On this page...
Cake always gives people the feeling of being light and delicate, melting in the mouth, and exuding a lazy and comfortable atmosphere.
As a senior literary and artistic young man (or a fashionable old man), how can you have afternoon tea without a piece of soft and delicious cake? Cake has always been the most popular dessert.
From the classic pound cake to the popular half-cooked cheesecake, I don’t know how many foodies have conquered the taste buds.
However, just being able to eat cakes can only satisfy the pleasure of our appetite. Learning to make cakes is a skill that is full of skills.
When you put the carefully prepared batter into the oven, and after a series of wonderful chemical reactions, a fragrant cake finally comes out of the oven, and the instant sense of accomplishment is overwhelming.
This article is for Make a Cake from Scratch - easy and simplest recipes to follow, I can guarantee that if you learn these basic contents, you can basically achieve the highest level of "having no knowledge in your hands but knowing it in your heart".
So, how easy is it to learn how to make cakes? Let me tell you slowly.
Related Topics: Best CookBooks
- 15 Best Baking Cookbooks for Teens & Young Adults
- Top 15 Best Cookie Cookbooks
- The 10 Best Baking Cookbooks for Beginners to Read
- 15 Best Bread Cookbooks of All Time
- 20 Best Cake and Pastry Cookbooks for 2023
- Make a Cake from Scratch | easy and simplest recipes to follow
- 46 Best-selling cookbooks of all time for your kitchen
If classified according to the proportion of fat used in the raw materials, cakes can be divided into high-fat cakes and low-fat cakes.
However, the main ingredients of cakes are generally eggs and flour, and there are different types of fats, so classifying them in this way is not friendly to novices and can easily confuse them.
I think it would be more reasonable to classify cakes according to their expansion methods. We can divide cakes into three types: beaten eggs, whipped butter, and using rising agents. However, some cakes do not use any of the above three methods.
To make, such as Financier, Brownie, etc., this is because there is a fourth way of expansion, which is water vapor.
All cake batters contain water, which when heated evaporates and turns into gas, allowing the cake to rise. In addition, some cakes use multiple expansion methods at the same time.
For example, baking powder is added to some chiffon and sponge cake recipes. At this time, we need to distinguish which one is the main one and which one is the auxiliary one.
The most common whipped egg cakes are chiffon, angel cake, and sponge cake. Because the texture required for the finished cake is different, the method and degree of whipping are also different.
Chiffon cake needs to beat egg whites to dry foam, angel cake needs to beat egg whites to wet foam, and sponge cake needs to beat whole eggs until the texture does not disappear.
The most classic whipped butter cake is the pound cake. This type of cake can also be collectively called butter cake.
All these cakes have one thing in common, which is to soften the butter to an appropriate level before whipping it.
The degree of whipping of butter is not as high as that of eggs, so the expansion of the cake will be smaller and the texture will be firmer than the latter.
The main raising agents used in cakes include baking soda and baking powder, while ammonium bicarbonate and yeast are rarely used.
For more information on dessert expansion, you can refer to my Do You Really Use Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Yeast Powder?
After reading this tutorial, you will immediately read this article, which details the principle and use of the expansion agent.
There are many types of cakes made by adding raising agents, such as madeleines, muffins, chocolate cakes, devil's cakes, etc.
Expanding agents are also very common in traditional Chinese pastries, such as hair cakes, honeycomb cakes, and jujube cakes, which all require the addition of expanding agents.
We all know that flour, eggs, fat, and sugar are the four basic ingredients for making cakes, but do you know what properties they have and what roles they play in cakes? You don’t have to rush to answer, let’s read on with questions.
Raw material properties
Cake raw materials can be divided into dry materials and wet materials according to moisture content, and can be divided into hard materials and soft materials according to structural properties.
Although it is uncomfortable to have so many proper nouns popping up all at once, don't worry, they are very easy to understand.
Students who often make bread, or students who often watch my bread tutorials, all know that dry materials refer to very dry solid materials.
Obviously, flour, sugar, milk powder, cocoa powder, nut powder, and the like are all dry materials, and they will absorb varying degrees of moisture when mixed with liquid.
