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A few questions about cakes.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody,

As the heading indicates, I have some questions about cakes.

1) I have heard conflicting advice about removing cakes from the cake pan when they come out of the oven. I have heard that is is best to remove the cake immediately and transfer to a cooling rack. However, I have also been told that you need to let the cake cool (briefly) in the cake pan before removing and transferring to a cooling rack. Does it really matter, or does it depend on the type of cake that you are baking?

2) When leveling a cake, is it best to trim both the crown and the bottom, or the crown only? Also, are you supposed to trim the sides as well? I like the idea of trimming the sides a little to make frosting the cake a little easier, but I am concerned that it may make it more difficult to prevent cake crumbs from getting into the frosting on the sides or between the layers.

3) When a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, can I substitute cake flour?

Thanks in advance for any tips you folks may have to offer.

W2L :)
post #2 of 17
1. Cakes just out of the oven are delicate things. I let them cool for a while (YMMV on what a "while" might be) before removing them from the pan. It also depends on the type of cake--angel food, for example, you want to cool upside down still in it's pan to keep it from collapsing.

2. Well, you're mainly trimming to get a flat surface, yes? So the only side you'd "need" to trim would be the top. No rule against trimming whatever you'd like to, though. :crazy: As far as crumbs on the side when you ice, try throwing (gently!) the cake into the freezer for a few minutes to firm things up and help them hold together better. Or....just keep wiping your pallette knife (or whatever you're spreading frosting with) between each swipe.

3. Hmmmmm.....*shouldn't make much difference except to the fineness of the crumb. But perhaps others may have a more firm response.

Happy baking!!!
post #3 of 17
It depends on the cake. Sponge cake will shrink on you if you leave it in there too long, angelfood will collapse if you take it out to soon, etc.
Trim the bottom all you want but trim the top as little as possible and for the love of god never trim the sides youll have crumbs everywhereDepends on what the recipe is for i would imagine. I believe there is some calculation to be done for converting because of the difference in protein content.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi,

Thank you both for taking the time to read this and offer your advice. It is very much appreciated.

W2L :)
post #5 of 17
No reason that the top of the cake as it comes from the oven has to be the top of the cake when it's finished! When doing layer cakes, I try to use the bottom of a layer as both the bottom and top of the cake. It's flat (if your pans are) and has the skin, that keeps the crumb down. As for the sides, I often make cakes in shapes I don't have pans or molds for, so I just cut them out of a larger shape. I put on a thin layer of frosting, and then put the cake in the freezer for a bit. That gets all the crumbs in the crumb coat layer, and lets a smooth finish layer go on.
post #6 of 17
I take mine straight from the oven outta the pan and wrap them in plastic wrap then let them cool. I bake mostly butter type cakes.

I do the same as dscheidt and trim the top "hump" and put it to the middle using the flat bottoms as the bottom and top of my layer cakes.

Sure can. Just substitute 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour for every cup of all-purpose called for.
post #7 of 17
And vice versa for the other way around. ;) I made my first home made cake yesterday and the store that I went to for my missing baking supplies did not have cake flour so I had to go with AP and in a cookbook my mom got me for Christmas it said to use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of AP flour to equal 1 cup of cake flour.

That all brings me to a question...or two...or maybe even three. :)

1.) What is the difference between cake flour and AP flour? Is there a difference in the final cake texture? I've just made my first home made cake so I've never used cake flour before.

2.) I got my cake recipe online and it seemed like a basic chocolate cake and easy enough to make for my first home made one. What I thought was odd in the recipe was that it called for sour cream. I figured, maybe that's what keeps it moist. Well...the cakes seem much heavier and denser than what ultimately comes out of the box. Is this supposed to happen? Also, it's a little dry. How can I keep that from happening in the future with home made cake baking? I'm done with the boxes so I think I'll be on here asking lots of questions.

3.) Where can I find a good basic yellow cake and chocolate cake recipe that's kind of a "no fail" recipe to use while I'm learning all this stuff? Also, does anyone have a recipe for a lemon amaretto cake recipe? My wedding cake was made that flavor and it was the best cake I've ever tasted in my life. I'd love to be able to recreate that. It had a lemon cream cheese icing too. YUM! :smiles:

Sorry W2L for hijacking your thread. I thought these might go in line with your questions since they are kind of "basics" for baking cakes. :p
post #8 of 17
I generally don;t use online recipes unless from a trusted source. Just looking up a recipe ("chocolate cake") will give you some generic recipes from anybody. It may have been well tested, or it may be someone's slapdash job at copying. So it;s hard to know why it didn;t come out well - the technique may not have been well-explained, you may have cut corners in technique where they were necessary, or maybe mis measured, or didn;t really how how much stirring is "too much" etc. For a beginner, i would suggest a test kitchen type recipe, because they usually have tried it making the mistakes people normally make, and using ingredients from different sources. My most trusted cookbook for cakes, is actually a 1950 version of the betty crocker cookbook. Later editions were pretty bad, with crappy ingredients and stupid shortcuts (that really save little time) and they always come out well. The3y've reprinted that and you can find it online i think. Techniques are well explained. All the standard american cakes are there.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #9 of 17
as for 1, i agree that the warm cake is delicate and will easily break. Most recipes say leave it ten minutes before removing, then let cool on a rack, and only then can you frost or cover it. (Covering a hot cake with plastic will form steam inside, and make it all sticky)
as for 2. I never level a cake. I actually like a nice rounded cake. In any case i agree to turn the cake over for the top layer. The bottom has less crumbs. But turning it over won;t prevent the bulge, so if it;s really important for you to have a flat surface, then trim the top, then turn it over on the first layer.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 17
I believe cake flour is bleached and AP flour is not.

