“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!” - C. Joybell C.
As I write my column this week it is a very dreary day in the Bay. It is grey, wet and miserable outside which means only one thing – we need cake, and lots of it!
I love cake and everything about it. Making them is one of the pleasures of my life and making them for others is one of my most favourite gifts to give. There are a few simple rules for making a good cake and I will share them with you today.
One: Use the right flour for the job. If your recipe calls for Standard (or All Purpose) flour, don’t use High Grade (or Strong flour) and vice versa; each flour delivers for a different texture. High Grade flour is high in a protein called Gluten and is meant for breads and dough that are elastic and strong.
Two: Use a light hand; heavy hands make heavy cake.
One of the main ingredients for most cakes is flour and it is the gluten in flour that holds the cake together. The more you work your batter, the stronger the strands of gluten become and the tougher your end result will be.
Three: Measure you ingredients and follow the recipe. Someone else has done all the trial and error to make sure you get great cake, so follow their instructions.
Four: Eggs are essential. The protein in your eggs wraps around the bubbles made by the baking powder, and or baking soda and that keeps your cake light and airy. Bad eggs make bad cake. Use fresh eggs at room temperature for baking.
Five: Your cake will taste only as good as the ingredients you use; if you use cheap coffee, that is what you will taste. This is especially true with vanilla.
Kia makona, Mawera xx
· Chocolate Cake
· 2 cups all-purpose flour
· 2 cups sugar
· ¾ cup good cocoa powder
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1½ teaspoons baking soda
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 teaspoon instant coffee
· 1 cup milk
· ½ cup vegetable oil
· 2 eggs
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 1 cup boiling water
1. Preheat oven to 180º . Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and coffee to a large bowl or the bowl. Whisk through until well combined.
3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together – do not over mix. Carefully add boiling water to the cake batter.
4. Pour cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
6. To finish, make a large cake by sandwiching together with jam and or cream, and frost cake with buttercream, or simply dust with icing sugar. Or have two smaller cakes, finished the same way but with cream on the side.