Thursday, 30 July 2015

How to layer a Cake

 

How to make a Red Velvet Cake


Red Velvet cake is a type of cake that is usually bright-red, dark-red or reddish-brown in colour. It is traditionally prepared as a layer cake and topped with cream cheese or cooked Roux icing (this is also known as boiled milk icing). This icing is prepared by boiling 1 cup of milk and 3 tablespoons of flour until thick. It is then removed from the heat and allowed to cool below room temperature and then 1 cup of white sugar and 1 cup of butter beaten until creamy and pale is added to it and continuously beaten together until very fluffy. For the best result this icing should be beaten for a very long time.
 The Red velvet cake gets its colouring either from the cocoa and vinegar reaction in it or the easiest way - from artificial food colouring which I used in this recipe.The Red velvet is one of my favorites as I like to layer it with ice-cream. Here is my recipe below. Enjoy!

RED VELVET CAKE RECIPE

Prep time: 45mins                           Cook Time: 1hr               Total Time: 1hr 45mins 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 tbsp  Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp Lime juice
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted Chocolate
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 tbsp blended Whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
  • Red food coloring
  • A pint of Ice cream for layering
  • Roux Icing for frosting.
Procedure:  Grease and line a 6-inch baking pan and set aside. Preheat the oven or pot(see my other post how to bake a cake without an oven) to 180 degrees Celsius. In a bowl mix together all dry ingredients and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar till pale and creamy.  Add eggs, vanilla, melted chocolates and beat together until properly mixed. Add milk, lime juice and whiskey, beat until well mixed.

Fold in dry ingredients, a handful at a time. Pour batter into the greased baking pan and set in the oven/pot.
Cook until a skewer when inserted comes out clean ( see my other post on how to check for doneness of a cake). Set on a cooling rack to cool, then serve like that or frost with roux icing (see my other post on how to layer a cake)








You can make your comments/contributions below or ask questions. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

How to make a Peanut Butter Cake

Peanuts otherwise called groundnuts are one of the healthiest foods in the world. They contain mono-saturated fats which is encouraged in heart-healthy diets. Studies have proven that peanuts are very heart-friendly, and also contain other nutrients that are heart healthy such as Niacin, Vitamin E, Folate, Manganese and Protein. Other studies have highlighted the numerous health benefits of peanuts and its key role in reducing the risk of coming down with many diseases e.g Stroke.
 I LOVE PEANUTS, yes those words are in bold because I truly love peanuts and nuts in general. Never leave me alone with a bottle of peanuts at home or worse still a jar of PEANUT BUTTER. You will never meet them the same when you get back,(my fiancee can attest to this)  LOL. I always tell myself I will have just a scoop and I find out I just keep going back for more and can't tell  myself to stop. Not until the empty jar stares back at me, that I know its time to stop. Luckily am not so addicted that I go running to the store to get me a new jar. ( I hope it doesn't get to that point)
 I was staring at the bottom of my empty jar of Skippy when it hit me to incorporate peanut butter in my cake (since I love it so much) and see how it will turn out. And so began the journey to creating this recipe. I had to make my own Peanut butter from scratch from a recipe I got online, as I had run out of Skippy. And it was excellent. Read on...

 

PEANUT BUTTER CAKE RECIPE

       Prep time: 30mins       Cook Time: 1hr            Total Time: 1hr 45mins (plus cooling time)
   
     Ingredients  
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 cup homemade Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/3 Full Cream Milk
  • 1/4 cup Blended Whiskey
  • 1/2 cup fairly mashed Peanuts
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
    

Preparation: Grease and line a 9-inch baking pan and set aside. Mash half a cup of peanuts and set aside.

Prodecure: Preheat the oven/pot (see my other post for directions on how to bake a cake without an oven) to 180 degrees Celsius.  In a bowl sieve flour and all dry ingredients together and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugar until pale and creamy, add peanut butter and mix thoroughly until well mixed. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add vanilla, milk, and the whiskey, mix thoroughly until properly mixed. Fold in the mixed dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour batter in the already greased baking pan and sprinkle the mashed peanuts on the top. Set in the oven for 1hr and then check for doneness with a toothpick or skewer if it comes out clean then your cake is ready (see my post on how to check for doneness in cake baking). Set on a cooling rack for 15mins and then DIG IN and CHOW DOWN *winks.

P.S: You can frost it with peanut butter frosting ( peanut butter, icing sugar, a flavour of your choice and lime juice) if you like.

Hope you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful. Make your comments, contributions and questions below.


* Disclaimer: The peanut butter brand name aforementioned is just the brand I love to consume and therefore the mentioning of the brand is in no way a means of publicity. I have not been paid to do this and it is of my own free will to use this brand name as a descriptive text in this post. There is no intention of publicity or promotion whatsoever.