Wet materials are also easy to understand, that is, liquids such as water, eggs, and milk.
Grease is a special type of raw material. It is insoluble in water and can be divided into solid and liquid.
Therefore, it cannot be classified as dry or wet materials, but we usually emulsify liquid oil into liquid.
The purpose of adding wet ingredients to cake ingredients is to fully dissolve and mix the dry ingredients so that the starch can absorb water and gelatinize, making the cake moist.
A proper ratio of dry ingredients to wet ingredients can give the cake batter the right consistency and bake a more successful cake.
Hard materials refer to materials that can support the structure of the cake. For example, a cake is like a house, and the hard materials are the steel and cement that support the house.
There are two main hard materials in cakes, eggs and flour. Because eggs contain a large amount of protein, when the protein is heated and solidified, it has a strong supporting force.
The main component of flour is starch. Starch will undergo a process from gelatinization to gelation after heating, and can also form a supporting structure.
Soft materials refer to raw materials that can soften the cake structure, such as grease, sugar, and raising agents.
The oil provides a greasy taste; the sugar has a good moisturizing ability and softens gluten; the expanding agent loosens the structure of protein and starch.
These soft materials can make the cake soft and delicate, and the oil and sugar can also prevent the cake from aging and decaying.
Hard materials and soft materials are complementary to each other, and they are indispensable.
If there are too many hard materials, the cake will be dense and the texture will not be soft enough; if there are too many soft materials, the cake will have insufficient support and will easily shrink and collapse.
Therefore, in terms of raw material ratio, there must be a reasonable mix of hard materials and soft materials.
|Cake making ingredients|
Usually, when we make desserts, we use the weight of flour as the reference ratio of all ingredients, which is the so-called baking percentage. The weight of flour is 100% to determine the percentage of other ingredients.
The advantage of this is that you can more intuitively know the specific weight of other raw materials, as well as the raw material ratio of the entire formula.
The flour used to make cakes is called cake flour, which is low-gluten flour. Its protein content is very low, generally less than 9.5%. You will see cornstarch used in some cake recipes.
Because it does not contain gluten protein, it is used in some cakes that emphasize loose texture, such as light cheesecake.
In other cakes, if you want to reduce the gluten, you can also use cornstarch mixed with cake flour.
The fresher the eggs used to make cakes, the better, because the protein of freshly-raised eggs is relatively sticky and is very suitable for whipping.
After a period of time, the thick albumen in the egg turns into watery albumen, the albumen becomes thinner, and the degree of foaming will also decrease. Eggshells are not as safe as you think.
They have many pores that allow air and microorganisms to enter freely, so it is best to keep them sealed and refrigerated.
There are differences in the size of different eggs. The weight of foreign eggs suitable for making cakes is usually between 50-70 grams.
Therefore, it is not rigorous enough to write down how many eggs to use in the recipe.
I usually use the total weight of all eggs or It is expressed by the weight of egg white and yolk, so that the content of eggs can be more accurately marked.
There are also pasteurized egg liquids or egg white powder and egg yolk powder on the market, but these are generally used for commercial baking.
I personally do not recommend these processed products for home baking because they are not fresh and the quality cannot be guaranteed.
The role of fat has been discussed before. Now let’s talk about the impact of different fats on the taste of cake. Cake made with butter has a solid texture but a prominent milky flavor.
Cakes made with liquid vegetable oil have a lighter texture, and there are many types to choose from.
If you need tasteless oil, you can choose corn oil, soybean oil, salad oil, etc.; if you need strong flavor, you can choose peanut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, etc.
Different fats and oils can emulsify to different degrees. Butter has a better emulsifying effect and can be well integrated into the liquid (provided it is properly softened); while vegetable oil needs to rely on egg yolks, light cream, and the like to fully emulsify. Emulsifier helps.
In addition, artificial shortening has very good whipping, crispiness, and emulsifying properties, but due to lack of flavor, poor mouth-melting properties, and unhealthy properties, it is rarely used in general home baking.
Cake batter has sufficient moisture and can dissolve coarser granulated sugar, so there are many sugars to choose from.
