I recently got The Cake Bible since I am working on my skills to be able to make a wedding cake in about a months time.
Since I live in Germany, the ingredients available here might be different (cream comes in 30% and 32% fat) and thus I am here to discuss what substitutions might work/why recipes fail for me.
First of all, I had to solve the “cake flour problem”. After researching on the internet, I came to the conclusion that “Cake Flour” has more starch and less protein than regular flour. Flour over here has 9.8 % protein, so I decided to mix it 50:50 with pure wheat starch (“wheat powder”).
In an attempt to do exactly as said, I measured out my ingredients for the White Velvet Butter Cake (page 46) and although the way of mixing them together looked different from what I’m used to, I followed the instructions. Despite mixing in the Eggs in four parts instead of the suggested three, the mixture curdled. Oh no. I attempted baking it nonetheless, but it ended up being horrible and pretty inedible.
I don’t usually give up easily. However, I had no time to go shopping again and my remaining ingredients would only make up half of the recipe. So I ditched Rose’s instruction and started combining the ingredients the way I am used to: cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs one tablespoon at a time (I measured the eggs out in a measuring cup with a spout), then add my flour+whear starch mixture, baking powder. When I tried adding the milk the recipe stated (a tablespoon first) the dough started to curdle slightly. Heck no! I was able to beat it all in (I usually scrape the sides last, using the bits on the side as an anti-curdling insurance) and decided to omit the milk (1/4 of the amount of milk required had gone in with the eggs, it’s the remaining 3/4 of milk amount that had to stay out).
After baking for a while longer than expected (I made only half the measure of ingredients and while the full amount is said to bake 25 to 30 minutes, this needed 40 minutes until a wooden skewer would come out clean), I ended up with a lovely little cake.
So I’m guessing the European milk may be the culprit. I got the milk yesterday, and only opened it for baking (when I took the ingredients from the fridge to warm up to room temperature).
pasteurized, homogenized, extended shelf life (not UHT, just HT)
3.3 % protein, 4.8% sugar
By the way, what exactly is meant by “lightly combine the egg whites..[...]”? I put my hand mixer in and out (for a second?), and my egg whites had already started to foam up. Is “lightly combining” bringing together with a fork?
Is Rose planning to publish a European version of the book? I measured out the egg-whites and instead of 4 1/2 large eggs, it only took me 3 1/2 medium eggs. In the pursuit of the perfect cake, I will continue to measure stuff out - thankfully, the margins of the book (and the paper!) are well suited for personal notes.
Thank you so much and happy baking!