How to Colour your Icing

 

 STEPS TO COLOURING  YOUR ICING

Icing is used to decorate cakes and other pastries. Icing can be coloured into various colours of your choice e.g red, green, blue etc. Colouring Icing be it Butter-cream, Royal Icing or Fondant, is a very easy-to-do task and does not require any expertise. All you have to do is make sure you put in the right amount of colouring and adjust it if you want a darker shade of the colour but make sure you mix in different bowls if you want different colours in order not get the colours mixed up. There are two types of food colours or Icing colours that can be used, Powdered, Liquid or Gel colours. Powdered colours are very cheap and affordable but personally I don't like to use powdered colours because they easily clump together and extra energy is needed to make sure the powdered colour is well incoporated. When using liquid colours, care must be taken to avoid it from making the plain Icing from becoming watery. So little amount of liquid colour is just enough to produce the colour you want. Gel colours on the other hand is the best for colouring Icing as they do not make your Icing runny but these are more expensive than the liquid ones or powdered colour. Use your discretion when purchasing any food colour or Icing colour of your choice.  For directions on how to mix primary colours to get a secondary or tertiary colour see my other posts on "how to mix primary colours to get secondary/tertiary colours".
Below is a step by step process of how to colour your Icing.

Things you'll need:

  • Butter-cream/Royal Icing
  • Food colour/Icing colour (Powdered, Liquid or gel )
  • Bowls/Spoons (this depends on how many colours you want. i used 4 bowls and spoons here)
Procedure: In 4 bowls, put portions of the butter-cream or royal icing according to the amount needed, be it for writing or making patterns.
 Add 2 drops of food colour or Icing colour of different colours you want. Mix thoroughly with a different spoon in each bowl and add in drops to achieve the shade of colour you want if the first application isn't what you looking for. But be careful as you do this in order not to make your Icing runny especially when using liquid food colours. 

   When you have achieved this, scoop the mixture in different piping bags with or without the tips attached to it (see my post on how to make your homemade piping bags) and pipe your heart away, LOL! Its so fun when you decorate a cake because it helps you play with your artistic side. Here is a picture of how I used mine.

Tips and Advice : 
1.When using a powdered colours, mix into a thick paste first with drops of milk or any other liquid before applying to your Icing as this will help it not to clump together easily.   
2. Make sure you use different bowls and spoons for each colouring when mixing.                             

Hope you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful, make your comments, contributions and questions below!

Monday, 27 July 2015

How to make your own Piping Bag (Icing Bag)

 

 Piping bags also known as icing bags or pastry bags are used to decorate cakes, cookies and other pastries. 
They are readily available in baking stores but if one is not available in a case of emergency, then this easy-to-do step by step process will make your ordinary kitchen plastic bag come in handy. Want to find out how! read on...

 

HOMEMADE ICING BAG: DIY - ( Do- It- Yourself)

Things you'll need:





  
  • Any plastic bag/Ziploc bag or any other resealable bag
  • A pair of Scissors
  • Coupler set
  • Piping Tips
  •  Icing (Butter-cream or Royal Icing) (it can be colored to your preference)

 

Procedure: Hold up your piping bag into a triangular position, cut a little tip off one of the triangular points.Make sure the cut is not too big as you can always trim off extra if it blocks off the opening of your coupler. Insert your coupler from the inside of the bag and if it doesn't fall out then it fits perfectly. You can trim off extras if there is any. Then screw in the other part of the coupler with the tip of your choice attached to it.
 
Make sure you screw it tightly to prevent the icing from spilling or the tip from coming off while decorating. Put the already prepared icing  e.g Butter-cream icing or Royal Icing (see my other post on how to prepare this) into the bag and seal it if using a resealable bag like Ziploc and tie up with a band to help the icing stay in place while exerting pressure during decoration.
And voila! You have your simple easy to make piping bag that can be used in decorating your cake.
You can also just pinch the tip of the piping bag if its just going to be used for writing on a cake and in a case whereby you don't have the tips readily available.

 

Tips and Advice
  1. Make sure the cut at the triangular point is not too big as this may cause the coupler falling out, except the couplers are very big, then you can make a cut that would fit it perfectly. 
2. Any plastic or resealable bag can be used, but make sure the bag to be used is thick enough in order to prevent bursting or tears while exerting pressure on the piping bag during decoration.
3. Ensure that the icing is well put into the bag and no air bubbles trapped inside before decorating in other to avoid breakage of letters or numbers while writing on your cake or drawing shapes.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. Be sure to share your questions, contributions and comments below.

How to make a Carrot Cake

 

   Carrots are very good sources of  Vitamin B6 and Vitamin K which helps in blood clotting and controls bleeding. Carrots are root vegetables that contain B-carotene, which is partly metabolized into Vitamin A providing more than 100% of the recommended daily value per 100g of carrot. 
Carrots are 88% water, 4.7% sugar, 0.2% fat, 2.6% protein and 1% ash.
Carrots are used traditionally for cooking various cuisines, but can also be incorporated in baking. This inspired this recipe of mine and I hope you try it out and enjoy it as I did. Check out the recipe below.