You can use granulated sugar, finely powdered sugar, brown sugar, brown sugar, syrup, etc.
The advantage of adding syrup is that it can make the cake more water-retaining and taste more moist.
Many Japanese cake recipes use syrups such as corn syrup (corn syrup) and honey for this purpose.
When making egg-based cakes, pay attention to the amount of sugar used, because sugar can stabilize the bubbles.
Dairy often goes well with cake. Ingredients such as milk, whipping cream, milk powder, cheese, condensed milk, yogurt, etc. can be added to the cake to give the cake a richer milky flavor and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. At the same time, these dairy products will contain emulsifiers such as casein, which can make the texture of the cake batter more uniform.
Adding fruit and vegetable powder or fruit and vegetable juice to cake ingredients can make the color of the cake more colorful.
Not to mention popular products such as matcha powder and cocoa powder, we can also add pumpkin puree to make pumpkin cake, add carrot juice to make an orange cake, spinach juice to make a green cake, etc.
These colorful cakes are also wonderful as baby food supplements. They are both attractive to children and nutritious and healthy.
Dried fruits and nuts can also be added to the cake, but pay attention to their size when adding them.
If the particles are too large, they will easily settle to the bottom of the batter and make the cake texture rough, so they should be chopped before adding.
Before adding some dry ingredients to the batter, soak them in water or liqueur and then dry them before adding them.
This can prevent these ingredients from absorbing the moisture in the cake, causing the cake to taste dry.
Raising agents are not the main ingredient in cakes, but they are still necessary in certain types of cakes, such as madeleines, muffins, etc.
However, the amount added must be strictly controlled. Excessive proportion will affect the taste of the cake.
If only baking soda is added as a rising agent to the cake, a certain amount of acidic material needs to be neutralized with it, otherwise, the cake will have an alkaline smell.
Common acidic materials include brown sugar, honey, yogurt, cocoa powder, chocolate, and fruit juice. wait.
In addition, if you want to have a more comprehensive understanding of baking ingredients, you can refer to my basic baking ingredients.
Usually, there are three main steps in the cake-making process, namely whipping, mixing, and baking.
If the cake only uses raising agents to help rise, then the whipping step can be omitted.
Beating here mainly refers to two categories, namely beaten eggs and beaten butter. Among them, beaten eggs are divided into beaten egg whites and beaten whole eggs.
Whether you are beating egg whites or whole eggs, you must add an appropriate amount of sugar to make the beaten bubbles more stable.
When making chiffon cake, you can refrigerate the egg whites before whipping them, so that the whipped egg whites are more stable.
When making sponge cake, raising the temperature of the whole egg liquid to about 40 degrees can make the whole eggs easier to whip.
|Whipped egg whites | Beat whole eggs|
When the eggs are whipped, mix the batter immediately, because the water will break away after being left for a long time.
This is caused by the water sinking under the influence of gravity, and the bubbles generated by the beating will be very easy to burst.
Although sugar has a certain ability to retain water, it cannot completely prevent this from happening.
To whip butter, you need to soften the butter first, but not completely melt it. You also need to add granulated sugar or powdered sugar.
Their function is to make it easier for air to fill the butter and stabilize the moisture in the butter.
The suitable room temperature for whipping butter is between 20-25 degrees. If the temperature is too low or too high, operate as soon as possible to avoid affecting the whipping state.
For more whipping techniques, you can refer to my whipping tutorials: Baking Basics: Whipped Egg Whites, Baking Basics: Whipped Whole Eggs, and Baking Basics: Whipped Butter.
Stirring the batter has two functions. One is to mix all the ingredients evenly, and the other is to adjust the batter to a suitable texture.
The cake batter should be mixed in one go. Pausing for too long in the middle will cause the batter to layer up and down.
Large particles will sink to the bottom, and light bubbles will float and burst, which is the so-called defoaming.
Therefore, the batter must be mixed in the shortest possible time and then sent to the oven for baking.
Stirring is usually accompanied by emulsification, and the most commonly used emulsifiers in cake batters are egg yolks and dairy products.
The order in which the ingredients are added is not static and often needs to be according to the requirements of the recipe.
