The best cake baking recipes have a characteristic of light soft cakes, fine-textured breads, and tender cookies, which depends on the accurate mix of flour, liquid, leavening agents, fats, sugars, and flavors. We should know and learn about each ingredient and the role it performs in the cake baking recipes.
The flour provides the recipe base, It is the structure in making a cake. The gluten or protein in flour will merge to form a web that traps air bubbles and sets. And the starch in flour sets as it heats to add to and support the structure. In cakes, cookies, and quick breads, we want little gluten formation, which makes products tough. Fats and sugars help prevent gluten formation.
In most baked goods, all-purpose flour is the best and good choice, because it has less gluten than any flours.
The eggs add texture to the cake baking recipes, eggs are leavening agent and the yolks add fat and will create a tender and light texture. The yolks also act as an emulsifier for a smooth and even texture in the finished product. And the proteins contribute to the structure of the baked goods.
The fat will hold it all together, because fat will coat gluten molecules so they will not merge easily, and it will contribute to the finished product tenderness. Fats also carry flavors and add to a tender mouth-feel. In many cakes, fat also contributes to the fluffiness of the final product of cake baking recipes. When the sugar is creamed with fat, as a result, small pockets of air will form from the sharp edges of the crystals interacting with the fat. These pockets form a finer grain in the finished product. Commonly used baking fats include butter, shortening, and coconut oil.
Sugar is naturally sweet and will help to tenderize the cake baking recipes. The sugar adds sweetness, as well as contributing to the product’s browning. The sugar tenderizes a cake by preventing the gluten from forming. Sugar crystals cutting into solid fats like butter help form the structure of the product by making small holes which are filled with CO2 when the leavening agents react. Sugar also holds moisture in the finished product.
Salt adds flavor and weight in caking baking recipes. Salt enhances flavors and also strengthens the gluten and adds flavor.
The liquids will add leavening and tenderness. The liquid helps carry flavorings throughout the product, and it forms gluten bonds, and reacts with the starch in the protein for a strong but light structure. Liquids also contribute as steam during baking, acting as a leavening agent and contributing to the tenderness of the product.
Leavening agents like baking soda and baking powder will form carbon dioxide, that is held by fat pockets, gluten, and starch, which makes the baked product rise. When too much leavening agent is added, it will make the bubbles too big, then they will combine and burst, leading to a flat cake. And too little leavening agent is added; it will result in a heavy product, with soggy or damp layers. So in making baked goods we should know and learn the properties of each ingredient for us to follow cake baking recipes.
Here are some of simple cake baking recipes:
Simple Chocolate Cake recipe:
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
1/2 cup (120 ml) corn, vegetable, safflower
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (240 ml) warm water or coffee
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter
6 ounces (180 grams) semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar sifted
- In making a simple Chocolate Cake Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, two – 9 inch (23 cm) cake pans. Then line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. This will make the batter quite thin. Evenly divide the batter between the two pans and bake for about 27 – 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake just comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven carefully and let it cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from their pans and cool completely on a greased wire rack before frosting.
- In making the Chocolate frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy in about a minute. Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy in about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).
Classic Vanilla Cake recipe:
3 cups all-purpose flour (375g)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
4 eggs room temperature preferred
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 300g
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (113g)
½ cup canola oil* (120ml)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk room temperature preferred (300ml)
1 batch Chocolate Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350F (177C) and prepare two deep 8″ round cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly greasing the sides. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using an electric mixer) mix together the butter, canola oil and sugar until creamy and well-combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Using a spatula and gently hand-mixing, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined after each addition. The batter should be smooth and completely combined, and avoid over-mixing.
- Evenly divide batter into your prepared cake pans, and bake on 350F (175C) for 30-35 minutes. When the cake is done, the surface should spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean with few moist crumbs (no wet batter).
- Allow cakes to cool in their cake pans for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto the cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Frost cake using my chocolate frosting and decorate with sprinkles.