 

 



CARROT CAKE  RECIPE

Prep Time: 30mins  Cook Time: 1hr 30mins    Total Time: 2hrs 

Ingredients 
  • 1 cup Butter (plus extra for greasing pan)
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 cup Full cream Milk
  • 1teaspoon Strawberry flavour (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
  • 5 medium-sized Carrots (grated with the largest part of  the grater)
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
*Ensure to alter measurements in this recipe to suit the size of baking pan to be used as in this recipe, a 6 by 4 inch pan was used

 Procedure: Preheat the oven/pot (see previous post for directions on how to bake without an oven) to 180 degree Celsius. In a bowl, mix flour and all dry ingredients together and set aside. In a separate bowl beat butter, sugar and egg on high speed of an electric mixer for 5mins or until pale and creamy. Reduce the speed and add the flavour, vanilla essence and milk and mix thoroughly. On low speed, add the mixed dry ingredient in batches. Fold in the grated carrot and mix thoroughly until well incorporated. Prepare and line a 6 by 4 inch pan, pour in the batter and level it up properly. Put in the oven for 1hr 30mins and check for doneness with a skewer or toothpick( when it comes out clean, it means its cooked). Set on a cooling rack until cool.
 Enjoy with a hot cup of Coffee or Tea.


I hope you enjoy reading this post and found it helpful! Drop your comments below

Saturday, 25 July 2015

How to make a Chocolate Cake



Chocolates they say are a girl's favorite(second to Diamonds, *winks).
This recipe is my special recipe for those who love to have a sweet indulgence.
Hope you try it out! Enjoy reading.






CHOCOLATE CAKE (Fudge cake)

Prep time: 20mins                     Cook time: 1hr 10mins                       Total Time : 1hr 30mins

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup Butter
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1/3 cup Full cream milk
  • 1 tbsp Dutch-processed unsweetened  cocoa powder (see my previous post "the science of baking: concluding part" to learn more about this)
  • 1 tbsp Browning
  • 1/3 cup mashed Peanuts (optional or skip if you are allergic to nuts)
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 1 Egg 
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla essence 
 Procedure:  Preheat your oven/pot (see my post on "how to bake a cake without an oven" for directions) to 180 degrees Celsius. In a bowl sieve flour and all the dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl mix butter and sugar together in an electric mixer on high speed for 5mins or until creamy and pale-white.Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add eggs, oil, vanilla and milk to the mixture. Once it is well mixed, fold in your dry mixture and mix until well incorporated. Add the browning and then the mashed peanuts until very well mixed.
  Grease and line a 6 by 4-inch baking pan and put in the oven. Cook for 1hr then check for doneness. If not well cooked leave for another 10mins. Set on a cooling rack and when cool decorate with your chocolate frosting or skip frosting.  Cake tastes best days after the first day.

Hope you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful! Try it out and post your comments on how yours turned out.
 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

CORN-The Fruit of the season



corn cakeCorn is the other name for Maize especially in English-speaking countries such as mine.
In Nigeria, corns are available within the mid-seasons of the year from June -August. They can be eaten roasted or boiled. Some cultures incorporate them into foods such as bean porridge.
Chowing down on one yesterday, it hit me to incorporate it in a cake. And so began the quest to create my own corn cake recipe by just being experimental (being a science graduate, I love to experiment. LOL). Here is the recipe, I hope you try it out and enjoy it as I and my family did!






CORN CAKE RECIPE

Prep Time: 20mins             Cook Time:1hr            Total Time: 1hr 20mins   

Ingredients needed: 
    corn cake recipe
  • 5 medium-sized ears soft-Fresh Corn
  • 1 cup Butter (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Custard powder
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/3cup Corn flour
  • 1/3 cup Full cream Milk
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg (optional, you can substitute to your preference e.g Cinnamon)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • a pinch of salt (skip if you use a salted butter instead)
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla essence
Prep: Corn: Wash and boil your corn. De-seed the cobs as this is easier when the corn is boiled. Using a food processor or the dry-cup blender attached to your home blender, blend the corn ( had to dry my corn out a little to help the blender do this faster) in batches in order not to over-work the blender.
Baking pan: butter and line the insides of the pan with baking sheet or clean A4 paper cut out in the shape of the pan.

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or your pot on a steady heat stove (read my "how to bake without an oven post for instructions) for 15mins.
corn cake recipeIn a medium sized bowl, sieve and mix the flour and all your dry ingredients and set aside. Mix the butter and sugar in a separate bowl and beat on high-speed of a standard electric mixer for 5mins or until it looks creamy and pale-white. (or you can do it manually, but this takes longer time to cream). Add the egg (egg-white first and then egg yolks next), vanilla essence and mix together until well incorporated. Add the pureed corn and mix thoroughly until well mixed and no sign of clumps.
Fold in the dry ingredients one handful at a time until well mixed and pour into your baking pan. Put into the oven or pot oven for one hour. Check for doneness with a tooth-pick (check out my other post on how to check for doneness). Set on a cooling rack and serve with a cup of coffee or tea.



     
corn cake 
  Enjoy! As I did. You can try out this recipe and leave your comments below on how yours turned out! Hope you enjoyed reading  this!













*Disclaimer notice: this recipe is strictly a creation of mine,anyone who wants to use the content of this post is allowed to recreate it but adequate reference should be made to my blog site for the original content.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

BEGINNERS GUIDE TO CAKE BAKING. Essential Ingredients needed

 

     As a beginner, here are some basic ingredients you will need to waltz your way through the process of cake baking.  

