Cake Ingredient Question

Baking By JustGettinStarted Updated 24 Sep 2010 , 4:13am by Tlcs

JustGettinStarted Posted 24 Aug 2010 , 2:55pm
post #1 of 14

Okay, so I've been playing with scratch recipes and I'm very excited about trying all of the different cake recipes on CC. I had a favorite chocolate recipe, but lately it's been coming out dry. I want to take a recipe I like and be able to tweak it if I want to, like I've seen many of you do. I've been wondering though, what do all of the ingredients do? So, I thought I'd ask icon_biggrin.gif So, if you know what any of the following do, please pick a number and explain. icon_smile.gif Thanks so much! And of course, if I develop a great recipe, I will always share icon_smile.gif

1. Butter/oil-

2. Buttermilk-

3. Sour cream-

4. Salt-

5. Baking soda-

6. Baking powder-

7. Eggs-

8. Pudding (oh, and what size box does everyone usually use...recipes just say a box)-

9. Vinegar (when asked for it)-

10. Do you beat at a high speed or a low speed?

11. Should batters be more thin or thick?

12. When a recipe calls for milk or water, can I always sub something (like creamer, soda, etc.)?

13. Can you use buttermilk and sour cream in the same recipe (since I don't know what either of them are really for)?

13 replies
DefyGravity Posted 24 Aug 2010 , 2:58pm
post #2 of 14

With #12, I always use brewed coffee in place of water. I think it brings out the chocolate flavor a lot more that way!

Loucinda Posted 24 Aug 2010 , 3:37pm
post #3 of 14

If you go to the library (or get online at a good price) The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum goes into great detail about your questions....starting on p. 469. I don't care for her recipes, personally, but I love the book for reference.

I was going to answer some of the questions, but there is too much to type!!

kansaslaura Posted 24 Aug 2010 , 7:30pm
post #4 of 14

How Baking Works is a great book. I've learned a lot of whys and hows from it.

Also, check out this website: http://www.baking911.com/


Ok, not sure why the link isn't showing up. type baking 911 between the www and .com

Is this a blocked site as well, and if so why? I find SO much info there.

scp1127 Posted 25 Aug 2010 , 10:03am
post #5 of 14

Also "Bakewise" by Shirley Corriher and "I'm Just Here For More Food". You just need a reference book for when these questions arise. Both of these books read like textbooks with recipes.

scp1127 Posted 25 Aug 2010 , 10:04am
post #6 of 14

Forgot author, "I'm Just Here For More Food" is by Alton Brown.

JustGettinStarted Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 12:50am
post #7 of 14

Thank you all so much!

Anyone want to give an answer to the pudding question? I don't know the size of the box when someone says, "one box instant pudding."

kansaslaura Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 1:40am
post #8 of 14

4 serving size.

JustGettinStarted Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 1:48am
post #9 of 14

Thanks so much!

LindaF144a Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 2:28am
post #10 of 14

All the books recommend are excellent books to get you started on scratch baking and making your own recipes.

But you should also talk about how you make your batter too. Bakewise will talk about that the most.

You could be doing something in the process of making your cake that is causing the batter to be perceived to be dry, but it could be you are over mixing, baking too long, not creaming enough - lots of things.

Post how you mix a cake batter and what your process is. then we can help with that also.

JustGettinStarted Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 12:21pm
post #11 of 14

Here is the particular recipe I was having trouble with. It's from Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman). I bake according to all directions and have always used a 5x5 pan then the remaining cupcakes. It's always very moist and delicious. However, I baked in the Betty Crocker Bake-n-fill and the first time the problem was definitely overbaking as the outside was crunchy. So, per someone's suggestion, I baked on 325 and it came out much better and was very soft and moist before I triple wrapped it and froze it over night. I have no idea where I've gone wrong though. Maybe not just a good pan to use as I've only used it the two times I've made this chocolate cake in it. Thanks!

2 cups Sugar
2 cups All-purpose Flour
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ cups Buttermilk
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 sticks 1 Cup Butter
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder
1 cup Water, Boiling


GANACHE
8 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate
1 cup Heavy Cream
6 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan with baking spray.

To make the cake batter, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate container, combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add boiling water, allow to bubble for a few seconds, then turn off heat.

Pour chocolate mixture over flour mixture. Stir a few times to cool the chocolate. Pour buttermilk mixture over the top and stir to combine.
Pour cake batter into sprayed pan.

Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove cupcakes and allow to cool on a baking rack.

To make the ganache, heat cream and corn syrup over medium heat. Chop chocolate and add to a bowl. Add vanilla to cream mixture, then pour cream mixture over the top of the chopped chocolate. Whisk together until melted, smooth, and glossy.

LindaF144a Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 1:38pm
post #12 of 14

I would suggest you play with recipes that have other methods than the one listed. You can get a good cake using this process, but there are other ways to mix the batter that give good cakes also. Bakewise goes over several of the different methods for mixing cake batter and what the result is with each method. You can probably check your local library system. That is where I found mine before I bought my own copy.

If you look under cake decorating for the topic: ? For scratch bakers you will see a bunch of chocolate recipes posted. There is one there like this one that is super moist and super chocolate. At first glance of the recipe you posted it is not a balanced recipe and does notnhave as much liquid as other recipes I have seen. Try the coco loco cake posted in the above topic suggestion. You will love it.

Not all recipes are alike in results. Not only changing the ingredients gives a different result in taste, moisture, crumb, etc., but the method mixing will also affect the outcome. My suggestion is to keep testing different recipes with different methods until you find the one that gives you what you desire in a cake. You will amazed at the difference just in changing the mixing method.

Personally I saw her recipes and did not buy her book. I could tell that I would not get the results I want. And your description confirms what I thought would happen.

JustGettinStarted Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 2:18pm
post #13 of 14

Thanks Linda! Again, this may not be a great cake for what I'm looking for, but make it into cupcakes, top with the ganache, then microwave for a few seconds and you are in chocolate heaven (even more with vanilla ice cream)! Thanks again! Gonna look for this book now icon_smile.gif

Tlcs Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 4:13am
post #14 of 14

Hello Everyone, I'm new here and fairly new to the whole cake world but I absolutely love it and have enjoyed reading all you have to share. I use box mixes and also enjoy dabbling with scratch recipes.

I've heard of people adding pudding to cake mixes and just read about adding sour cream. Forgive what is probably a basic question but what does each do fo the cake and how/when are they added. Is the pudding in the powder form and what about the sour cream? Thank you thank you... icon_smile.gif

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