I recently read Animation in Sugar by Carlos Lischetti, and decided to try his sponge recipe, a classic Victoria Sponge (equal amounts of egg, butter, sugar and flour). I layered and filled it right after it had cooled down, ate some with my mom and it was beautiful. However, I wanted to test how it would taste after being in the fridge, so I put the left overs just like that inside (I know, blasphemy). Next day it was terrible, the cake had somewhat hardened and dried. My guess is, because I didn't protect it with film or a container, and didn't wait for it to come to room temp before eating (couldn't wait :D )
Now, here is my confusion; In the book, Lischetti writes a tip: "I recommend that you layer the cake with the filling three days before you decorate it. The cake will mature in flavour and will be evenly moist." He also instructs on how to make this inside the pan you baked in, and store it in the fridge until needed. I actually was taught this in the past and do it always for no more than 2 days, but the recipe I usually use is a light sponge without butter. I assemble the cake inside my pan lined with film and then wrap it all very tightly with cling film. In the fridge they go. After 2 days in, they come out to be decorated, firm enough for fondant and decorations to be applied, or carving, and my customers have never complained about it being hard or dry.
But, since I loved the taste and texture of the butter sponge so much and wanted to change my usual recipe, I tried it once more, and did the firming up in the fridge, because my friend ordered a perishable filling (whipped cream mixed with a fruit puree and dulce de leche). I was quite nervous about the sponge getting too hard and dry, like the one I had first tested, but I made sure of wrapping everything up really well. I left it in for two days before decorating, and once decorated the night before the pick up, I didn't return it to the fridge. She was supposed to pick it up next morning but it ended up being at 2 pm, she must have served it at about 3 or 4, and had nothing but raves about it, everyone was happy.
I have read that putting cake in the fridge accelerates the going stale process, and this is why I am confused. After all this babbling: Did the wrapping help? Was it all the time that it stayed outside the fridge that made it go back to the tender, soft state?
I guess I should just make a small version for myself and see.
I appreciate all your thoughts and comments on the matter! you've all helped me a great deal in my learning process.
Thanks in advance,
AHi there, I always use an equal amounts sponge recipe.....weigh the eggs in shells, then that is the figure in ounces of butter, sugar and self raising flour., Always works well for me.
I never refrigerate before cutting it unless it has a perishable filling or topping, but then the topping seals in the moisture. Any cut slices that need to be kept, I use a sealed plastic tub.
If it is a sponge with buttercream (using proper butter and not marg or trex), or a sponge covered in fondant then I keep it in a sealed metal tin in my cool pantry or kitchen. Quite often a fondant decorated cake will only fit into my larger plastic sealable cake carrier. My cakes last a good week like this...(to be honest they are generally eaten before then :) )
AI refrigerate all my cakes, once filled and iced. I never let naked cake sit in the fridge not covered though, that will dry it right out. Some cakes are just not meant to be eaten cold either, I have a chocolate one that is amazing cold, but my vanilla needs to be room temp, or it has an awful dry mouth feel.