1 of 2
1
Ideal butter and sugar
Posted: 16 January 2013 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  339
Joined  2009-01-22

Hi all,

  I’ve been reading the information about ideal cake ingredients and conditions in TCB and I have a few questions about butter, sugar and batch size now.

1) Rose states that ingredients should be at room temperature and butter should be between 65F-75F. What will happen if the butter is too cold? If my butter is not warm enough, can I warm it in the microwave for a short time (as long as I don’t melt it) to bring it up to optimum temperature, or will it render the butter unusable for baking doing this?

2) Rose states that using a finer texture sugar for baking cakes and making meringues will yield the best results. I am curious if using a finer sugar will make a better mousseline buttercream? I know using a finer sugar will make a lighter meringue, but since it’s going to be combined with the hot syrup and butter for the end product, will it make a difference using a finer sugar? Also, how would using a finer sugar affect the consistency of the buttercream? If the meringue is lighter, will this make a softer buttercream in the end?

3) Rose says you can double the batch for butter cakes as long as you have enough pans to put the batter in right after it’s made. She also says that if there isn’t enough room in the oven to bake all the pans at once you can put the extra pans of batter in the refrigerator. Would the batter hold up in the refrigerator if it’s in cupcake pans instead of cake pans? Also, is there a problem making more than a double batch of batter (assuming your mixer can handle the volume of batter being made and volume of batter is not an issue)? I’ve made half sheet cakes before and although I haven’t done the math, I’m pretty sure the volume of batter was more than a double batch of the original recipe for two 9” pans and they turned out just fine, so I’m curious as to why the batch limit is double the original recipe.

Thanks,
MP

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2013 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1330
Joined  2008-09-27

“Rose states that ingredients should be at room temperature and butter should be between 65F-75F. What will happen if the butter is too cold? If my butter is not warm enough, can I warm it in the microwave for a short time (as long as I don?t melt it) to bring it up to optimum temperature, or will it render the butter unusable for baking doing this?”

If the butter is too warm, it will partially melt during mixing and won’t hold as much air, causing the cake to be denser.  The microwave can be used, but only on very low power; otherwise, it will melt the butter in spots. If you’re in a hurry, it’s better to beat the butter with a rolling pin, which will render it at the proper temperature within a minute or so. If you were using the creaming method, you can toss it into the bowl cold and beat it around for a few minutes before you add the sugar.

 Signature 

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

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2013 09:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  880
Joined  2009-05-25

Hi MP,

I’ve found a difference using the finer sugar in a meringue.  What I often do is use regular sugar for the Mouselline syrup, but use the superfine sugar for adding directly to the meringue (there’s usually a small amount).  I’ve sometimes made cupcakes and left sit out and they will dome more—some people prefer this way.  I’ve made the Baby Grands in two -12 cupcake pans and I’ve noticed a difference between the pan I’ve filled first (and left on counter until the 2nd one was filled) and the pan filled second.  The first rise more, so I can attest to this as well.  I’m not sure if it would matter as much for putting cupcakes in the fridge as even a few minutes seems to make a difference. 

Also, I don’t think doubling the batch is the limit…(if you check out the wedding cake section, there are recipes that are much larger than 2x a double recipe) but depending on how well a recipe is constructed and tested, some recipes do not work well for making large quantities because small errors in a recipe (that are otherwise not noticeable in small batches) can be exacerbated by increasing the quantity.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1148
Joined  2009-11-24
Sherrie - 17 January 2013 01:18 AM

Hi MP,

Also, I don’t think doubling the batch is the limit…(if you check out the wedding cake section, there are recipes that are much larger than 2x a double recipe) but depending on how well a recipe is constructed and tested, some recipes do not work well for making large quantities because small errors in a recipe (that are otherwise not noticeable in small batches) can be exacerbated by increasing the quantity.

Sherrie, that part about not noticeable in a small batch but in a large is good to know.

 Signature 

So many recipes - so little time.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1148
Joined  2009-11-24

Rose states that ingredients should be at room temperature and butter should be between 65F-75F. What will happen if the butter is too cold? If my butter is not warm enough, can I warm it in the microwave for a short time (as long as I don?t melt it) to bring it up to optimum temperature, or will it render the butter unusable for baking doing this?

In addition to what Charles suggested, you may also slice or cut the butter into smaller pats so it will reach the proper temp faster.

 Signature 

So many recipes - so little time.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1330
Joined  2008-09-27
Sherrie - 17 January 2013 01:18 AM

because small errors in a recipe…can be exacerbated by increasing the quantity.

Hmmm, I’m a bit skeptical of this. If there is a certain percentage error in a particular measurement, scaling the recipe by some number will keep the percentage error the same. Can you provide an example?

