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Old 07-27-2010, 12:29 PM   #1
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Baking Question

I love to bake and I want to be able to make a cake/cup cakes that are professional quality w/out being professional (if that makes sense) I want to make a cake that is moist and yummy but at the same time holds its form and doesn't crumble. Over the weekend I experimented with some ingredients - I used; Sugar, flour, butter, oil, baking powder, eggs since I was trying to make chocolate I used cocoa powder and semi-sweet Bakers chocolate - I didn't really care for the texture - So I tried again and instead of the oil I used apple sauce and left out the Bakers chocolate but added extra powder. The second time was pretty moist I suppose but they crumbled. Looking for any ideas to help

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Old 07-27-2010, 02:05 PM   #2
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Cakes, cupcakes, pancakes, banana breads, or desert bread, and muffins are very similar animals. They all rely on a basic ratio of ingredients to make them work. Here is the basic ratio that I use. I then modify accordingly to make the end product I want.

1 cup flour
1 large egg
3 tbs. double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbs. cooking oil
3/4 cup of liquid

Cakes and cupcake crumb is finer than is the crumb of a quickbread or muffin. This is achieved by using a flour with more starch and less protien - cake flour. Sweetness is obtained by adding sugar, brown sugar, Sucralose, Stevia, or a sweet syrup. If using a syrup, you have to adjust the amount of water added to account for the water in the syrup. If adding chocolate flavor, use a dutched chocolate. The dutching process removes acid from the cocoa, giving it a neutral PH. If your chocolate isn't dutched, then you have to add baking soda to counteract the acidity of the cocoa. Acidic fruits are the same.

The egg adds body, and along with the starch and water, glues the crumb together. Too much protien can make the end product rubbery. Think of angel food cake, or sponge cakes. They are more elastic because they have a lot of eggs in the recipe. Salt ballances out the sweetness, and awakens the taste buds to the more complex flavors in the cake. The oil, not the water, is what gives the cake its moist feel in the mouth. You can substitute fruit and fiber for the oil, but too much of either will make the cake gummy instead of moist. Oil content is easier to control.

Fro a standard batch of cupcakes, or a typical nine inch cake, you will need three cups of flour. And by the basic recipe, this means you will need three large eggs, 3/8 cup of oil, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 3 tbs. baking powder. Typically, you would add 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of sugar or equivalent sweetener and either 2 1/4 cups of milk or water. You can also substitute butter for oil. And most cakes, no matter what flavor, have a tsp of vanilla extract in them.

If you use all purpose flour instead of cake flour, it will still come out just fine, but not quite as delicate in crumb. The basic recipe is also great for making pancakes, with the addition of 2 tbs. sugar and 3/4 cup of milk.

Good luck to you. Try these tips and you are well on your way to making a host of cakes, cupcakes, quickbreads, pancakes, and other such great foods.

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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To get the cake to the texture you would like, I would experiment with the egg, butter and flour ratio. I like lots of butter in mine, to get the texture I want. Before adding the butter, melt it so it blends in easily with the other ingredients.

Also, be careful about oven temperature and how long you bake for, if you want the cake to be soft and moist. As soon as you see it turning slightly golden, turn off the oven and let it finish baking in the after heat. Too hot for too long will make the cake less moist and too crispy.

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Old 07-27-2010, 03:08 PM   #4
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I have problems understanding why so many people want to reinvent the wheel.

When I am looking for a great recipe, I generally start with one that's already been written. For cakes, that likely would be one from Rose Levy Beranbaum or Carole Walter. I make the recipe according to the directions. Then, I decide if or how I would like to alter it to meet the specific requirements of my assignment.

Sometimes that perfect result has already been created, and I am happy to acknowledge where it came from.
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Old 07-27-2010, 04:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ChefJune View Post
I have problems understanding why so many people want to reinvent the wheel. ...
Sometimes that perfect result has already been created, and I am happy to acknowledge where it came from.
I agree completely. It sometimes seems as though some people want to take a short cut rather than taking the time and making an honest effort to look up a tried and true recipe.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:59 PM   #6
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Thank you for the helpful replies - Honestly I am not trying to reinvent the wheel as some may think by reading my post. I just have not found a recipe that I actaully like and was looking for ideas of how to come up with what I was looking for. I do not take shortcuts when it come to my baking - I take the time and effort that is needed to make good quality treats for my family.
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:40 PM   #7
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i always use a recipe, then if i don't like it, i try to find one i do like. no reason to figure it out on my own.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:54 PM   #8
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I've just run into too many recipes that stated one thing and what happened was another, even if the recipe was good. I have always torn everything apart, ever since I could turn a wrench. And cooking is no different for me. I love to create new things, and need to understand why things work. This gives me the ability to use what I know to make new things. And I don't care if it's meat, or pastry, or soup, or a process. I need to understand it, and how I can make it do what I want it to do.

Yep, I love to re-invent the wheel. I know that everyone doesn't feel the same way. But I am just explaining why I do.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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