As for cake basics... I'm looking for a crumb coat recipe that isn't too sweet. All of the recipes I have are overpoweringly sweet.
post #11 of 17
>>>1.) What is the difference between cake flour and AP flour?

the internet is your friend. cake/pastry/AP/bread/etc. designations are relative descriptions regarding the 'gluten' content/potential of the flour.

I do not to wish to appear harsh or unkind, but the basic nature of the question indicates a severe need for self-research / education.
post #12 of 17
1) I have heard conflicting advice about removing cakes from the cake pan when they come out of the oven. I have heard that is is best to remove the cake immediately and transfer to a cooling rack. However, I have also been told that you need to let the cake cool (briefly) in the cake pan before removing and transferring to a cooling rack. Does it really matter, or does it depend on the type of cake that you are baking?
Let the cake cool for 20 min in the pan before turning out. If it sticks, heat the bottom of the pan on the stove.
How are you treating the pans? Bakers Joy is the best for cake release.


2) When leveling a cake, is it best to trim both the crown and the bottom, or the crown only? Also, are you supposed to trim the sides as well? I like the idea of trimming the sides a little to make frosting the cake a little easier, but I am concerned that it may make it more difficult to prevent cake crumbs from getting into the frosting on the sides or between the layers. cut the top. if you must do a crumb coat first, chill the cake and finish,

3) When a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, can I substitute cake flour?
AP has more protien. Cake flour has less and may make your cake crumbley.

PS Dil- the post is fine, the person want's to learn and this is as good a place as any to help out!:cool:
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #13 of 17
ChefTalk is where the internet is a friend, especially for questions such as the one posed. I've been grateful for the advice I've received here as I've seen enough of the posters to know that particular poster's take on things. Not so with a general internet search.

For instance, I know that ghatan will post recipes I like. Siduri knows Italian food. That sort of thing.

I have books, can do a google search and such, but it's nice to get advice from people I "know".
post #14 of 17
Let me expand on m.brown's explanation of the practical differences between cake and AP flours.

AP flour is sometimes bleached and sometimes not. Cake flour is (almost) always bleached.

m.brown touched on the greater amount of protein in AP flour. There's a special type of protein molecules in flour called glutens -- and glutens are the protein variety at issue. Glutens respond to handling, heat and moisture by stretching, sometimes breaking, shrinking, etc., depending on the specific stimulus and the degree to which it's applied. In cakes made with a beaten batter (most cakes), the presence of too much gluten would make the cake tough and chewy; the proper amount would make the cake tender and fine-crumbed, while too little gluten (too soft a flour) would make the cake too crumbly.

There are a bunch of different types of flours rated from very hard (like "semolina") to very soft (like "pastry").

Let's get into some nuance, OK? You'd think that the type of flour would give you a very good idea of exactly how much gluten is in it. But not always. In the U.S., the hardness of flour sometimes varies with region -- the South having the softest flour and the northern mid-west the hardest -- so a local Minnesota cake flour might very well be identical to a Mississippi AP. This is more true in the past, and less true with national brands.

All of which leaves us where? Use cake flours for cakes. Once you've baked a few scratch cakes and have a feel for what's going on -- if you're unsatisfied with the textures you're getting, try cutting the cake flour with about 1/4 pastry flour to make it more tender; or about 1/4 AP flour to get a more structured crumb.

This all sounds very accomplished and definite -- but there are a lot of other variables, type of mixer for instance, or temperature of the ingredients and kitchen, which go to crumb texture.

Good luck with your cake adventure,
BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #15 of 17
The factors involved in timing the cake's removal from the pan include allowing the "carryover" heat to equilibriate so the cake finishes cooking evenly, keeping the bottom from getting soggy while the top dries, keeping the cake as intact as possible, etc.

I time by touch (of course). When the pan is cool enough for a normal person to handle without pain (like a lot of old pros, I have asbestos hands), the cake has shrunk enough to give you as much help as you're going to get to get it off the sides easily, so that's the time.

It depends on the size of the cake, but I'd peg this in the 10 to 20 minute range.

Good luck with this,
BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody,

Thank you for all of the information and advice you folks have given me. This has helped a lot.

~W2L :)

PS - I checked out the cakes on your myspace, m brown. You make some of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen! Also, I want to wish you a belated Happy Birthday. I hope you had a good one.
post #17 of 17
No you can't substitute a cake flour.. It may cause a bad taste or an un-perfect cake..
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