 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS FOR BAKING, includes and is not limited to

  • All-purpose Flour/ Self Raising Flour - APF can be used for a wide range of cake recipes and SRF for recipes that specifically require it. Choosing a good brand and sticking to it will help you achieve great result for your cakes. I personally love to use one of the best Nigerian brands (Golden Penny brand) and sometimes I go for an international brand (Mc Dougalls). 
  • Granulated sugar/Brown sugar : For my granulated sugar I stick to my Nigerian brand (Golden penny) its well refined and gives me the result I want. You can choose whatever brand works for you. Brown sugar is found in many recipes for fudge cakes or chocolate cakes and choosing a good brands is a huge factor.
  • Confectioner's sugar/Icing Sugar. This is one of the most important ingredients used when decorating your cake and making sure a good brand is used is essential. I personally love using a Nigerian brand called Bakers Choice its got a very smooth texture and doesn't clump together easily (you almost don't need to sieve it).
  • Baking Powder-  Choose a good brand that is reckoned with amongst cake bakers and stick to it. I personally like to use the double-acting baking powder.
  • Cocoa Powder/Chocolate -  Investing in a good brand can make a huge difference in the texture of the cake and taste. I like to use the Cadbury brand because of it richness.
  • Milk - When using milk in my recipe I like to use a Nigerian brand called PEAK milk, it is well known for its richness and quality taste. You can choose your own option that works best for you.
  • Butter/Margarine: this is readily available at many local store or cake store. I prefer to use brands that are sweet smelling and a nice texture feel in the mouth. So before I go for a brand of butter to use for my recipe I take a quick taste just to make sure its what I want. And so I stick with the ones measured and weighed in grams on a food scale. 
  • Oil- This depends on the recipe for the cake. Sunflower, Olive oil or vegetable oil is mostly used in recipes
  • Mixing colors: These are very essential as they come in handy in making fun color frosting on cake. I like to use gel food colors when icing  and use liquid when marbleizing a cake or making my favorite red velvet cake. You can also mix different primary colors to give you a different color. e.g Grey (Black + White), Navy blue (Royal blue + Pink). etc. 
  • Vanilla essence- Liquid vanilla essence is mostly used but some recipes require the extract which is gotten from soaking the pods.
  • Nuts: Recipes that are nut-based can contain walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, pecans or any other type depending on the recipe.
   Cake baking ingredients is not limited to all of these ingredients listed as there are other ingredients required in cake recipes.
Most recipes contain most of these ingredients as some recipes can have other ingredients that are also quite affordable. This list above is the main ingredients needed to make your first cake depending on the recipe you want to try out.
My recipe page is coming up very soon and you can check out simple easy-to-do recipes there.

* Disclaimer notice : The products brand mentioned above are not meant for advertisement. This is not in any kind a paid promotion for any product or shop. This is a list of products I use as per my preference which I have shared here to help others familiarize with the items. Baking ingredients are not limited to this list as some recipes call for other ingredients not listed here.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

BEGINNERS GUIDE TO CAKE BAKING (Essential tools you will need)


If you are new to cake baking, and looking for a guide to achieve your cake baking dream, this post will guide you to a successful start. Here is a list of tools you will need, most of them are quite cheap and affordable, and are readily available at your local or online store

 12 ESSENTIAL TOOLS NEEDED

1.Measuring cups and spoon: these come in 1cup =250ml, 1/2cup=125ml, 1/3 cup=83mls,1/4cup= 62ml, 1/8 cup= 31ml. The spoons vary  also as 1Tablespoon, 1/2 Tablespoon, 1 Teaspoon, 1/2 Teaspoon etc. I prefer these to the calibrated measuring cups because with time due to wear and tear, the calibrations wipe off and so measurements can't be read accurately. These on the other hand lasts a lifetime because the measurement values are engraved on them.

measuring cups and spoons











2. Baking Pans/Muffin tins - The batter mixture is poured into these in order to bake the cake. Aluminum tins are mostly used because they are oven safe and retain their shape.  These can be purchased  at your local cake store or you can get some made for you by an alloy expert.
 They also come in varying sizes and shape.

cupcake tins











3. Mixing bowl- a wide, deep, preferably stainless steel  would be most appropriate

picture of mixing bowl
picture of whisk and spatula4. Spatula/Whisk/Palette knife- This is also readily available in your local cake store

5. Baking Tray - It comes attached with some oven cookers.
6. Wire Rack/Cooling rack - For cooling the cake before decorating
7. Baking sheets - Used to line the insides of the pan before baking in order to help the batter not to stick to the pan and allow for easy removal when cake is done.
8. A good Oven-  You can invest in a good oven and if you can't afford this, you can try my method of baking without an oven (see previous post for this). I used the method a lot when I started out as baker. But I won't recommend this method if you are thinking of a large scale cake baking business.
                                  9. Food-weighing Scale- Helps to make precise measurement for ingredients. It can also help for when a particular recipe is weighed out in "grams" and not in "ml" or "cups" where the measuring cups could have been used.
10. Baking Thermometer - Investing in one of these can help you gauge the right oven temperatures and for recipes like meringue which calls for a particular temperature for preparation.
11. Standard/Electric mixer :  Investing in a good mixer will help you a lot as manual preparation of cake batter can be very exhausting. Although I didn't have one when i started out as a cake baker but I have come to realize that its better to invest in a good one if you are thinking of venturing into baking.
12. Cake Board- These are cheap and affordable.They are platforms on which the cake is placed on for display. For beginners who just want to bake for fun or just for the family as a snack, they can improvise by making cake boards out of old cartons or hard-cardboard paper. But for bigger events, I recommend the ones sold in stores made out of wood as they are firmer.

