A. Make a Plain Cake.
Use one-eighth of the following proportions:
Liquid (Milk or water)
Add a few grains of salt and a few drops of flavoring.
Half the class mix as in (1), the other half as in (2). Compare the appearance of batters before baking and of cakes after baking. Which method of mixing takes less time? Bake cake at 385° F, in greased pans only two-thirds full, until it shrinks away from the sides of the pan and springs back into place when gently pressed on top with the finger.
1. Cream the butter, adding the sugar gradually, until the two are as well mixed as possible. Add the beaten yolks of eggs, and then alternately liquid and flour sifted with the baking powder. Finally, fold in the stiffly beaten whites. 2. Put the sugar in a bowl and pour in the liquid. Stir and let stand, while you separate and beat the eggs. Add the beaten yolks and the butter melted. Gradually stir in the flour sifted with the baking powder and finally fold in the stiffly beaten whites as before.
Frost cake with uncooked frosting, I or II, using one-fourth the amounts.
Without egg 1 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. liquid water milk cream orange juice etc.
1 tbsp. lemon juice
With egg 1 c. powdered sugar 1 egg white 1 tsp. flavoring
Beat with a spoon till mixture begins to thicken.
C. Class Experiment.
1. Compare bread flour and pastry flour: a. Color.
c. Packing in hand when pressed.
3. Fill a cup with pastry flour. Sift and remeas-ure. Continue sifting as long as there is any increase in volume. How many times is it worth while to sift flour for cake?
4. Wash out the gluten from equal weights of the two flours and compare the amounts obtained. (Add water gradually to make a dough ball which can be handled. Knead in the palm of the hand under running water or in a bowl, until all of the starch has been removed. How can this be tested? Bake a small portion in a hot oven as for pop-overs.)
At first glance there seems to be an almost endless variety of recipes for cake. Even omitting flavorings as variations, there are still plain cakes, and rich cakes, differing in the amount of egg, sugar, and butter used, until one almost concludes that any proportions will do. But on further analysis certain fundamental facts can be distinguished.
Take, first, the proportion of liquid to flour. Whether the butter is melted in mixing or not, it melts in the oven and then counts as liquid. The fat, then, as well as the liquid, must be counted. If a richer cake is desired than the one made in the laboratory, the amount of butter can be increased if the amount of liquid is correspondingly decreased. For example, good cake can be made with three-quarters of a cup of butter and three-quarters of a cup of liquid, or with a cup of butter and a half of a cup of liquid. In any of these cases the sum of the two is still one and a half cups. In "pound cake" the whole amount is butter, and no liquid proper is used. Eggs, on the other band, while they increase the liquid before baking, do not count as liquid after heat is applied. The sponge cake recipe would call for eighteen eggs to three cups of flour, with three tablespoons of lemon juice.
Notice the very large number of eggs necessary when so little liquid is used. In pound cake the proportions for three cups of flour would be only seven and a half eggs because of the butter used.
Sugar makes the cake more crumbly as more and more is added, and increases the size and the lightness, but, meanwhile, the crust becomes sticky and tough, and the cake sweeter and sweeter. The amount of sugar in the general recipe may be increased to two cups if one likes a sweeter cake. If chocolate is added, the larger amount of sugar is desirable.
The leavening in a cake of the type that is being discussed, is mainly the gas from the baking powder, and a skilled cakemaker can get good results without beating the egg separately. But in pound and sponge cake where no baking powder is used, great pains in folding in the egg must be taken, and one sees why nearly twice as many eggs for the same amount of flour are used.
If one is making a butter cake the great question is in regard to mixing. The problem seems to resolve itself into the easiest way to get the ingredients blended very thoroughly. Hard butter is difficult to mix, also unbeaten egg. If the butter and sugar are not well creamed, the grain of the cake is coarse. On the other hand, the butter may be melted and successfully combined. Since beating flour with liquid develops the gluten and so makes the cake tougher, this should be avoided as far as possible. For this reason the melted butter is better beaten in before adding the flour, instead of afterwards. Melting the butter saves much time. It is especially convenient in making chocolate cake, for the chocolate can be melted with the butter.
1. Why is pastry flour desirable in making cake?
2. Account for the rule : If bread flour is used in place of pastry flour take out two tablespoons for each cup of flour called for in the recipe.
3. In making cake what would be the effect of using bread flour mixed with a little cornstarch, say half a cup of cornstarch to two cups of flour?
4. What ingredients are changed in making a muffin mixture into a cake mixture?
5. Change various recipes for cake to a three-cups-of-flour basis, and see how the ingredients called for correspond to the general rule.