A Great Mistake
Jan 9, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
I'm sure that most of you who follow my recipes know how passionately I feel about the use of bleached flour for most cake baking, and how overjoyed I was when Kate Coldrick, in Devon England, worked out a way to heat-treat flour to enable it to work in a way very similar to bleached flour. Well by sheer accident I discovered a way to make unbleached flour more acceptable to me.
I was making a birthday cake for my stepdaughter Beth and chose my favorite new yellow cake in the new book "The Golden Lemon Almond." At the same time I was making hamburger buns, using unbleached all-purpose flour. After the cake was baking in the oven, I noticed that it appeared darker than usual and it hit me immediately: I had used the unbleached flour by mistake.
Unbleached flour is slightly higher in protein, which causes it to brown faster. The smooth flour particles do not emulsify the butter and sugar as well as the rougher particles produced by bleaching or heat-treating. After baking, the cake made with unbleached flour usually falls in the center. But the lucky thing with the cake I was making is that it had no center because it was baked in a tube pan.
I asked Woody to test two Golden Lemon Almond cakes side-by-side and here are the results: The cake with unbleached flour had an excellent crumb as you can see in this photo.
Though the crumb appears just as velvety as the cake made with bleached flour, it has a less tender melt in the mouth texture and less flavor. It is also 1/4 inch higher. But it's still a delicious cake. So the lesson here is that if you must use unbleached flour, a tube pan is the way to go!
Another important thing to note concerns the turbinado sugar called for in some of the recipes. Turbinado sugar contains only 1 percent molasses and is made by steam washing raw sugar which contains 3 percent molasses. The turbinado sugar I use is called Sugar in The Raw and is more blond in color and subtle in flavor than raw sugars produced by C & H and Florida Crystal which are more amber due to the higher amount of molasses.