  Read my next post for ingredients for Beginners guide to cake baking! Hope this post was helpful.

THE SCIENCE OF BAKING (CAKE)- Concluding Part


BAKING SODA/POWDER
double-acting baking powderThese are classified as leavening agents. They are also very important ingredients in cake making as these serve as rising agents.
Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate and it begins to act immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so recipes that call for baking soda needs to be baked immediately as failure to do this will result in a flat cake.
Baking powder comprises of sodium bicarbonate, the acidifying agent, and also a drying agent (usually starch e-g corn-starch). It is readily available as single-acting baking powder  and double-acting baking powder.  The single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so recipes which include this product must be baked immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders on the other hand  react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. In double-acting powders, gases are released at room temperature when the powder is added to the cake mixture, but most of the gas is released after the temperature of the cake increases in the oven.
  Baking soda is basic and it produces a bitter taste unless counteracted by the acidity of another ingredient e.g buttermilk. Baking powder on the other hand contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste.
I personally love my cake high up and well rounded at the top. It gives me such great high when my cakes turn out  this way. My sisters love this as well as it allows them as much cake crumbs to munch on when carving.

The mechanism by which these agent work is that they release carbon-dioxide when whipped with the butter thereby giving the cake the puff needed.
Double acting baking powder gives twice the carbon-dioxide during baking. But one has to be careful at the level to which they are added and this is where precision come to play once more as adding too much may result in a tear at the top or cracks thereby disfiguring the cake (I have been a victim).
Knowing the right ratio to flour would help to not under-do or overdo it. A teaspoon of baking powder or just one-quarter of baking soda is enough to leaven one cup of flour or just follow the cake recipe.


SALT
picture of salt    Some cake recipes requires a pinch of salt in them. In cakes, the salt helps to balance out how much sweetness you have and it enhances other flavors while baking.













CHOCOLATES AND COCOA
      Cocoa  is a purer form of chocolate.  Chocolate comprises of two main components, cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The Cocoa solids gives the chocolate its flavor while the cocoa butter gives it its texture. Cocoa powder contains more of cocoa solids than cocoa butter.

 Issue 89 by Nicole Rees from Fine cooking helped me understand that the success of recipes that calls for either cocoa or chocolate depends on the batter having a specific pH. If you like one more than the other, you can substitute.
Choosing your options for your cake can depend on the other fats present in the cake.  Cakes made with cocoa differs from those made with chocolate in texture and flavor.
 Cakes made with Cocoa powder and oil are tender and intensely flavoured.
Chocolate cakes made with chocolate are temperature-sensitive. On tasting a chocolate cake when cool , you will find out that its dry and crumbly. Therefore cakes made with chocolates should be served at room temperatures as this allows for the release of flavour. 
There are two types of cocoa powder, Dutch-processed and Natural. The dutch-processed is less bitter than the natural cocoa. It also infuses a full rich flavour and dark colour. The dutch-processed cocoa is the major cocoa used by many bakers all over.

CONCLUSION
 A cake structure is created mainly from the combination of all these basic ingredients from the flour, to egg and/or milk. That lighter, melt-in-your-mouth texture you get occurs as a result of lots of air and tiny air pockets incorporated into the cake through mixing, beating and heating during the cake making process.
This is due to the eggs and leaveners added to the cake. The sugar and fat helps to tenderize the cake and also inhibit gluten formation and egg coagulation. But a slight imbalance can weaken the cake structure.
Too much sugar and butter mixture can make the cake collapse as it weighs down the cake structure and too much flour and too many eggs can result in a tough and/or dry cake.
Therefore, precision is the bane of cake making but also where this art has been mastered, improvisation and alterations can come to play.
Conclusively, cake baking is a science as it boils down to being extremely precise with measurements, temperatures and ingredients.


Thanks for reading! Make your comments, contributions and questions below.

Monday, 20 July 2015

THE SCIENCE OF BAKING (CAKE)- Part 2


FLOUR (contd):
Kelly Stewart a Portland based food writer said in her kitchen chemistry article of 2009, that "the protein in flour, lends structure to baked goods". She went on to ask a baking instructor Peter Reinhart on the basics behind dough construction and he told her that two proteins are present in flour called - glutenin and gliadin. When the water  is added to the flour, the proteins are drawn to each other thereby forming gluten.
The flour used in cakes creates a less rigid gluten network and a finer crumb hence the reason for cakes being lighter than bread.

