Let's start with the ingredients. I have seen people asking questions as to what is this just because it is called something else in their place. I am not an expert about all the ingredients' names all over the world, but will share with all of you what I know.
- Flour - all purpose flour or Maida.
- Cake Flour - It is a mixture of all purpose flour and corn starch. It gives finer crumb texture compared to all purpose flour. Just put 2 TBSP of corn starch into 1 cup measuring cup and fill it with all purpose flour to get one cup of cake flour.
- Sugar - Depends on the recipe what kind of sugar is called for. White and light brown sugar are mainly used.
- Baking soda - Leavener. It is responsible for the rising and creating air pockets in the cake. Contributes to texture.
- Baking Powder - Same as Baking soda mixed with cream of tartar. This has double action. While baking soda aerates the moment it is mixed with liquid, baking powder does so in addition to raising when the temperature gets high (while baking).
- Liquid - Depends on the recipe. It could be buttermilk, milk, water, juice, coffee.
- Eggs - Mainly used for binding and in some cases, this is what is mainly used for leavening. Example angel food cake. Most of the recipe calls for large eggs, but unless the number of eggs is more than 4, it is okay to use medium eggs in its place or X-Large in its place. Doesn't make any difference. Also, 4 egg whites equals 3 whole eggs. So, if you just want to use the whites, you can and the texture won't be compromised.
- Flavoring - Vanilla, almond, butter extracts or any other extract called for in the recipe. Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg etc. also fall under this category.
- Fat - This could be butter, oil, shortening (same as dalda in India) or combination of these.
- Cocoa - Unsweetened in powder form or bar.
I won't talk a lot about baking because many people out there do know how to bake. It is pretty simple if you follow a good recipe and measure the ingredients properly. Some of the tips are, don't over mix the batter. Grease the pan well with home made release as I mentioned in my previous post of this series. Don't overfill the pans. Don't open the oven door before at least 3/4th of the suggested time is over. Use bake even strips for even rising. Tap the cake pan 10 times on the counter after filling the batter and before placing in the oven to break huge air bubbles. And always use paddle attachment of your mixer and not the whisk. Whisk is for whipping and incorporating air, not for making batters. Last, but not least preheat the oven at least 15 minutes before you place the pans in and invest in a good oven thermometer to ensure the temperature is what you have set it for.
Now comes the decorating lingo.
- Leveling - taking the dome part of the cake off so that it is flat.
- Torting - Splitting the cake in half height wise to make more layers.
- Filling - Filling with some kind of filling between the layers of cakes so that it looks pretty when sliced. This is the place where you can build your flavors. Example Banana cake with chocolate truffle filling frosted with caramel frosting. I think I gained 5 pounds just by writing about it.
- Frosting - Covering the top and sides of the cake with frosting like butter cream frosting, whipped frosting, ganache, cream cheese frosting.
There is absolutely no reason or rule to make your cake covered with smooth icing even though it is required if you want to make decorations. You can make swirls with the back of the spoon or make knife marks and make it pretty and keep it simple if you don't want to go for all the trouble of smoothing. But, if you decide to work hard and make smooth top on the cake, there are mainly two methods used.
- Hot spatula method - This works very well with non-crusting frosting. Dip the spatula that you are using for smoothing in hot water and dry it quickly. Run them to smooth the icing. Dip it again and repeat till you get the result you desired for.
- Smoothing with parchment paper - This works very well with crusting frosting. The ratio of fat to sugar is what makes a frosting crust or not crust. When I say crust, that means after a while of applying, if you touch it with your finger, it will not stick. Most of the wilton frosting recipes are crusting. After they are crusted, take a parchment paper, place it on the cake and smooth on the top of the parchment with your hands. Heat from your hands will melt the sugar, so be careful not to overdo. If needed, let it rest and crust again and repeat. The final touch up to this is by using Viva paper towel. That is the only paper towel with smooth surface. Place it on the cake (yes, directly) and smooth with a fondant smoother if you have and an expired credit card will do the trick too.
Thanks for reading and Happy Baking !! Pin It