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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cake Types

This may be preaching to the choir. A barter group publishes this message every month, and has done so for the last 5+ years. I am not sure I could have passed a test on this before I read this information. Most of it redundant, but maybe you can glean bits of heretofore unknown-to-you facts.

Cake Types Information
By: The Southern Living Cookbook, 1987,

Shortening Cakes:
There are two basic kinds of cakes. Most are classified as shortening or butter cakes; the others are sponge-type cakes, discussed later..

Shortening cakes are the type you probably bake most often. They include the basic white, yellow, and chocolate cakes, pound cakes, fruitcakes, and any others that are made with shortening, butter, or margarine (use only stick-type margarine, not whipped). They usually depend on baking powder or baking soda for leavening. Sometimes eggs are added whole; sometimes
they're separated and the whites beaten until fluffy before adding.
Unless the recipe specifies otherwise, use the standard mixing procedure.

Pound Cakes:
Pound cakes take their name from the original recipe -- a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Today's pound cakes include more ingredients than the original recipe, but the rich flavor still prevails.

Fruit and Nut Cakes:
Especially around holiday time, many Southerners look for those chunky
fruit and nut cakes that typify the season. The most popular kind of
holiday fruitcake, our version of which is called Light Fruitcake, can be baked up to three weeks in advance. Soak the cake in brandy to keep it moist and flavorful until its Christmas debut.

Start with a Mix:
Keep a few packages of cake mix on hand for occasions when you're short on time and ingredients. These recipes add just a few extras to the mix that will win you compliments every time. In fact you'll probably find yourself making these recipes even when you have enough time to bake from scratch.

Examine the label of the cake mix closely before you buy it. Different brands of the same flavor of cake mix can vary greatly, and it can make a big difference in the end product if you don't use the intended brand.
Make sure to choose the exact ounce size specified in the recipe, and check to see whether or not pudding is included in the mix.

Angel, Sponge, and Chiffon Cakes:
Often grouped together in food textbooks under the label of "foam" cakes, these desserts are noted for their lightness and delicacy. They all depend on beaten egg whites for their characteristic texture, while subtle differences distinguish the three types of cakes.

Angel food cakes are the purest. They contain no leavening, no egg yolks, and no shortening. Sponge cakes contain yolks as well as beaten whites, andsometimes leavening; they never contain shortening.

Sponge cake batters are often used for jelly roll-type cakes.
Chiffon cakes contain qualities of both foam and shortening cakes. Their lightness comes from beaten egg whites, but they do contain egg yolks, leavening, and shortening or oil.

Egg whites play an important role in foam cakes, so handle them so they'll yield the best volume. Separate the eggs as soon as they are removed  from the refrigerator, but allow the whites to come to room temperature before beating. Always beat the whites just before adding them to the batter; they'll lose volume even if beaten and set aside for a few minutes.

Foam cakes are commonly baked in tube pans, but make sure the pans are not greased. The batter will cling to the sides and rise higher in ungreased pans.

Cool foam cakes upside-down to prevent shrinking and falling. To cool, invert the hot cake pan. If the pan has feet, let it cool on the feet. If not, set the pan over the neck of a bottle so air can circulate beneath it.  When cool, gently loosen the sides with a knife.

Your turn
Anything helpful there?


  1. I don't think I've ever met a cake I didn't like...unless it had walnuts in it. :-)

  2. Sue,
    Come to think of it, I like all cakes, too. Do you not like walnuts or any nut in a cake?

    I will eat walnuts, if I must. However, if I have a recipe that calls for walnuts, I substitute pecans. I do love pecans, but the main reason is that I have pecans that I either gather or buy each year.

  3. I like the Cake Doctor. I've made a number of her cakes, and they were all good.


    1. I second vote for The Cake Doctor. I have only had a problem with one of her recipes. Her recipe for coconut cake gave me trouble even before I tried to bake it. The frosting called for frozen fresh coconut. Frozen coconut is not available here but I came across some in New Orleans and carried it home in my backpack....After that beginning it just went down hill! LOL Her chocolate cherry cake is amazing!

      My husband likes cake but I prefer pie. Pie = yummy!

    2. Janet,
      I don't get that. But, I have seen it a couple of times. And, I cannot get the unsweetened coconut. We could just slaughter a coconut and grate it like my mother always did for cake frosting.

    3. Janie,
      I wish I could get that show!

    4. I don't know anything about a show. I have her book.

    5. There was a cake show several years ago.

  4. The cake doctor is a book not a show. I have a spare copy. If you send me your address I will send it to you.

    1. Oh, there is a cake show, but it has been years since I have seen it. I was at a friend's house.


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