In choosing the right flour to use, Kelly contacted a former Vanderbilt University biochemist, Shirley Corriher, an expert in the science of baking. She shared some tricks as to how to determine the right flour.
"Measure 2 cups into a bowl and stir it with a scant cup of water. If you have a high protein flour, its going to suck in water like crazy and form a dough" she said. But a lesser protein- rich flour won't come together unless more flour is added to it. Unfortunately, Corriher says, " there is no easy way to determine the protein content of flour". Just check the manufacturers label to determine which type of flour to use. Although one cannot totally know the concept to determining the right flour, one can determine how the ingredients work with regular practice.

BUTTER/FATS:
This is the second most fundamental ingredient in a cake. The butter coats the protein in the flour to inhibit level of gluten in the cake.
butterOils  such as vegetable oil or sunflower oil can be used in cake baking as oils coats the protein in flour better than butter. Thus the difference between a butter based cake and an oil based cake is that the oil based cake is moister and examples include fudge cake, mud cake etc.
The butter/fat is beaten with the sugar until it becomes light, fluffy and pale in colour (almost white).
During this process, air is incorporated into the batter and the volume increases. The air is important as it forms tiny spaces or pockets into which gases, water vapour from the  moisture and CO (carbondioxide) from the baking powder migrates and expands during heating.
There are two types of butter - Salted and Unsalted butter.
Salted butter contain salt which helps to preserve shelf life while Unsalted butter contains no salt. Both have a smooth creamy feel to the mouth. The difference in both use for baking is that unsalted butter helps the baker to control the salt content of the recipe and its the most used. Salted butter is mostly used for spreading.

SUGAR/MILK
Sugar goes side by side with the butter as the second most fundamental ingredient in cake making.
there are different types of sugar such as granulated sugar, brown sugar etc and their use vary according to the recipe. Brown sugar adds a deeper flavour to the cake.
granulated sugar
Some people like to add milk to the cakes. I for example, use milk on occasions when I want a really moist cake. Milk contains lactose which is a form of sugar and this hinders gluten formation.
Both sugar and milk encourages caramelization (i.e browning of the cake).








EGGS

Eggs are the third most fundamental ingredient in most cakes. First rule to a wonderful cake is to make sure your ingredients are at room temperature especially the eggs as this can determine how the cake comes out.
The Egg helps bind things together. The Egg-yolks lends richness and moisture to the cake while the egg whites can serve as a leavening agent.
Here are four qualities to consider when using them for cake baking.
 picture of eggs
1. The eggs must be round, have a golden yellow egg-yolk and clear egg white
2. Must be at room temperature
3. Free-range ( i.e direct from the poultry where the birds are allowed outdoors)
4. Shell must be spotless, thick and free of cracks

In order to prevent food-borne diseases such as salmonella, eggs should be refrigerated and allowed to return back to room temperature when needed for baking.


TO BE CONTINUED... watch out for the concluding article on this! Thanks for following.

THE SCIENCE OF BAKING (CAKE)


                   Cooking and baking have been the traditional methods of food preparation since time immemorial before modern tools for measurements were invented. Grandmothers, great grand-mothers and the mothers before them have cooked and baked just by using their eyes, tongues and noses to feel for when the dough is well kneaded and the right time to get it out. They know when the dough feels and looks right.

                   Which brings us to question whether there is really a need for precision and accuracy in measurements during baking as today we have to follow a recipe just as it is, with the right amount of this and that in order to get a good result.
               
                In the home kitchen, there are two kinds of people, the cooks and the bakers. As for cooks, they are more flexible in the use of their ingredients and proportions while on the other hand, the bakers are more precise in their measurements, temperatures and techniques.
  I love cooking as well as baking but I find that cooking allows me the liberty to play with my recipe, to alter it when I like and add the ingredients at a time I like and viola! It comes out great - that's spontaneity as it affords me the ability to conjure things up based on what I have available. But the con of this is that I may not achieve the same result as the same food was previously made. Baking on the other hand makes me take much more consideration into what I put together as they go in ratios, 250g of flour here to 200g of sugar there and 500g of butter in the mix. It calls for precision and accuracy. When baking you become a mathematician as you have to make proper conversions and calculations in order not to stray from the recipe and get something totally different.
 In order to fully understand the science behind the art of baking, I began my research by going into the internet world to further gain more knowledge about how these basic ingredients work to put together a well structured cake.

 I stumbled upon an article by Kelly Stewart about Kitchen chemistry (is baking a science?). According to her, the secret to a successful baking is all in the way the ingredients mix up. Which then led me to source for more information as to how each baking ingredient function in the process of baking to further prove how baking is a science.

flourFLOUR :  There are different types of flour used in baking but the most common ones are the owns made with wheat and its the major types used in cake making. Flours are the building block of most baked foods and that makes it the most fundamental ingredient in the baking process.
The types of flour includes;
- Whole Wheat flour: made from the whole kernel of wheat
- All purpose flour: bleached white flour made from the endosperm of wheat. It contains lots of protein and it is used for most pastry.
- Cake flour- its bleached white flour with the lowest amount of gluten
- Bread flour- bleached  white flour higher in protein
- Gluten-free flour- its made from non-wheat sources such as Rice, Tapioca, Corn and Potatoes




TO BE CONTINUED...
 check out the next post for the continuation of this article.!