 Signature 

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

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4741
Joined  2008-04-16

I actually find that it’s harder to deal with smaller batches.  The smaller the batch, the more small errors (like not scraping a bowl, the margin of error on my scale, or rounding up or down to get to a volume measurement) can make a difference.  And don’t even get me started on fermentation and batch size…. !

I think Rose’s focus on small batch size (which I love as I don’t want to bake brownies in a half sheet pan) is one of the contributing factors to her career-long push to get bakers on board with weighing ingredients.

I know that axiom is out there- that you don’t want to somehow “compound” errors when you scale up a recipe- but I just haven’t found it to be true when going from small to big.  I run into it all the time, though, going from big to small.  I put it in the same category as “chilling cookies helps them hold their shape”- this is a widely held belief, but it just hasn’t borne out in my kitchen.

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  880
Joined  2009-05-25
CharlesT - 17 January 2013 04:38 AM
Sherrie - 17 January 2013 01:18 AM

because small errors in a recipe…can be exacerbated by increasing the quantity.

Hmmm, I’m a bit skeptical of this. If there is a certain percentage error in a particular measurement, scaling the recipe by some number will keep the percentage error the same. Can you provide an example?

I see your point Charles, as mathematically it doesn’t make sense.  I can attest to larger batches of chocolate chip cookies not working as nicely as my smaller ones…perhaps there are other contributing factors (I chill and keep the dough covered—so all of the dough is kept as close as possible to the same conditions).  Of course, situations with evaporation can also pose problems (which are not due to scaling directly)....I have had many problems scaling up the Caramel SMBC and I think it’s because of the evaporation of water when the cream is added.  It would be somewhat easily solved by measuring out how much caramel is made from a single batch and then boiling off the excess to achieve the scaled up quantity. 

I also agree, Julie with the small batch problem.  How much should I scrape out a bowl, etc…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1330
Joined  2008-09-27
Sherrie - 17 January 2013 04:06 PM

I can attest to larger batches of chocolate chip cookies not working as nicely as my smaller ones

I pretty much never do double batches of cookies, so I haven’t made the same observation. There might be, perhaps, an issue with gluten development in a large batch vs a smaller one for a given amount of mixing time. We don’t have the luxury of a windowpane test for cookies!  Can you quantity what you mean by “not working as nicely”?  Texture? flavor? shape?

 Signature 

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

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  880
Joined  2009-05-25

Hi Charles.  I would say they aren’t as chewy and a little flatter and somewhat drier.  I have a 7qt. mixer, so it can definitely handle the size.  Bit of a puzzle as I sometimes like to do a large batch for gatherings/etc.  Could be gluten (lack of chewiness)...I also wonder about hydration of the flour.  I haven’t played with the recipe too much as I don’t make double batches regularly.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  339
Joined  2009-01-22

Hey, thanks for all of your replies here, everyone. This is all very helpful. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my questions and sharing your experiences and advice. Now that I know this stuff I have some follow-up questions. Regarding space in the oven, I know that Rose recommends leaving enough space between pans so that air can circulate around them during the baking process, but I am wondering how using multiple levels in the oven affects the baking process. I don’t have my copy of TCB with me right now, but if I remember correctly I thought somewhere in there Rose recommends putting the baking rack in the middle of the oven (please correct me if I am wrong). If this is the case, what will happen if I have two baking racks in the oven with one slightly above the middle and the other slightly below the middle? The reason I ask is because I am wondering if I can put three 9” round pans on one and one or two cupcake pans on the other so I don’t have to put my pans of cupcakes in the fridge while baking my cakes. If I bake the round cakes and cupcakes at the same time, but still make sure there is enough space between the pans so air flow is not inhibited, will this adversely affect the overall baking process of both the cakes and cupcakes? If not, will it increase the amount of time they need to be baked since there will be so many items in there at the same time? Or, am I better off baking the three round cakes first, storing the pans of cupcakes in the fridge and then baking them after the cakes have finished baking? Thanks again for your time and help, folks. I’m very grateful.

- MP

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 January 2013 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  880
Joined  2009-05-25

Hi MP,

I have tried baking on two levels in my oven and I have been disappointed with the results—I don’t like taking cake pans and moving them around while baking (for instance 2 -9” rounds and 2 -6” rounds at one time)—the oven door is open far too long, IMO and even when I’ve done it, it doesn’t always work out well.  Not only that, I’ve punched thumbs into the batter moving cakes and so I only bake on one level anymore.  I found baking times were longer and sometimes were not browned evenly (either on bottom or top).  Perhaps it’s my oven, but I’ve resolved to bake only on one level at a time—and I’ve done this for wedding cakes that have required a total of 2-6”, 2-9”, and 2-12” rounds plus another 2 - 12” rounds and a 2-9” round cake.  I actually go through the trouble to ensure that I only bake on one level but I have been happier with the results.  The cakes are risen more evenly (consistent height) and have had nice browning and similar crumb this way.  I usually whip up the next batch of batter while the cakes are baking so it’s definitely not the most efficient, but I get consistent results.  I’m curious to know what other bakers do.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 January 2013 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4741
Joined  2008-04-16

Sherrie, my experience has been the same as yours:  cakes or cupcakes baked on more than one layer do have noticeable flaws.  Sometimes I choose to do it anyway, and like you I end up with a cupcake or cake with a dent from the hot pads and rotating.  But it’s worse if I don’t rotate, because the cupcakes don’t rise and brown properly.

