What To Look For In A Recipe

Baking By gwertheim Updated 1 Sep 2015 , 6:45am by Norcalhiker

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gwertheim Posted 30 Aug 2015 , 11:09pm
post #1 of 5

Hello all, 

I'm skimming the Internet looking for recipes. I'm just curious if there's any key ingredients I should pay attention to that will make a good cake or cupcake


4 replies
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Norcalhiker Posted 31 Aug 2015 , 3:44am
post #2 of 5

For me it's not the ingredients, it's the baker's percentages (ratios) that make a cake.  

For instance,

sugar =/> flour by weight

eggs =/> fat by weight

liquids (including eggs) =/> sugar

In a commercial kitchen, the "recipe" binder is a list ratios.  If you research bakers percentages you will gain a better understanding of ratios.  You'll be able to look at a recipe and determine if there is too much egg, or not enough fat, or to much sugar, or too much liquid.  Published recipes frequently contain errors, so in reading a recipe, you'll recognize an error.

I found that once I understood ratios, I didn't need a recipe.  Now i make up my own recipes when I  see or eat something that inspires me.  Recently I had a wonderful ice cream that inspired me to create an almond cardamon cake with white chocolate chai tea ganache, and mocha Italian meringue buttercream.

A pie class I recently attended was designed for the home baker, so everything was presented in volume measurements, and when I asked the instructor if it was based on 4.25 oz of flour she said, "nope, it's based on a cup as written."  When I got home, I set the recipes aside and went to work on pie crust using ratios.  It took four tries, but I found the ratios to produce the all butter flaky crust I wanted.  

Also ratios allow for easy and consistent scale in production--doesn't matter if you need 20 cake layers or four, the ratios are the same.  A chef recently gave me a cake formula that started with 6 pounds of flour and said adjust the ratio to the number of layers you need.  

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gwertheim Posted 31 Aug 2015 , 10:08am
post #3 of 5

Hmm thanks for the insight 

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Shockolata Posted 31 Aug 2015 , 1:12pm
post #4 of 5

Thank you @Norcalhiker  this makes sense. It will help me tweak a recipe that I am not 100% happy with and might be able to reach a satisfactory solution :)

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Norcalhiker Posted 1 Sep 2015 , 6:45am
post #5 of 5

Shockolata, yes it's invaluable for tweeting.  theres a very popular white cake recipe that a lot of CC bakers rave about.  i tried it dozen times, but thought it too wet and did not like the center cupping.  But I liked the diverse use of fats.  So I created a new recipe using the combination of fats, but changed the ratios. I also changed the flours, the leavening and sugar ratios.  Adjusted it for the sheet cake method I prefer.  It's a completely different formula, but uses the fat combination I liked about the original formula.  It's my standard 2 step butter cake.

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