I'm a hobby baker in the UK and have always used a recipe that has roughly the same weight of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. I think this is known as a pound cake in the US but to me it's just normal homemade cake. The chocolate version is a light brown colour and a bit crumbly, though it carves OK if frozen.
Are bakery cakes usually made with this type of recipe? Shop bought chocolate cake always seems darker in colour and softer then mine, though not necessarily any tastier.
Is there a better type of cake that I could be making? I know there are 1000s of different recipes, but it's hard to compare them without making them and I can't afford the time or money to do that. Are there some basic cake types?
Sorry for the rather vague questions.
i want to give you two recipes but both are in u.s. measurements which is discouraging me from posting and i'm concerned if i do the conversion i might screw it up--so i started to do the conversion and my calculator said 202 grams of flour but the recipe in the link says 384 grams?? so i'm not going there--but here's two great recipes if you can get past the language barrier better than i can--
all that to say yes there are other softer recipes out there so go for it--
the chocolate cake i make as written--it is nothing but perfect--
the sylvia cake, i use 2.5 cups of flour and i delete two egg yolks--when i add the eggs into the batter i do not beat them separately--i add them to the creamed butter/sugar and mix them in very well and proceed from there--
best baking to you
This was interesting to read and I'm glad I'm not alone, haha. From the UK also and I posted the vanilla cake recipe I use here once and got told it must be a pound cake. I've never seen it as pound cake, just ordinary vanilla sponge. Like yours, it has roughly the same ingredient amounts.
I've done the chocolate version a few times but I much prefer an American recipe for that (the Hershey's one), because the texture of the old one was too crumbly.
I think the main difference in general is the amount of liquid used for the batter.
Edit to add:
So I don't have much advice for you as far as new vanilla cake recipes go (because I've tried changing my basic 'pound cake' recipe and nothing has turned out as good, so far)....... other than to just search for the two types of cake made in the US, white cake and yellow cake. I think a basic yellow cake like the one k8 posted may be what you're looking for? The weight conversions and hard-to-find ingredients usually put me off... especially cake flour.
Generally speaking, I have always found US cakes use a lot more sugar than UK cakes do and can be very sweet for our Brit taste buds (although that Hershey one looks rather lush so will definitely give it a try - thanks K8memphis!!) The last one I tried called for nearly twice the amount of sugar I normally would use and gave a totally different texture :-s I too have had huge problems converting the cups to grams so ended up just buying a cup measure from Asda...about £2, problem solved. I know some say that it isn't as accurate as grams but so far, I haven't had any problems (and it saves looking every ingredient up each time).
In terms of the store bought vs home made, remember that the shop ones will have preservatives etc to keep them fresh. If you buy a box cake mix then you will probably find it's closer in flavour/texture but still not quite the same. I tend to use a slightly adapted Victoria sponge mix for plain cakes (200 sugar/flour/butter 4 eggs) and then a chocolate fudge cake for chocolate cakes. Carving Victoria sponge cakes can be a bit of a pain so maderia cake is a bit easier. In honesty, I have no idea what recipes bakeries/shops use...but people who have bought cakes off me seem happy with them :-) Hope that helps!
'them' means-- i do not beat the egg yolks and the egg whites separately as the recipe calls for i just plop them all into the creamed mixture ;)
Thanks K8memphis. You've answered a few of my questions in the past and always have great advice. Is the Hershey's cake any good for carving and stacking? Does it freeze well?
I had a look at a few conversion websites and they all say something different, so I'll invest in a set of cups and do it that way. I still can't get my head round the inaccuracies of using cups as I've always used weighing scales, but I'll give it a go.
thank you louglou, very kind of you, glad that i can help--being retired is like a vague feeling of playing hookey from school but nobody's calling the house checking ;) it's like i probably should be doing some currently unspecified thing but it can wait--hahaha -- maybe i should crank up the gingerbread machine for valentine's...i'm dangerous w/gingerbread
hershey's freezes great--i don't think i ever sculpted with it but it would be fine--makes beautiful layer cakes--and please make the icing--you will not ever be sorry for that--
i know--what is the deal with the conversions? crazee--
but don't worry at all about the cup measure--works fine--i whisk the top of the flour to loosen it up a bit before i measure--no worries--
i mean i've used the balanced baker's scales and digital scales and 'cups' work great too