MP, it’s the cake, rather than the rack, that is supposed to be in the middle of the oven, the rack should be just below the middle.

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 January 2013 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3128
Joined  2010-04-25

Hi, all!

I also only bake on one level.  I am always paranoid of jiggling the cake too much, so I agree with Sherrie & Julie—the oven door is open way to long to be able to do this slowly and carefully.

I can bake three 8” rounds on one level, but for 9”, I’d rather leave one layer out and have a little dome on it.

Frankly, I generally don’t even turn my cakes because I hate having the door opening and moving them.  That said, when I do, after closing the oven door, I increase the temp by 15 degrees for about 5 minutes to get the heat back up.

—ak

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 January 2013 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  339
Joined  2009-01-22
Sherrie - 17 January 2013 11:52 PM

Hi MP,

I have tried baking on two levels in my oven and I have been disappointed with the results—I don’t like taking cake pans and moving them around while baking (for instance 2 -9” rounds and 2 -6” rounds at one time)—the oven door is open far too long, IMO and even when I’ve done it, it doesn’t always work out well.  Not only that, I’ve punched thumbs into the batter moving cakes and so I only bake on one level anymore.  I found baking times were longer and sometimes were not browned evenly (either on bottom or top).  Perhaps it’s my oven, but I’ve resolved to bake only on one level at a time—and I’ve done this for wedding cakes that have required a total of 2-6”, 2-9”, and 2-12” rounds plus another 2 - 12” rounds and a 2-9” round cake.  I actually go through the trouble to ensure that I only bake on one level but I have been happier with the results.  The cakes are risen more evenly (consistent height) and have had nice browning and similar crumb this way.  I usually whip up the next batch of batter while the cakes are baking so it’s definitely not the most efficient, but I get consistent results.  I’m curious to know what other bakers do.

Sherrie, the issues you have discussed here are exactly the things I was concerned with if I were to use multiple racks, so I am definitely going to use one rack at a time. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It really helps.

Julie - 18 January 2013 12:23 PM

MP, it’s the cake, rather than the rack, that is supposed to be in the middle of the oven, the rack should be just below the middle.

Thank you for clearing that up for me, Julie. For some reason I thought it was the rack that was supposed to be in the middle. It’s nice to know it should be the cake pan before I do the cakes tomorrow.

Anne in NC - 18 January 2013 03:11 PM

Hi, all!

I also only bake on one level.  I am always paranoid of jiggling the cake too much, so I agree with Sherrie & Julie—the oven door is open way to long to be able to do this slowly and carefully.

I can bake three 8” rounds on one level, but for 9”, I’d rather leave one layer out and have a little dome on it.

Frankly, I generally don’t even turn my cakes because I hate having the door opening and moving them.  That said, when I do, after closing the oven door, I increase the temp by 15 degrees for about 5 minutes to get the heat back up.

—ak

Thanks for sharing this, Anne. I’m curious why you feel comfortable baking three 8” cakes, but not three 9” cakes. Is it just a matter of space in the oven?

It’s been a while since I’ve made three cake layers at once and I don’t remember having any troubles when I did it, but after reading Rose’s thesis, the information in TCB and watching some of her videos on the youtube, I’m more confused than ever. Perhaps I’m over thinking things here because I haven’t thought about these things in the past and with the exception of a few cakes (they were large cakes and I think the conditions in my house weren’t the best for baking at the time), I haven’t had any problems with any of my previous cakes. Anyway, thanks for all of your input here. I appreciate the help.

- MP

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2013 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3128
Joined  2010-04-25

Hi, MP!

Yes, I can fit three 8” layers on one rack, but I can’t quite squeeze in three 9” layers and feel comfortable about the circulation, so it’s a space thing.

If it’s at all helpful, a recipe for two 9” layers will usually make three 8” layers perfectly.  Technically, I think three 8” layers require a hair more batter (about 15%) if using 8x2 or a hair less (about 10%) if using 8 x 1.5—which is what I have—but I usually don’t adjust for it.  I do increase BP by 1/8 tsp. per 9” layer of batter to get flatter 8” layers, though.

That said, you can, basically, just pour two 9” layers of batter into three 8” layers and happily go about your business, possibly having to trim slightly-domed tops.

Happy day!

—ak

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
Back to top