Cake making is a science. No two ways about it. While we all like to get creative with cooking, successful cake making is all about accurate measurements, temperature control and a few key methods.
If you don't want to end up with a soggy bottom, a sunken middle or disaster bake that even the dog won't touch, there are 5 different methods to cake making to master.
Once you understand these, there'll be many happy baking days ahead. Here they are:
5 Different Methods of Cake Making
1. Creaming Method
We start with perhaps the most technically accomplished of the methods known as the creaming method.
- With this method the butter and sugar are beaten together using plenty of elbow grease until the mix turns pale and creamy.
- At this point the eggs can be added, bit by bit, followed by the dry ingredients.
- The tricky bit is to avoid the mixture curdling once the eggs are added, which can split the mixture resulting in a less than appetising tough or dry bake.
Victoria sponge cake is a classic example of one of the most delicious cakes using the creaming method.
2. All-in-one method
If you want to save on washing up, go for a simple all-in-one bake.
- Exactly as the name suggests, all the measured ingredients go into the bowl together and the mixing is done in a matter of minutes.
Try making this moist and lemony drizzle cake using the all-in-one method. It's as simple as weighing out the ingredients, beating them together and then baking.
3. Melting Method
Another very straightforward technique, this method tends to yield moister and denser cakes like a rich chocolate cake or fruit cake, as there's no beating or whisking involved to aerate the mix.
- Instead, butter is usually melted before the eggs and then the dry ingredients are added and a chemical raising agent, like baking powder is used to help the cake rise.
- Again, don't be over enthusiastic with this one - overworking the mixture will result in a dry and tough bake.
Put your method to the test with this chocolate cake recipe.
4. Whisking Method
This method uses whisking instead of a raising agent to work air into the mix and is ideal if you're looking for a lower-fat lighter sponge as they usually contain no butter.
- Eggs and sugar are whisked together before the dry ingredients are sieved and then folded gently through the egg mixture in batches, being careful not to knock the air out of the mix - otherwise you'll lose the desired light and airy texture.
This chocolate log recipe is a great example of the whisking method.
5. Rubbing Method
Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get stuck in for this simple method.
- With this method the fat is first rubbed into the flour using the finger tips, lightly, until the mix becomes breadcrumb-like.
- Next to go in is the sugar followed by the liquid, like milk.
- As soon as the liquid is incorporated, stop working the mix to avoid a tough end texture.
This technique is commonly used for crumble as well as shortcrust pastry and perfect scones. Find the recipe for savoury cheese scones here.
Once you’ve got the hang of all these different methods, the options are endless. A traditional Black Forest Cake is an irresistible showstopper with a long history behind it. Moving from Germany to Italy, you might want to try your hand at a Mimosa Cake, typically made to celebrate the annual International Women’s Day festival on 8 March. This recipe for Carrot Cake with Coconut puts a twist on a firm favourite and surely has to count as one of your five-a-day.