Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Warm from the oven


I always wanted to bake a cake or at least be a viewer when someone is baking a cake, because I loved cakes from the time I remember the Christmas days when one uncle (i don't seem to remember what i used to call him then) , used to always deliver cake to our house when Christmas time was nearing. It was like a reflex action for me to think those days when someone knocked during Christmas days , that it is the "cake uncle" :) .....I used to gladly collect the cake and give him a full fledged smile to show that I am very happy that he gave the cake to me. My mom could not bake as there was no oven in our home that time. But I used to listen to her very keenly how it is made. Though I knew the method, I never tried baking until after I got married. I am really grateful to my sweet husband who also encourages me in all my cooking experiments. If not for that encouragement, I would not even have the interest in starting such a blog. My hands on experience in baking cake had been a disappointment until recently. I am glad I learned from my mistakes while baking in the past. I did a lot of research on Internet and learnt what went wrong all this time. And recently I decided that I would try baking a simple cake for one last time before deciding that cake is not "my cup of tea" :)) ......glad to say that I indeed found the secret key to bake a simple cake. Now before I share it with you, let me say that this cake has eggs, but I will be including a egg less cake recipe as soon as I make one in my oven:) ........So here is the recipe:


Ingredients:

-------------



  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 cup white sugar (powdered sugar)

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1/ pinch salt

Method:



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F

  2. Grease and flour the baking vessel. I use a silicon baking vessel which bakes uniformly. But it is enough if you have a good baking vessel.

  3. Using a mixing spoon, cream butter, and sugar in the vessel in which you are planning to make the cake dough. When it is being creamed, the sugar completely mixes with the butter and eventually melts into it.

  4. Mix vanilla to this mixture and again mix it using the mixing spoon until well combined. The reason why I am mentioning the mixing spoon repeatedly is because this is very important. During my previous baking trials, I was using a electric beater to mix the cake ingredients, and it never tasted sweet. In fact it got beaten too much. The main thing in making cake is the correct proportion of the ingredients. So it is always good to have the set of measuring spoons and cups while baking cakes.

  5. After the vanilla is mixed, separate egg yolk and whites. Add yolk one at a time to the mix in the previous step. Blend it well using the mixing spoon.

  6. Measure baking powder in the flour and combine both of them in a sieve. Don't forget to keep a vessel underneath the sieve while combining the baking powder and flour. Also don't forget to add the flour in this vessel to the mix in step 3 , after all the flour in the sieve is added. Remember what I told about proportion? Its important not to leave any remaining flour in any vessel.

  7. Sieve a little of the flour mix into the mix in step 3. Again blend it well with the spoon.

  8. Add a little of milk and blend it again.

  9. Repeat the process in step 7 and 8 alternately until all the flour and milk is blended into the mix.

  10. Beat the egg whites which were separated in step 5 until stiff peaks are formed. Now this step can be done with a electric egg beater or manually. When the stiff white peaks are formed, it is ready to be blended with the mix.

  11. Blend the beaten whites , gently , with the mix. Use a folding action while blending the egg whites. Using a mixing spoon, starting from the center, fold the mix, from center to outside, just like in concentric circles in a whirlpool. Its again important to note that the egg whites should never be mixed very harshly with the cake mix.

  12. Add a dash of salt and blend it well.

  13. Pour the cake batter in the greased and floured baking vessel and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Another thing to be noted is, do not peek in the oven by opening the door until the time specified in the recipe. Each time you open the oven door, the temperature varies. If you have a oven light, leave it on, so that you can see the baking process. If not, I guess its better to wait patiently:)

  14. After the cake is done, remove the cake from oven and let it cool in the baking vessel. You can start cutting the cake or decorating with frosting once the cake cools.

  15. There is something else I would want to share with you from the research I did on baking, and that is, if the recipe for cake mentions baking soda or baking powder, do not directly substitute one for the other as it affects the taste and texture of the cake. Both baking powder and baking soda are two different chemicals. I used baking soda for the first time when I was trying to bake this cake and it turned out to be bitter. If you are short of baking powder, you may use baking soda + buttermilk. I hope that you bake a wonderful cake for your near and dearest ones this Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas filled with joy, hope, and warmth!

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