Although the cake is one of the most versatile recipes in the confectionery (and practically every home has its own formulas), some technical care can help you improve your recipes or clarify why something is going wrong.
To begin with, the success of every recipe depends on the quality of the ingredients used. We often replicate recipes and they have different results. This is because the ingredients can vary from one brand to another. When buying them, have the habit of reading the packaging (in fact, I already wrote a post about the importance of reading labels – if you haven’t, click here).
During the purchase, keep an eye on the amount of protein it has. The more protein the flour contains, the better it is for structuring breads; the less protein, the better for making cakes light.
The gliadin and glutenin proteins in flour are the gluten-forming proteins. In a hydrated medium, they develop elasticity and retraction through mechanical action (using their arms to stir the dough, for example). So if you beat a dough too much after adding the flour, it tends to get heavy and can result in a drier, harder cake.
CHOCOLATE AND CHEESECAKE CAKE
In a cake recipe, when dry and liquid are added separately, one of the purposes is to decrease the mechanical action that would be necessary to make the dough homogeneous. If everything is previously mixed, you will need to stir just to combine the ingredients.
Sifting flour is always important to break up lumps and promote aeration. This process makes it hydrate much better, so the dough mixes faster.
TIP: Beware of very powerful mixers and high speeds when mixing flour. The secret here is to add the flour and mix with a spatula. My grandmother made cake using a plastic bowl and a wooden spoon and, I can guarantee, it was very soft. Think and work with care when it comes to flour.
Wheat flour with or without yeast?
Well, in confectionery we always work with “least edited” ingredients possible. Unfermented flour, unsalted butter, etc. That’s because we don’t know the exact quality and quantity of these extras in the products.
GROWTH: Chemical yeast, baking soda and egg whites
Sodium bicarbonate is one of the ingredients used in the composition of chemical yeasts. That is, by adding bicarbonate to a dough that already has yeast you will be intensifying the reactions of the bicarbonate.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a detail to be taken into account. Yeast and bicarbonate will favor the appearance of bubbles by chemical reaction and these bubbles will be expanded by heat when the cake is baking. That’s what makes the cake grow!
On the other hand, this addition reduces the acidity of the dough, making it alkaline (the consequence is a metallic taste at the end of the process). Do you know that very dark chocolate cake that tasted “ferrous”? It was too much yeast / baking soda. Well, this undesirable phenomenon is easier to happen in chocolate cakes because it is an ingredient already alkalized by the industry (with rare exceptions).
Already a citrus cake, which takes juice from acidic fruits like orange, passion fruit and lemon, the risk is much less of provoking the metallic flavor, since the dough has extra acidity. However, excess baking soda / yeast can compromise the desired citrus flavor.
Another tip for more cute and airy cakes is to add egg whites to the end of the preparation. The advantage of snow whites is that they do not chemically affect the taste of the dough like baking powder and baking soda.
As soon as the dough is ready to be baked, the chemical yeast begins to work and the snow whites are maintaining their structure. So no waiting for the oven to heat up, huh? Preheating is the number one rule for a well-made cake!
You may have seen someone sift sugar before adding it to the cake. This avoids larger grains of sugar in the dough – when undissolved, they will stop at the bottom of the mold and the result is more intense and unregulated caramelization. Mixing the sugar with the butter at the beginning of the preparation serves to dissolve the sugar beforehand.
- refined sugar is easier to dissolve, but does not structure the dough as well as crystal;
- demerara sugar tastes more intense and better retains moisture in the dough;
- brown sugar is the least processed, tastes like sugarcane molasses and contains more nutrients. In addition, it is a great option to enhance the flavor of chocolate in cakes.
- Want to know more about sugars? Click here and check out the full post!
BUTTER OR OIL?
If your cake is going to receive a cold filling and needs to be refrigerated, avoid opting for butter-based cakes. In the cold, it stiffens and the cake becomes harder. Cakes made with oil are more suitable for refrigerated preservation.
BOLO OREO BRÛLÉE – gluten-free / milk
Each cake is a collective action, from preparation to consumption. A cake brings together loved ones and invites them to talk about everyday life, about dreams. It is present in large celebrations and in the simplest moments. When a cake is made in peace, happy, it may be the simplest in the world, but it will certainly not only feed the body.
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