However, flour is usually added last, which can reduce the number of times the flour is stirred and avoid the generation of excessive gluten.
In addition, using a "Z" stirring technique after adding flour can reduce the formation of gluten. Flour has the effect of stabilizing emulsions.
In some batters with a large amount of liquid, flour and liquid will be added alternately, so that the raw materials can be better mixed evenly.
Emulsification is to evenly mix water and oil that are originally immiscible. How is it done? Usually, a relatively small amount of one is broken into very small particles, dispersed in the other, and then the emulsifier is used to maintain its stability.
There are two types of emulsions, namely oil droplets in water and water droplets in oil.
Cake batters with low-fat ingredients are all in the form of oil droplets in water, while high-fat cakes like pound cake are formed in the form of water droplets in oil.
No matter which form is used, the more stable the particles are, the better the stability will be if they are stirred thoroughly, otherwise it will easily return to a state of mutual incompatibility.
If you want to mix the beaten eggs with other ingredients, you need to use the mixing technique.
In short, you turn the batter from the bottom to the top like stir-fry. Use a spatula instead of a manual egg beater, and turn over instead of stirring in circles to better prevent the batter from defoaming during mixing.
The baking process of batter in the oven can be divided into three stages, namely expansion, setting, and browning.
The oven needs to be fully preheated before the batter is put into the oven. When the batter enters the oven, the bubbles in the batter expand when heated, the water forms steam, and the expanding agent decomposes when heated to release carbon dioxide.
These three forms can cause the cake to expand. As long as the temperature is maintained, the cake will continue to rise for several minutes.
When the temperature in the batter reaches above 60 degrees, the protein begins to solidify, and the starch also begins to absorb a large amount of water and expand.
As the batter temperature continues to rise to 80 degrees, the protein is completely solidified, and the starch changes from gelatinization to thickening, and finally gelatinizes to form a solid.
These are the two hard materials mentioned earlier, which form the main structure to support the cake body so that the cake will not collapse.
Although the temperature inside the cake generally does not exceed 100 degrees, the temperature of the surface of the cake is more than 100 degrees.
Because the epidermis is heated to a relatively high degree, the water evaporates very quickly.
When the temperature reaches 120 degrees, a strong Maillard reaction begins on the surface of the batter.
This reaction is a reaction between carbonyl compounds and amino compounds, which turns the color of the ingredients brown, so it is also called a non-enzymatic browning reaction.
Carbonyl compounds mainly refer to reducing sugars such as glucose, fructose, maltose, etc.
Amino compounds mainly refer to amino acids and proteins. Therefore, when the sugar, eggs, and dairy products in the batter are increased, the reaction will be more violent, and the color of the cake will be darker.
|dark brown skin|
This stage of browning is usually only noticeable in the later stages of baking.
When the color of the cake begins to darken, it is time to pay attention to the time when taking out the cake.
Because each oven has different temperature differences, you cannot adjust the oven exactly to the temperature of the recipe.
Only by testing the temperature difference of your oven with an oven thermometer can you bake ingredients at a temperature closer to the recipe.
Generally, the baking temperature of cakes is between 160 degrees and 190 degrees.
If the temperature is too low, it will not be easy to bake the cake, and it will cause problems such as insufficient volume expansion and collapse; if the temperature is too high, the surface will be easily scorched or the cake will be damaged.
The cracking is obvious. The higher the oil and sugar content, the harder it is to bake.
At this time, the temperature should be lowered and the time should be increased for baking. The larger the cake, the longer it takes to bake. For example, an 8-inch cake usually takes about 10 minutes longer to bake than a 6-inch cake.
After the cake is baked, cool it according to the recipe instructions. Some cakes need to be inverted, some need to be unmoulded immediately, and some need to be refrigerated.
Cake with high oil and sugar content can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, while cake with low oil and sugar content needs to be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.
No matter what kind of cake, it should not be stored for a long time and should be enjoyed as soon as possible after baking.
Common Problem: Make a Cake from Scratch
1. Failed to pass eggs
Reason analysis: This situation is common when egg whites are beaten. Ensuring that there are no impurities in the egg whites and the amount of sugar added to the egg whites are the keys to successful whipping.
