Thanks for taking part in the Blog and I’m excited about the questions and activity that is happening here.
Amy asked if it’s necessary to adjust the amount of cake flour used in a recipe IF the recipe calls for All Purpose flour and my answer to this is YES. Adjust the amount of cake flour by following this information from the Joy of Baking:
To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour.
What is the Creaming Method?
Most cake recipes start with creaming butter and sugar together, or let’s just say beating the FOOL out of this combination until it is light and fluffy. Friends this takes a LONG time and is best achieved with a stand mixer. You can do it with a hand-held mixer but your arm is going to get super tired. I’m talking really tired because this can take 7 minutes or more. Put your mixer on high speed and scrap the bowl down occasionally so the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Sugar will collect on the bottom of the bowl where the beaters can’t get very well so it’s important to scrap the bowl down at least 3 times during the creaming process.
What’s happening when butter and sugar are creamed together in this way?
During the creaming process the sugar crystals cut into the butter making little pockets of air. Those little pockets of air are Magical! They expand in the oven and help with the rising process of the cake. Here’s the Deal- The more pockets, of air you have in the mixture the higher rise you will get with your cake so WHIP it Good! Get that mixture super light and fluffy so your cake is delicious.
All of your ingredients should be at room temperature and let’s hope your room temperature is about 68-70 degrees. This means that milk, butter and eggs (and any other refrigerated ingredients) should be taken out of the fridge well before baking time. Use a hand-held thermometer if you want to check the temperature of the butter and when it gets to 68 degrees or so it’s time to get to work. Having the butter at room temperature makes it soft enough to blend well with the sugar but still firm enough to not be melted. NOTE- melted butter is NOT useful for the creaming method. It won’t work at all. You want the butter to be room temperature so that it will stretch and hold lots of those magical air pockets so your cake will be yummy and light in texture. Have all of your refrigerated ingredients at room temperature too so they don’t seize the butter when added to the other ingredients. The primary goal here is to create those little air pockets with the creaming method and then take every precaution to NOT destroy them while finishing with the recipe.
After the Butter and Sugar is Creamed
This next step is so important, CHANGE the speed on your mixer to the lowest speed possible. This will protect your little air bubbles and still incorporate the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. Once everything is combined stop the mixer. If you keep mixing the batter at this point the gluten protein bonds in the flour (wheat flour) become stronger and more elastic resulting in a tough cake. Soft cake is the goal so stop the mixing process just when everything is combined.
See? Cake is science and art. It’s Fun!
Tip for Bakers: Check your thermometers in the frig often. The problem could be the thermometer and not your frig or freezer. I had a faulty thermometer this week.
Tip for Brides: Book your vendors Early- at least 8 months in advance. Most vendors, including me, are booking now for 2017 and brides are on their game! If you know you want a certain venue, cake artist, etc. book them NOW to get the vendor you want. Everyone books up early so make those appointments this week sweet brides!