Newbie with a question
Posted: 06 December 2010 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all,
I’m new to the site and pretty much new to baking, but I have three of RLB’s books, and after a visit to my dad who is one of her biggest fans, I decided to give it a whirl. Frustrated because I don’t have all the equipment I need so am remedying that.

Here’s the first question and don’t laugh! How long does it take for refrigerated ingredients to come to room temperature? I read that you can speed the process for eggs by placing them in warm tap water for 2 minutes. Somehow I feel my baking will have to be on the weekend because after work there just won’t be time enough to get room temp, cake to cool for frosting, blah blah. On the other hand, I can’t wait to get started!

Second question: I’m a bit intimidated by some of the reviews of RLB’s books I’ve read on Amazon that complain that if you don’t follow all instructions to the letter, you will fail. Well of course I want to be as careful as possible but is there any leeway at all? If I WEIGH the ingredients and make sure about room temp, etc, and follow the instructions as well as I can, how far can I go wrong? I mean, how hard can it BE?? It’s not rocket science, but it IS scientific smile

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Posted: 06 December 2010 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome!  You’ll love the cakes you make from these books!

I think your analysis will ensure success—weighing, room temp, etc.  Of course, don’t weigh the tiny-amount ingredients like baking powder, salt and soda, as scales normally won’t be accurate at those amounts, so they’re best measured!

As for room temp, butter can take a while, I’ve found, and of course, it takes longer when it’s colder than warmer out.  I find it takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.  But if you’re in a hurry, unwrap it and slice it into tablespoons, and then it only takes about 20 minutes.  I take everything out when I take out the butter—I give everything an hour.  If you have an instant read thermometer, you can test the temp also.  For eggs, they say you can put them, in the shell, in a cup of warm water, and they’ll be room temp in about 5 minutes.

Sometimes recipes will not exactly fail, but they might not be perfect either.  I’ve gotten occasional cracks, slumped middles and things like that, but that’s what frosting is for, right?  They’ve always tasted wonderful!  As you go, you learn what causes these things, so you can hopefully avoid them going forward.  Of course, you may never encounter anything but perfect cakes!!!

I read the same stuff on Amazon.  Just follow the recipe without worry, and you’ll be fine.  People sometime sub this or that with great success, so there is definitely leeway—feel free to ask here if you’re planning a sub, and folks will give you their thoughts on it.  Some subs can change pH of the recipe, necessitating a change in leavening.  Others can change the protein/fat/etc ratio, necessitating an additional sub. 

So ask away!!!!!!  I sure do….

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Posted: 06 December 2010 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Indysusan! Welcome to the forum.

I ditto everything Anne said.

I was concerned about having ingredients at room temperature too but dicing the butter and putting the eggs in warm water is a huge help.

I take the sour cream, buttermilk, etc, out of the refrigerator at the same time too.

As for following the directions…all baking recipes need to be followed carefully. Rose’s techniques are actually easier than other recipes. 

After you make the first few cakes, you will see there is a pattern and outstanding baking is easily accomplished.

Good luck and please know we are all here for you.

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Posted: 06 December 2010 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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After you make the first few cakes, you will see there is a pattern and outstanding baking is easily accomplished.

Nicely stated, MJ!

Good luck and please know we are all here for you.

Another ditto, to which I would like to add…...and take pics and post in our Show ‘n’ Tell if you are so inclined!!!  Plain cakes, fancy cakes, pies, tarts, etc.—we love them all!

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Posted: 06 December 2010 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks Anne kiss

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Posted: 06 December 2010 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hello from a fellow newbie!  : )  Just want to add that even when I make a mistake…which is usually at least once per cake…it may not be what it is supposed to be, but they always turn out delicious!  I’ve found it a wonderful challenge to try to perfect her recipes.  I find I learn so much every time I screw up.  It took 5 times to get the classic genoise right.  Good luck!

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Posted: 06 December 2010 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Indysusan - 06 December 2010 05:35 PM

How long does it take for refrigerated ingredients to come to room temperature?

Buy an instant read thermometer, if you don’t own one.  It takes all the guesswork out of the equation.  I will sometimes zap the butter in the microwave to warm it quickly up to 60 degrees, or pop it in the freezer if it got a bit too warm.  With the thermometer, I can’t make a mistake.

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If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

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Posted: 07 December 2010 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Welcome!  Just follow the directions.  You are right, it isn’t rocket science.  I would start with the butter based cakes, like the ones at the beginning of the cake bible.  they are probably the easiest.  I’m sure you’ll do just fine!  Everyone has to start somewhere.

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Posted: 07 December 2010 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I would start with the butter based cakes, like the ones at the beginning of the cake bible.  they are probably the easiest.

And they are super-delicious!!!

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Posted: 09 December 2010 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Well I did make the golden buttercream cake yesterday (for my birthday) and it came out great! My oven may have had a temperature issue so next time I will set it a bit lower. (I did use a thermometer and compensated, but not enough, I think.) I used cake strips and it seemed to take the middle of the cake a very long time to get done.

I did cut my butter into large pats, but it still seemed to take longer than I thought it should (although it’s been VERY cold here this week) - I’ll try smaller pieces next time.

I think I have an instant read thermometer - if not will get one.

I definitely want a new scale. Mine is an older Polder model and it’s round. I was weighing using a piece of wax paper and the flour and sugar kept wantng to fall off. I think a square shape would work better. Also it kept turning itself off and when I’d turn it back on it switched back to ounces. As it was baking, I was really worried that I had forgotten to switch it back from ounces to grams!

Thanks for your encouragement, everyone!

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Posted: 09 December 2010 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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and I forgot to say that after I took it off the cooling rack I put it on two different plates before I found something that was flat enough for it- hence my little cake slumped a bit in the middle and cracked just a bit on one side but didn’t look bad once it was on something flat.

I need to get one of those cake mover things and a cake carrier with a snap on lid! ASAP!!

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Posted: 09 December 2010 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I need to get one of those

It has begun!  The famous 7 words of the new baking addict!!!!!

Congrats on your first cake!

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Posted: 10 December 2010 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Happy Birthday Indysusan

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Posted: 10 December 2010 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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CharlesT - 07 December 2010 03:33 AM
Indysusan - 06 December 2010 05:35 PM

How long does it take for refrigerated ingredients to come to room temperature?

Buy an instant read thermometer, if you don’t own one.  It takes all the guesswork out of the equation.  I will sometimes zap the butter in the microwave to warm it quickly up to 60 degrees, or pop it in the freezer if it got a bit too warm.  With the thermometer, I can’t make a mistake.

So true! I wouldn’t even attempt to bake anything I wanted to come out perfect without a thermometer or scale.  The batteries went on my thermometer the day before Thanksgiving..I now know the meaning of PANIC

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