them.
Sultanas - Dried white grapes. (Sulphur dioxide is used to retain colour).
Dates - Often packed in slabs. Used in cakes. Dessert varieties are lighter and softer.
Apricots - Used in cakes.
Nuts - Often added with fruit to cakes. Add flavour and give an open and crunchy texture.
Fruits - Preparation for use
Fresh fruit - Wash Peel Dry Remove stalks, stones and cores. Slice Chop Pulp
Dried - Wash Dry Remove any stalks, stones and cores. Soak, if necessary
Sugar preserved - Wash Dry Cut Chop
Proportion of Ingredients
Preparation of Ingredients
Control of Baking Process
Function of Ingredients
Protection During Baking
Large cakes e.g. rich fruit cake, take a long time to bake and therefore require protection from the heat.
The protection will ensure the interior is fully baked while an even crust is obtained.
The protection takes the form of lining the cake tin inside and out:
a) inside greaseproof or baking parchment paper may be used;
b) outside - card or thick paper should be secured around the outside of the tin.
Storage of Cakes
It is important that all cakes are stored correctly so that they can be enjoyed when they are still moist and fresh. As a general rule, everyday cakes should be stored in a cool, dry place for up to one week. Avoid warm, moist conditions, as this will encourage mould growth.
Storage of Madeira Cake Wrap the cake in greaseproof paper, then foil and store in a cool place until required. A Madeira cake must be used and eaten within five days. This cake will freeze successfully for up to three months.
Storage of Fruit Cakes This type of cake can be stored for considerably longer. Basically, the higher the fruit content then the longer the cake will store.
A Light Fruit Cake will store for up to four weeks. It must be totally cold before it is wrapped in greaseproof paper, then in foil or placed in a cake box, and stored in a cool place. A light fruit cake will freeze successfully for up to three months.
A Rich Fruit Cake will keep for up to three months and, in fact, the flavour will improve as the taste of each ingredient becomes less distinct and their flavours blend together.
Once baked this cake should be removed from the tin, but the lining paper should be left on the cake. This helps to keep the cake moist and also helps to protect the cake against getting knocked and having its shape spoiled.
Spoon over some alcohol when you remove the cake from the tin, as this will add to the flavour and keeping qualities of the cake. Make some holes with a skewer and pour on a 15 ml spoon of alcohol. Brandy or rum is best as it sweetens and flavours. Care must be taken not to add too much alcohol as this will make the cake wet and difficult to handle.
Wrap the cake in one or two layers of greaseproof paper then wrap it in a tea towel, or in brown paper, or at this stage you can use aluminium foil. *Place the wrapped cake in a box or cupboard until required.
Do not store it in a plastic container as this encourages mould growth.
Avoid using cling film as this makes the cake sweat.
Aluminium foil must not come into contact with the cake as the natural acids in the fruit will eat through the foil.
Once a fruit cake has been covered with marzipan and iced it will keep longer.
Iced fruit cakes need to be stored in cardboard boxes in a warm, dry atmosphere to keep them dust free and in good condition. Damp and cold cause the icing to stain and colourings to run.
Do not freeze rich fruit cakes as the freezing stops the maturing of the flavours in the cake.
Swiss roll sponges need to be eaten on the day they are baked otherwise they become dry in texture.