HOW TO BAKE A CAKE WITHOUT AN OVEN


For people like me who happen to live in a country where power supply is epileptic, one has not to solely rely on electricity for one's daily activities. 
 This is especially essential for cake makers like me. So in a case where there is no electricity and one cannot afford to use a gas oven, we are made to find a way out - IMPROVISATION. 
This baking without an oven technique came in handy many times as a cake maker while studying in the University and still does when I want to be very economical.
You can still try it out if you have a cooker that has a non-functional oven or if you find yourself in a situation where  an oven is not readily available
Here is how to bake a cake without an oven. 

Things you'll need;


1. A kerosene stove or cooker









2. Aluminum Pot - it can vary in size depending on the size of cake. Cupcakes don't require large pots but larger cakes do.
3.Baking Pans ( Aluminum foil pans or cupcake tins or aluminum baking pan)
 4. Baking sheet/ cupcake paper/Old newspaper
 5. Stove head or peebles ( I always prefer stove head, it gives the baking tin more balance)
 6. Already prepared cake batter 
7. Baking Thermometer (this is optional)

Procedure : After lighting up the stove carefully, preheat the pot with the stove head inside it for 30minutes. Make sure you maintain a steady heat from the stove. The temperature range for baking the perfect cupcakes or layer cake is between 177 degrees Celsius  to 200 degrees Celsius. I know you are wondering how you will know that the pot has heated to the right temperature without a thermometer. Do not fret as I have a solution. What has worked for me so far is that when my pot is heated up I put in my hand to my wrist level to feel the heat, if the heat is at a temperature where I can almost feel it burning me, then I know its at the right temperature(crude way right , but works. LOL) or put some granulated sugar in a small pan into the pot if it melts then its running hot and the cupcakes or cake is ready to go in. Just choose whichever method works best for you. 

Then portion your cake batter into the lined tins (lined either with the cupcake paper or with the baking sheet, depending on which type of cake you are making). 
queens cakesPut the baking pan with the cake batter into the pot making sure its well placed and in the case of cupcakes, put the cupcakes into a bigger baking pan ( a 9inches tin can take up to four tins at once) and place it in the pot. Cover it first with a wide layer of baking sheets or three layers of old newspapers and finally cover it up with the pot lid. Leave to cook for 15minutes. Then check for doneness.
cupcakes
 Here are pictures of how mine turns out when I use this method. Enjoy! Hope this article was helpful, feel free to ask your questions

P.S - Am sorry I couldn't show step by step process of these pictures.



TIPS and ADVICE 
1. Make sure your stove is set at a steady heat as this can affect the temperature in the pot. A fluctuating heat can lead to a rise and fall in temperature inside the pot and this can affect the cake
2. Make sure the pot used doesn't have any undulations inside as this may cause the baking pan not to be balanced thus causing the cake to be sloppy
3. Avoid the urge to open the pot before cook time as this may result in the drop of temperature inside the pot, causing a volcano looking cake.
4. Make sure after layering with newspaper, the pot lid is properly placed to prevent  loss of heat and influx of cold air
5. Finally be careful with the handling of the pot as it can burn you if carelessly handled (take this seriously as I have been a victim, *winks*)

P.S : All pictures except the cake pictures are courtesy Google search

Sunday, 19 July 2015

MY WORST CAKE MAKING EXPERIENCE

I thought to myself " how will I post one of my best baking experiences and not talk about my worst", that would be like telling the world that there is no worry in life.

This is one of the worst cake making experiences I have had.. read on 

    It is said that in life one must go through good times and bad in other to be well grounded. The beauty of Gold is usually hidden in a thick black mass not until it has gone through fierce fire. 

 My cake making journey has been fun with disappointments and happy moments to grease it. I have made good cakes, great cakes and not so good cakes that most times whenever I am baking I say a silent prayer inside me. Its funny right, but its true. 

The day started out beautiful as the sky was blue and  the day bright and sunny. I remember it so well as i was in a wonderful mood that morning, I was approached by a girl who was planning her birthday celebration later that day, she wanted it to be a big one and I was awarded the cake contract. I wanted to make the most impressive cake as this was the beginning of my baby steps to being a reknowned cake maker so I had to put in my all. I got all the ingredients and was even over-budget but I didn't care if I spent my own cash as all that mattered to me was the quality of the cake.  I wanted the cake soft and very fluffy (as this was my signature) and the technique that I use is that the flour ratio is usually smaller compared to the eggs and butter ratio. This technique is great but I didn't add enough flour to the mix in this case. When my cake came out it was so lovely to look at as it was well rounded and had the right crust, it was beautiful but when I took out part of it to taste, my face went numb >>>>>TOO MUCH OIL and it tasted as if Lots wife from the Bible who turned into salt had been reincarnated as a cake. I went berserk, there was no time to bake another, I was in tears, my room-mates encouraged me to put finishing touches to mask the disaster. So like all bakers or should I say most bakers would do, I did an impressive icing art on the cake and looking at it, you will never think the content would be anything different. When the celebrant came for her cake, she was happy, the cake looked very nice and went on her way. Later that evening I went for an evening service ( I even prayed at the altar for the cake) and came later at night and was told the girl came looking for me threatening fire and brimstone, my heart was pounding, instantly I knew my botched cake was no good. I waited for her to come again and this time around she came in company of another girl and I was really thinking they were going to beat me up. Calmly she explained how the cake ruined her party and how they thought she could not afford a better cake. 
       Gulp! Gulp! was how I swallowed hard with  my chest racing faster than Usein Bolts' legs would take him to the finish line. I begged her and luckily she understood and asked for a full refund but I told her I could only do a half refund which I did. I was so embarrassed and cried my eyes out. That day I promised never to bake again but those word turned out to be mere words said in a spit of disappointment and rage. 
Here I am today!


