Monday, November 14, 2016

Tips and Tricks from School - BATTER CAKE

After 3 weeks of break, I am back to ACI to continue the Higher Certificate in Asian Pastry and Baking training program.  This program is heavily focused on the practical, it's pretty comprehensive which includes 8 modules, i.e.  cakes, breads, filling/sauces/creams, pastry, cookies, noynya dessert, waffles/pancakes/ crepes and the experimental baking. Wow! Sound interesting and exciting, right?

This week is on cake module.  Today, we learned batter/ butter cake and its baking technique.  For anyone who has the baking experience, they may find it too elementary.  However, I found it useful as I realized I was using some wrong methods or didn't use the best method in the past.  With the helpful tips from our chef, I believe I will be able to make better cakes.

Tips to take away from our lesson today:

  1. When inserting the skewer or toothpick in the center of the cake to examine for doneness, it's important to hold for 3 sec before removing so that it's more accurate to tell whether cake is fully baked or not.
  2. Using the cake ring wrapped with aluminum foil is a better choice for cake baking instead of cake pan (with bottom) as it makes the unmould process more efficient. (after note:  from my experience, the cake bottom always sticks to the foil, hence, I think there is s a need to grease the foil) 
  3. Using baking tray for layered cake is a better choice as it can achieve uniform thickness for each layer.  Using cake pan, the cake will need to be sliced evenly and this can be very challenging for people who are not very skillful.
  4. The ideal fat temperature while creaming is 21*C, it will achieve optimum result by incorporating more air into batter and making the baked products more lighter in texture.
  5. The ideal ingredient temperature for beating eggs and sugar for foam based cake is 42*C.   At this temperature, the eggs will reach a greater volume and the heat will make the egg mixture more stable so as to minimize the risk of collapsing. 
  6. To cream butter, we should start with slow speed to break up the cubes of butter. Increase to medium speed and mix till sightly pale before adding the sugar a little bit at a time.  Continue mixing at medium speed till doubled in mass and lighten to a yellowish-white color (light and fluffy)
  7. To beat egg white for meringue, we should start with low speed.  Once the bubbles appear, we can increase to high (not max) speed and add sugar a little at a time.  Once the the egg white becomes foamy, reduce the speed (not min) to allow the meringue to be stabilized.  The friction from the beating gently warms the whites, allowing its proteins to improve their elasticity so that they take on air more easily and eventually gain more volume.
  8. The meringue  for butter cake (egg separation method) should be beaten till medium peak only- as long as the meringue doesn't drop when overturning the mixing bowl, it's considered as good.
  9. When mixing butter cream into meringue, we should start with a small portion of meringue (at low speed) so that the butter cream is lighter and easier to mix.
  10. When egg is added into butter cream and it starts to look curdle, we should add a bit of flour to mix with curdled batter, this way, the batter will resume smooth.  

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