can I add flavors to a scratch white cake recipe without ruining the texture and recipe?
Posted: 09 May 2013 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have a scratch white cake recipe that I have finally mastered and I love. It took me a LONG time to finally get this recipe just right. Many months of baking BAD cakes throwing them out reading forums like this for advice ... more testing ... more trying…more baking and finally I have a cake I think my Grandma would be proud of. Now that I have my go to white cake recipe mastered I am wondering if I can add things like fresh lemon or strawberry puree to the cake batter to make different flavored cakes. I have a sneaky suspicion from everything Ive read and all the research Ive done on what makes a perfect cake that by adding in this extra liquid or sugar it would throw off the balance of my cake ingredients and ruin its perfect velvety texture and density.
Does anyone have any experience or expertise that they would be willing to share on this matter. I really want to bake other flavors than just vanilla but I want to do it right. I have also seen people add in coffee, raspberry, carmel and other flavor liqueurs/  syrups
Can these be added to a white cake batter without issue of messing up the recipe?
Thanks so much for help. Im still learning a lot about scratch baking. My biggest regret is not asking more questions or paying attention to my grandma when she was alive because she was a fabulous baker!! I may never be that great or understand all the science behind it like some of you but I am bound and determined to bake from scratch and not use a doctored up mix.
Thanks again!!

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Posted: 09 May 2013 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Any puree will likely compromise the texture. However, you can probably take the juice and reduce it down on the stove, and substitute that for part of the liquid without any ill effects.

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Posted: 09 May 2013 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Substitutions need to be accounted for.  For instance, if you add 100g of strawberry puree, you need to look up strawberries on the USDA website and see how much fiber, sugar and water they contain.  Then you reduce the flour, milk and sugar accordingly, so that you still have the same quantity of liquid, flour/fiber, sugar, etc.  Then after that, sometimes there are effects from pH and/or a change in the degree of saturation of fats, it can be a lot to deal with.

For what it’s worth, I tried to make a strawberry cake from scratch a number of years back, with a number of different substitutions, and in the end nothing was as delicious as a classic white or yellow layer cake sandwiched with fresh strawberry puree as a filling.  It was very difficult to get much strawberry flavor into the cake, while the puree as a filling packed loads of flavor. 

Things like extracts or zest are easy to add without worry, instant coffee shouldn’t be a problem.  But lemon juice might require some baking soda to get the batter to set at the right point in the baking process, and the soda will neutralize the juice so that it doesn’t taste so bright and lemony, so the solution is to syrup the cake after baking with the juice so it remains fresh and bright.

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Posted: 09 May 2013 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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So glad you appreciate the value of scratch baking.

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 18 June 2014 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve been toying with the same ideas… but for kids’ cupcakes. So I was thinking of adding (brace yourself!) some pkgs of powdered Cherry/raspberry Kool-Aide mix. Of course again - it will alter the Ph and could spell disaster, but for kids I bet the flavour would be fine. So I’d need to add soda to neutralize the extra acid?

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Posted: 28 June 2014 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Those mixes have a lot of sugar, right?  If so, they probably won’t be too acidic or need baking soda.  But there are a lot of ingredients in packaged mixes, hard to know how it will all react.  Test cake in order smile

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Posted: 28 June 2014 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Julie - 28 June 2014 01:33 PM

Those mixes have a lot of sugar, right?  If so, they probably won’t be too acidic or need baking soda.

Julie:

To my knowledge, sugar doesn’t neutralize an acid, only makes it taste less acidic. I would think the batter would still have whatever baking issues accrue to acidic batters, even if it didn’t taste that way.

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Posted: 30 June 2014 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The KoolAid mix I buy does not have any sugar added to it. Just fake flavourings colours and probably lots of citric acid. When I try one I’ll let you know. smile

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Posted: 20 July 2014 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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CharlesT - 28 June 2014 02:22 PM

To my knowledge, sugar doesn’t neutralize an acid, only makes it taste less acidic. I would think the batter would still have whatever baking issues accrue to acidic batters, even if it didn’t taste that way.

Looks like I’d better do a bit of testing myself!  Thanks for pointing that out smile

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