Share your worst cake experience let me know if your story is worse than mine.

MY FIRST CAKE MAKING EXPERIENCE


       I decided to share this story as a sequel to how my journey to cake making started. I remember vividly like it was yesterday. It was a sunny day, bright and promising, as it was going to be the first day of the beginning of my cake making journey.
      My first cake was a chocolate fudge cake(though I found out it was called this later in my baking career, LOL) it was made with crude tools but it was moist, crumbly and delicious to taste, it was PERFECT.
        I was  in  my second year in the university at the time when  a friend (now a certified nurse) wanted to mark her birthday and whose love for cake was beyond this world.  She was in dire need of a cake and most of the cake makers in my hostel then had been booked. I can't remember how I got talking to her about her birthday cake, but I think I happened to bump into her on my way to the common room (this is where we buy food items or toiletries). I had always talked about my baking skills (which I had never put to practice) but for some divine reason,  she decided to try me out. I was so happy that I was going to be baking my first cake ( the celebrant didn't know this at the time).   
    I went online and quickly got more tutoring and headed for the market and bought all the ingredients I needed trying my utmost best not to leave anything out. I prayed that day and went through the process of baking the cake meticulously, I did a lot of improvisation that day as I didn't have all the tools I needed. 
I was so scared that I was literally checking on it most of the time and when  I finally go  it out, it came out so good I couldn't believe my luck . 
 When the girl came for her cake she was so surprised and happy as to how good the cake looked with so little amount of money she paid for it. I didn't care that I had no profit from baking that cake but I sure gained one thing - "experience".
 That day, I discovered my creativity, my hidden talent and how far my determination could get me. 
 When I remember that day I say to myself  and smile "my talking out of no experience paid off after all".

You can also share your experience, lets inspire more people out there!. Thanks

INSPIRATION - How it all started



       I believe everyone has got a hidden talent within and it takes a journey of self discovery to be able to  tap into it.
As a girl growing up in a house where you are mostly alone, I read a lot and loved to draw, paint or decorate things. At a point I thought I was going to end up as an Architect or a Fashion designer, so it wasn't a huge surprise to me when I fell in love with baking cakes and decorating them.

 My cake journey began when I was in my second year in the University about 5years ago,(check out my later post for my first cake making experience) although I wasn't too serious with it until after graduating because one needed full concentration to one's academic work and much more when you are studying to be a Pharmacologist, you need all the concentration you can muster LOL,  and  I never thought I had it in me until it happened.

I started out baking for friends and family and I improvised a lot especially when I couldn't get a hold of the tools to decorate. This helped me adapt as I schooled and lived in a place where the most modern tools for baking are not readily available or are too expensive to purchase.

I like to think that the art of Cake making found me and not me pursuing it as I have never trained in any cake baking school but only dwell on my own innovations and recipes. This happened after I had been baking based on recipes sourced on the Internet.

 I decided to start a blog in 2013 to inspire others like me out there who wants to venture into cake making or any other ventures and are looking for motivation or a source of inspiration. But the yearning for a 100% 'my own content' led me to delete the blog and created this blog that contains 100% of my work.

Tapping into your inner talent can only occur when you begin to look inwards and realize that you are really good at something you didn't even have to sit in a classroom for.

 So far, I can say that I have really improved and still improving as I strive to keep focused on this journey I have begun. Its not been easy as I have constantly strayed along the way, but I have decided to keep focused thanks to the constant nudge from a supportive partner and pray to God to lead me on as I journey through this spongy, dense, moist,  frosty, icy, (LOL- pardon my cakey illustration ) road to actualizing my cake dreams.
Hope you find this inspiring and continue to follow my blog. Thanks for visiting!

WELCOME TO CAKEVILLE

Hi there everyone, 
 I am happy you have taken the time to visit my blog. I am a self-taught cake baker and decorator, I motivate myself (all glory to GOD) and create my own recipes. I promise a lot of fun and original content to meet your baking and cake decorating needs. Hope you stick around and we'll get to know ourselves better. Feel free to make your comments and ask your questions wherever clarity is needed. Join me on my cake journey as I begin my advancement into a reknowned Cake Artist.
 Thanks!