In today’s world, no celebration is complete without a cake, be it a birthday or a wedding, a date night or an anniversary. In simple words, the cake has no reason and no season for consumption, but the history and development of the cake has a lot to give to the world of bakery and confectionery through its unique art. The mythological and scientific reasons for baking and consuming a cake are absolutely mind-boggling. In ancient Greece it was traditional to celebrate the birth of their gods and goddesses. And to celebrate the birth of the goddess Artemis, people baked a round cake in her honor, symbolizing the moon. The cake was decorated with lighted candles to make it shine like the moon. There are five basic methods of making a cake: the creaming method, the whisk method, the rubbing method, the melting method, and the all-in-one method. Each method yields a different variety of cakes with different textures.
In the creaming method, fat is beaten well with equipment or by hand until it turns white. Then sugar is gradually added to the fat to continue the creaming process. Sugar is added gradually as it affects the aeration process. Once adequate aeration is achieved, the fat and sugar form a homogeneous mixture with tiny air cells. Eggs are gradually added to this mixture in small batches, as adding everything at once will eventually curdle the mixture and separate fat from the mixture. Other liquids such as milk, essence, etc. are added at this stage. This is done to have enough moisture in the mixture to prevent the gluten from becoming chewy while the flour is being mixed.
The beating process is also known as the foaming process. With this method, the cake produced is exceptionally light and soft. The process begins with aerating egg whites into soft peaks and then sugar is added to the mixture in small batches as the aerating process continues. The small air cells trapped in the mixture help add volume to the cake. If there are other wet ingredients like milk and oil, they are all mixed together with some essence. Dry ingredients such as flour and the leavening portion are sifted and set aside. First, dry ingredients and liquid are combined, and then the meringue is folded into the mixture. The mixture is handled carefully as overmixing would release the trapped air cells. The mixture is poured onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and baked at low temperatures (generally 160-165 °C) for some time, then the temperature is increased (180-185 °C) and baked until the cake is ready.
In the rub method, the fat is rubbed into the flour. In contrast to the creaming process, the rubbing process coats the flour with a layer of fat. The process is done by frictional force through a stand mixer or manually. The fat layer prevents contact between water and flour particles and does not support gluten network formation. This creates a tender crumb. The required amount of flour is placed in a bowl; Butter is added to this bowl and then rubbed with fingertips until a sand-like texture is formed. The fat is distributed evenly throughout the flour, covering every particle of flour. Sugar is added to this mixture and then the same process is carried out. It is recommended to only use your fingertip as the palm is warmer and can melt butter. To this mixture all wet ingredients like eggs, milk, oil, essence etc. are added and mixed well. The batter is then poured into a lined baking sheet and then baked at the specified temperature.
Cakes made using the melt method tend to have rich, heavy, and dense textures. As the name suggests, some of the ingredients are melted and then the cake batter is made. The process begins by melting the butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. The melted butter and sugar add richness and softness to the crumb. Once the butter and sugar have reached room temperature, sift in the flour along with other heavy and rich ingredients like nuts, chocolate, etc.
The mixture is then enriched with eggs and liquids, if any. Cakes made using a melting method do not rise as much as other cakes. However, blowing can be achieved by adding chemical blowing agents. The baking time is comparatively longer than any other method because the dough is exceptionally rich and dense.
All in one method
It is the most convenient method of baking a cake as all the ingredients, both dry and wet, are mixed at once and then made into a fine batter. The batter is poured over the lined cake pan and baked.
Balance cake recipe
When using invert sugar or liquid form of sugar to make cakes, the moisture content should be kept in mind. Their moisture content should be known beforehand, and changes in the proportions of other ingredients should be made. If the amount of sugar is increased, the amount of eggs and fat should also be increased. Sugar is added to tenderize the cake and extend its shelf life, while eggs are added to give volume and texture to the cake; However, the addition of eggs results in dry food. To avoid this, fat is added to the cake batter. If sugar with a low caramelization point is used for the color, it is ideal to add some acid salt to prevent the very dark color of the crust. Egg yolk has really little moisture in it. If the formula asks for egg yolk, make sure to add liquid to combine all the ingredients.
Sweet: Multigrain tart with tangy dark chocolate lassi mousse & fresh berries
Multigrain Flour & Pie
Whole grain: 100g
Clarified butter: 100g
Mix all the ingredients together and make a fine dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough and line the 1/4 inch cake pan, dock the rolled dough and bake at 160C until done.
Fresh cream, chocolate and cardamom ganache
Fresh cream: 150 g
Milk chocolate: 100g
Cardamom powder: 5g
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat fresh heavy cream, making sure to stir constantly while heating. Once the cream is warm, add the cardamom powder and let it soak into the cream. Chop the milk chocolate and set aside in a clear bowl, add the warm cardamom-infused cream to the bowl and mix well. Leave the ganache
Leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Supreme vegetarian quiche
Chilled butter: 90 g
Mix the flour, butter, salt and water in a stand mixer and mix all the ingredients into a soft and firm dough. Let the dough rest in the freezer for 45 minutes. Roll out the dough and cut out circles, leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Place the cut dough in a round quiche dish. Bake it in a preheated oven at 180ºC with some beans until done.
Fresh cream: 18g
Eggs: 12 g
Nutmeg: 1 pinch
Salt & Pepper: to taste
In a large bowl add milk, eggs and flour. Combine all of these together to form a homogeneous mixture. In the same bowl, add cream, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk these ingredients together very well and set aside.
Exotic vegetable filling
Mixed Herbs: 4g
Apple cider vinegar: 30ml
Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic and leek and sauté on a low heat for one minute. Add the peppers, broccoli and mushrooms and sauté well.
Add all the spices to the mixture and cook for another minute. When finished, add the vinegar and immediately turn off the flame.
Final process: Add royal custard to the vegetable mixture and pour the mixture onto the baked quiche shells. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C until done.
Spiced Dark Chocolate Lassi Mousse
Cardamom powder: 2g
Star anise powder: 2g
Cinnamon powder: 1g
Dark chocolate: 50g
Combine the yoghurt and milk and beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Strain the mixture and set aside. Melt the dark chocolate over a water bath and set aside. Add the melted and cooled dark chocolate to the yoghurt mixture along with the spices, vanilla and toasted gelatine. Strain
Pour the mixture into the mold and let it set in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
Final process: Now that we have all the elements of the dessert ready, we can start assembling it. When the tart has completely cooled, carefully remove from the mold and place on a plate. Fill the fresh cream chocolate cardamom ganache into the piping bag and pipe over the cake. Once the mousse is firm
Form the mousse completely and place on the cake. Garnish the cake with fresh currants, berries and microgreens. This great concoction, designed to be as simple as possible, has a diverse mouthfeel of flavors and textures. You can be as creative as possible with the flavors used
in dessert. Topping it up with a fresh fruit puree or a compote will certainly increase the pleasure of enjoying this creation.
(The author is India’s leading pastry chef based in Bengaluru, who exudes the atmosphere of a guru – calm, peaceful and fun. As the Pandora of knowledge, he is Master Shifu in disguise – a modern teacher who absorbs the art and science of baking. To an avid reader and a tabla player who loves to sway to his own tunes!)