Solution: Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites thoroughly. Do not mix the egg yolks with the egg whites. The appropriate amount of added sugar is 40-50% of the weight of the egg whites.
2. The batter is easy to defoam when mixing.
- The egg whites are not beaten in place;
- The mixing technique is incorrect
1. The degree of whipping of egg whites depends on the type of cake, but at least it should be whipped to a wet foaming state with very fine bubbles so that the egg whites have a certain hardness;
2. In order to prevent the batter from defoaming, stirring is usually used. Techniques, different batter operation methods are also different, mainly based on the requirements of the recipe
3. The cake is undercooked or burnt
Cause analysis: It is generally caused by poor control of baking temperature and time.
Solution: First use an oven thermometer to test the temperature difference in your oven, and then set different temperatures and durations according to different cake types and volumes.
Chiffons are baked at a lower temperature and for a longer time, sponges and pound cakes are baked at intermediate temperatures and times, while small muffins and madeleines need to be baked at high temperatures and for a short time.
4. The cake collapses after coming out of the oven
- Insufficient baking time;
- No heat comes out of the oven
1. If you are afraid that the cake will burn, lower the baking temperature and increase the baking time;
2. The purpose of shaking the hot air when out of the oven is to allow the airtight bubbles in the cake to communicate with the outside air, which can slow down the volume shrinkage after cooling.
5. The structure of the finished product is not delicate
- The batter is not stirred in place;
- Defoaming during the stirring process or the batter is left standing for too long.
1. Don’t stir insufficiently because you’re afraid of gluten or defoaming. Stir the batter thoroughly to form a fine texture;
2. Master the correct mixing technique and don’t let the cake batter stand for a long time.
6. The cake tastes too dry and hard
- The amount of oil and sugar added is too little;
- The baking time is too long and the moisture is seriously lost;
- The cake defoaming is severe or the expansion agent fails.
1. Cake is inherently a dessert with high oil and sugar, so do not excessively reduce the amount of oil and sugar added;
2. Shorten the baking time appropriately;
3. Beat the eggs in place, avoid defoaming when stirring, and check before adding the expansion agent. Its effectiveness.
Summarize: Make a Cake from Scratch
Once you have mastered the properties of cake ingredients and the balance between them, as well as the three operational processes of making cakes: whipping, stirring, and baking, you have basically mastered cake making, but this is very important for your baking. For me, this is just the beginning.
Before I knew it, I had completed four tutorials on kneading dough, bread fermentation, biscuit basics, and cake basics. The chef's machine kneaded the dough and produced a glove film in minutes.
All the bread fermentation techniques you want to learn are here, starting with yeast.
Let’s start with the past and present life, and from being a novice to handmade biscuits, all you need is this biscuit secret book that has been lost for many years in the baking industry. I dare not say how much effort I put into it, but I wrote it very carefully.
Friends who know me well know that I am always meticulous when writing recipes (which is not good to be called long-winded), and sometimes I am afraid that doing so will make some friends lose their enthusiasm for reading.
It may be that I chose this stupid method because my ability is limited and I cannot sum up some issues very incisively.
This is also influenced by some Japanese baking books because their steps are so detailed.
In addition, I also agree with the German philosophy of "life is concrete". In short, it means using data to speak.
If you have read from the first basic tutorial to now, I think you have mastered a lot of basic knowledge about baking.
If you want to learn more in-depth, you can leave me a message and I will recommend several classic baking books to you. you.
Because compared with those real masters, I am just trying to do something in my class.
I think more about the problem from the perspective of home baking, and I also want more friends who want to get started with baking to start in the kitchen at home and show off their cooking skills.
Finally, I have spent a lot of time and energy writing detailed tutorials. I would like to ask you to do me a small favor. Like, forward, and follow me. Thank you very much for your support. I will continue to write more Good tutorials in return.
Discover literary treasures at ReadingAndThinking.com – your ultimate destination for insightful book recommendations and reviews!
Please Share These Resources with Colleagues, Friends, and Family.