Order of mixing ingredients
Posted: 08 March 2013 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all! I’m starting to learn how to properly bake, and I’ve always used someone else’s recipes when making cakes.  But now I want to start making my own recipes, or at least learn what all of the ingredients do and how they affect the cake.  At the moment I’ve only been making a basic white cake.  My mom got me Rose’s Heavenly Cakes book for Christmas one year so I picked that up and started looking at a few of the recipes.  I noticed in a lot of the recipes she makes a liquid mixture with the eggs, flavoring and a portion of any extra liquid the cake requires.  Then she mixes the dry ingredients and adds the butter and remaining liquid to that, and then adds the egg mixture last. Up until now most cakes I’ve made with butter ask to mix the butter/sugar to start, add the flavoring, eggs, and incorporate the flour, extra liquid at the end.  Is there anyone that can explain what, if any differences there are between these two ways of combining ingredients?

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Posted: 08 March 2013 09:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You might check Shirley Corriher’s Bakewise out of the library, she discusses a little about the different effects of cake mixing methods. 

-The creaming method (cream butter and sugar first) produces cakes with the highest volume, but they are at risk of being too tough/firm in texture with even a little bit of overmixing. 

-Cakes mixed with Rose’s method (One-bowl or two-stage method), where the flour is coated with butter, have a denser, velvety texture that is quite tender and has a little extra insurance against overmixing. 

-Cakes mixed with the dissolved sugar method (sugar dissolved in hot liquid, butter added to melt) are the most dense, these are often English gingerbreads or choc guiness cakes.

-There are some other methods, like dumping everything in the bowl at once and stirrring, that produce pretty good results but can have a coarser or uneven texture.

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Posted: 08 March 2013 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Much of mixing theory focuses on when you introduce the liquid in relation to when you introduce the fat. The liquid promotes the development of gluten, which you want to minimize in a cake. The fat coats the flour particles and inhibits the development of gluten. Clearly you want some, but not too much.

The mystical “alternate dry and wet ingredients” that many recipes include is important, according to Cooks Illustrated tests, because the ingredients aren’t as thoroughly mixed if you do otherwise.

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Posted: 10 March 2013 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I first started baking from scratch using The Cake Bible and over time started to develop my own recipes. I think figuring out how all the ingredients interact with each other is fascinating. One book that has really helped me is called How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science. You can find it on Amazon, but you could probably check your local library too. Good luck!

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Jennifer Rao
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http://www.80cakes.com/CakeBlog/

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Posted: 10 March 2013 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks for all the responses!  I found a free PDF copy of How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science on the internet, and from scanning the contents, it seems to be pretty much what I’m looking for.  Thanks again!

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