I had the pleasure of visiting White Gallery London last week during bridal fashion week in London, to get an exclusive snoop from some of the […]
Elizabeth has been taking the UK and international cake industry by storm this year, following her long anticipated book launch of OPULENCIA and subsequent book-signing tours this summer. If you missed her exclusive Nu Bride interview on how it all came together, you can catch up here.
Elizabeth is renowned for making cakes that melt in the mouth at first bite. There is nothing worse than biting into a beautifully decorated wedding cake for it to be as dry as sawdust (Yup, you know the ones!) Today, Elizabeth is kindly providing another snippet from OPULENCIA ; sharing some of her secrets to the success of baking a gorgeous celebration cake. As a former scientist, Elizabeth knows better than anyone the science of cake baking and as with anything, it’s the foundation that counts!
Hit it Elizabeth!
Cakes are made from the following key basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, flour and sometimes milk. It is important to have an understanding of these ingredients and their role in baking.
Considered by some to be one of the world’s oldest foods, it is made by churning fresh or fermented pasteurised cream or milk, leading to the separation of the butterfat from the buttermilk. The distinctive yellow colour is derived from a naturally occurring pigment, carotene, a good source of Vitamin A. Butter adds flavour, tenderises and preserves moisture by coating the flour proteins, preventing them from bonding with water and forming gluten.
Sugar is made from sugar cane or sugar beets. The juice is extracted, impurities removed and sugar crystals are made. Sugar imparts sweetness in cakes, creates caramelisation (the browning of the cake crust) and it also acts as a sweetener, lightener, texturiser and preservative. The reason sugar also helps keep cakes moist is because some of the proteins in the flour – glutenin and gliadin – also bond with sugar, so that not a lot of gluten is formed.
The different forms of sugar used in baking can be divided into 3 types, white sugars, brown sugars and liquid sugars.
Eggs provide moisture and richness, leavening, colour, flavour and, most importantly, structure by acting as a binder. In most cases, eggs used in baking will come from chickens and unless otherwise stated most recipes will require large eggs at room temperature as this prevents curdling of the cake batter.
There are many types of flour and on their own they are pretty ordinary ingredients. But they are CRUCIAL as they provide structure and body for baked goods. For the most part, flour made from ground wheat is the type predominantly used in baking. In cake making, sponge flour with low gluten levels is best.
The addition of milk to cake batter provides moisture; it also contains lactose which bonds with flour proteins to hinder gluten formation. The addition of milk or any liquid affects the consistency of batter and milk fats both tenderise and add flavour.
Baking powder is a raising agent. It’s made up of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is an acid which activates the bicarbonate of soda causing it to release carbon dioxide and aerate the cake with the addition of moisture. It’s often used in baking, especially in creamed cakes.
For more information please visit: http://elizabethscakeemporium.com/
Unless otherwise stated, images courtesy of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium