Questions, pls help
Posted: 12 September 2008 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi,

1) Is vanilla extract the same as vanilla essence?

2) Some recipes uses unsalted butter and says to add some salt. Can’t we then use salted butter and leave out the salt?

3) If the ingredients are increased to make a bigger cake, do we increase the baking time in the same proportion? E.g. if we double the cake ingredients, do we double the bake time?

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Posted: 12 September 2008 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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1), sorry not sure on this one.  I have used fruit essences, which are steam-distilled instead of extracted in alcohol, but I’m not sure about vanilla essence.

2) Always use unsalted butter.  There are two big reasons, first, salt preserves the butter so the unsalted tends to be fresher and frequently better-tasting.  Second, there is no standard as to the amount of salt in the salted variety, so it is difficult to know how much salt you are adding to a recipe, it could be way too much or not nearly enough. 

3)  Most cake recipes need adjustment to increase structure if they will be baked in a larger pan, it is not always successful to just double the recipe.  Often this is accomplished by decreasing the baking powder (see section on Rose Factor in “The Cake Bible”).  Even if doubling did work, it would not be correct to double the baking time.  A 9” layer cake recipe increased for 10” layers might only need an additional 10 minutes.  A heat core and Cake Strips might also be needed, depending on the shape of the pan, to keep the edges from overbaking before the center is done.

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Posted: 12 September 2008 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I see Julie answered questions 2 and 3 perfectly.  To answer question number one, no, essence and extract are not the same.  It’s important to realize you can find both poor and excellent quality extracts and essence.  It always pays to get the best you can afford - you will taste the difference.

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Posted: 12 September 2008 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I swap out salted for unsalted when I am in a pinch, or don’t have any unsalted in the house.  I have seen some sources recommend 1/4 teaspoon salt in the swap, but I found that to be too much salt.  The following, using a mere 1/8 teaspoon salt, works for me.  I prefer unsalted, but I have used salted butter in a pinch in recipes calling for unsalted, just decrease the salt proportionately.


1 stick salted butter = 1 stick unsalted plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter = 1 stick salted minus 1/8 teaspoon salt in the recipe

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Posted: 12 September 2008 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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fyi salted butter in buttercream recipe results in an overwhelming butter flavor

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Posted: 12 September 2008 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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MrsM - 12 September 2008 08:23 PM

1 stick salted butter = 1 stick unsalted plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter = 1 stick salted minus 1/8 teaspoon salt in the recipe

This is a good approximation, but it’s not entirely accurate since there are no industry standards for the amount of salt each manufacturer adds to their salted butter.  If a person bakes frequently, it’s a great idea to stock up on unsalted butter which freezes beautifully.

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Posted: 14 September 2008 11:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Oooooo, check out the “Rose’s Vanilla Bible” post, which has popped up on the blog.  It appears that essence from one manufacturer has less alcohol than extract, which must have 35% alcohol by definition.  But there is so much more information than that in the posting, I’m loving it!

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Posted: 16 September 2008 12:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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In my eagerness to bake, I stocked up a few blocks of butter without checking whether they are salted or unsalted. I thought it doesn’t matter since the recipes I first saw didn’t state which type is desired. After that I saw recipes that requires unsalted butter but for now, I’m using the ones which I have bought. The cake taste alright to me probably because I am still an amateur. I’m learning so much from all of you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with me.

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Posted: 16 September 2008 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Veron - 16 September 2008 03:15 AM

In my eagerness to bake, I stocked up a few blocks of butter without checking whether they are salted or unsalted. I thought it doesn’t matter since the recipes I first saw didn’t state which type is desired. After that I saw recipes that requires unsalted butter but for now, I’m using the ones which I have bought. The cake taste alright to me probably because I am still an amateur. I’m learning so much from all of you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with me.

I’d say most recipes call for unsalted butter - this is especially true if the recipe also calls for salt as a separate ingredient.  A tad too much salt won’t be as obvious in a cake as it would be in buttercream.  Happy Baking!

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