First, let’s cover some groundwork material.
There are two basic types of cakes: those made with butter and those without. Butter cakes, as the name suggests, are made with butter or another fat creamed with sugars; however, other cakes employ liquid oils instead of butter. These oil-based cakes are typically made in a single mixing bowl.
Angel food cakes and sponge cakes are examples of those that don’t need butter. Leaveners in this recipe are eggs.
Cubic inch cups. Dry ingredients are measured using one set of cups, while liquids require a second set. A dry measure is preferable to a drink measuring cup when working with dry substances like flour and sugar. Dry measures are typically made of plastic or metal and are supposed to be filled and leveled off, whereas wet measures are the glass types with demarcations to show amounts. Spoons help measure both wet and dry ingredients.
Glass and metal are the two common materials for baking pans. Use a glass pan to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees. If your baking pans have discolored with age, you may need to increase the temperature accordingly. If so, the recipe should indicate as much; otherwise, I check for doneness about 5 minutes before the recommended time has elapsed.
If you need alternatives, I’ve included some below.
Cake flour — there are several varieties to choose from. Cake flour is a staple in many baking recipes. As a result, I missed out on some fantastic recipes when I first started cooking. Why? The truth is that I had only all-purpose flour on hand. I wish I’d known then that all it took to transform it into cake flour was a quick sift through a sieve. Take away two tablespoons of the all-purpose flour and sift it twice for every cup of flour called for. If you want to extend the shelf life of your flour, put it in the fridge. You may use the same canister as a bug repellent by placing a few bay leaves inside.
Be cautious to sift the flour before measuring to get an exact count. Combine with other dry ingredients and sift again. Check the package directions for your all-purpose flour to see whether additional leavening is required.
When using cornstarch as a thickener, two tablespoons of flour can be used instead of one tablespoon. This is also a standard in baking recipes. To thicken sauces, combine flour and fat and stir until the flour is evenly distributed and smooth. Pour in the liquid and keep going. But I’ll save that for another post.
Buttermilk is an essential ingredient in many dishes. You can make do with a cup of skim milk and a spoonful of either lemon juice or vinegar if you don’t have any other options. Please wait a few minutes before using it after resting. You could also use plain yogurt (1 cup) or whole milk (1 cup) + 1 3/4 tsp cream of tartar.
Half a cup of evaporated milk and half a cup of water are suitable substitutes for a cup of whole milk.
Substitute Honey Sugar with water equals 114 cups. You can use 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of liquid to replace 1 cup of corn syrup.
Fill a dry measure with sugar and then level it off.
For every 1-ounce square of baking chocolate, you can substitute three tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of butter or margarine.
Here are some other suggestions to help you get baking.
Pastries, such as cakes, cookies, and pies, require a moderate oven temperature between 325 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit and an average baking time. When a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, regardless of how moist the cake may look, the cake is made. A cake is made when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and springs back when lightly touched in the center. If you use a glass baking pan, drop the oven temperature by 25 degrees; for example, if the recipe asks for 350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake the cake at 325 degrees.
A cake baked excessively will be overcooked on the outside and possibly undercooked in the center. A black cake is impossible. Frosting doesn’t affect the visual appeal of a black cake, but it may alter the taste of some high-sugar cakes.
When baking, you must use fresh eggs. A fresh egg can be tested in cold water for a few minutes. New eggs always end up at the bottom. Toss the egg around the kitchen island. Eggs that aren’t fresh will wobble or won’t spin, while a good egg will spin smoothly. When a new egg is cracked open, and the contents are placed on a dish, the yolk will rise to the top of the whites. The yolk of an older egg will be flatter. Finally, check the date printed on the egg carton to ensure you get the freshest eggs possible. You should review the date on the carton of eggs before looking for cracks.
Oil, butter, margarine, or shortening. Cakes have typically been made with butter. Solid fats can be measured by submerging them in cold water. To make 1 cup of liquid fat, fill a measuring cup halfway with water and add the fat until the fluid level reads 1 cup, for example. Most cakes benefit from adding oil, but only vegetable oil should be used. While stick margarine is typically preferred, the whipped, more water- and air-laden varieties of margarine may not always yield the most outstanding results. Those sold in tubs are to be avoided at all costs.
Leavening – Yeast-leavened cakes are not very common. Therefore I will use baking powder and baking soda instead. Follow the instructions carefully; deviating from them may result in a collapsed cake. If you need to exclude one egg from a recipe, add 1/2 teaspoon more baking powder. Half a teaspoon of baking soda per cup of acidic liquid, such as buttermilk or cream, is recommended when using baking soda.
Flavorings – These liquids, typically employed as extracts, are better absorbed when combined with fats. Sift the flour and any dry spices you use, such as ginger or cinnamon, before using.
While this may seem like a lot to take in, remember that most recipes already account for these factors, so all you need to know to create the best cakes is how to use a decent cookbook.
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