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Pound Cake Proportions
 Posted: 24 March 2013 06:29 PM [ Ignore ]
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Hi,
I am new to Rose’s books having just purchased the Cake Bible, but am very excited to be beginning my journey of exploration of her work.
I admit to being a bit stumped, however, with the very first recipe. Depending upon which of the units one works with, the proportions of the cake seem very different.
I am training to be a chef in London, England, live in Canada and did live for many years in New York, so feel comfortable with any and all ways of measuring. For my own curiosity I was checking back and forth between the gram and cup/tbs measurements (and yes, I know it’s important not to not mix the two:-). Everything tallies quite well except the flour and sugar measurements. The 150 grams of flour translates to 1 cup of flour, not 1 1/2 cups, and the 150 grams sugar translates to more than 3/4 cup (which is only 120 grams). Reading on further Rose speaks about starting with equal weights of flour, sugar and butter but increasing the butter in her recipe, so I am going to make it this afternoon using 150 grams of each flour and sugar and see how that works. But is anybody aware of this difference between the two sets of measurements and whether there is a mistake in one of them?
I could not find it in the errors and errata section.
I would appreciate any guidance on this as I really want to explore (accurately) all that Rose has to offer!
Sue

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 Posted: 24 March 2013 07:16 PM [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I suspect I am answering my own question here….
I think the difference is explained by the difference in the volume and weight of sifted versus unsifted flour—which is quite considerable, as you can see from Rose’s tables towards the back of the cake bible. Using my Canadian Robin Hood Cake and Pastry flour, scooping and leveling 1 1/2 cups flour resulted in 194gms (all unsifted). After I sifted the flour, I scooped and leveled 1 1/2 cups and I was left with 51gms- pretty well the difference I was finding when weighing out for the cake. My ignorance was in not realizing the size of the difference sifted/non-sifted makes to volume. It’s huge! I re-weighed the sugar and 3/4 cup was 159 grams- just 9 grams of difference with the recipe. BUT, I have little tiny pouring scoops on my cup measures, and depending whether I scooped across them or in line with them, the ending amount was different again…...
I am SO glad Rose has written this book! Otherwise I can imagine the tedious path I might be treading…. I had no idea I was so anal!
Sue

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 Posted: 24 March 2013 07:45 PM [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome,
I think you did answer your own question. Rose uses weight to create her recipes and the volume measures are arithmetic conversions. As you found the volume measures are subject to variation due to method. If there is a discrepancy I always put weight on the weight.

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 Posted: 24 March 2013 09:05 PM [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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suecbrown - 24 March 2013 10:16 PM

I think the difference is explained by the difference in the volume and weight of sifted versus unsifted flour

Not only that, but the dip and sweep gives you more flour than spooning, regardless of whether you sift. One cup of all-purpose, unsifted, gives me 130 grams when I spoon and sweep.

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 Posted: 25 March 2013 07:20 PM [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I have just been reading Cook’s Illustrated new book “The Science of Cooking” (which I can highly recommend, by the way). They say they tested 18 of their professionally trained chefs, who used the dip and sweep method to measure 1 cup of flour. Amazingly, the weighed amounts varied by 13%! That’s a pretty large variability among experienced cooks. It all seems to depend upon the force of the dip….I think the message to take home here is that, especially for baking, weighing is indeed preferable. And, once I got used to it, I do like grams. You are dealing in whole numbers even for very small differences.
The Perfect Pound Cake turned out beautifully, by the way:) I put a lemon glaze on it (icing sugar let down with lemon juice and drizzled over while still warm). Yum.

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 Posted: 25 March 2013 09:00 PM [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I agree on “The Science of Cooking”. I avoided the book at first, thinking it yet another attempt by Cooks Illustrated to sell you the same recipes all over again, but while that’s true, organizing the book by science, rather than recipe, creates a useful product.

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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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