Ingredients used in cake preparation
The basic ingredients used for cake preparation are soft wheat flour (or the flour which is used for bread preparation), sugar, fat, and eggs.
i) Basic ingredients
■Flour – Normally a mixture of soft and medium flour in a particular proportion is used for rich cakes like wedding cakes, Christmas cakes and special birthday cakes
☆Provide good structure
☆Determine the shelf life of product.
☆Improve nutritional merits
☆Act as an absorbing and a binding agent
☆Improve the adhering capacity of ingredients and distributes evenly in the mixture.
Coarsely powdered sugar is more suitable for cake making. Liquid sugars like honey, molasses, invert sugar can also be used. These impart special flavour and improves colour of cake crust.
☆Acts as a tenderizer
☆Helps in acquiring volume in cakes
☆Gives a golden brown crust colour when caramelized.
Fat is the main ingredient in cake preparation.
☆Helps the product to be tender
☆Improves shelf life by holding the moisture for a longer time
☆Enhances the flavour and aroma
☆Provides nutritional importance as well as softness.
☆Holds the air during creaming.
Fresh eggs are used for cake preparations. Eggs should be at room temperature (21-24oC) at the time of adding into the mixture. Eggs are beaten during creaming operation because once the eggs are beaten, the small air cells are incorporated and it will increase the number of air cells in the mixture.
☆Provides structure, gives moisture and colour
☆Improves the flavour, taste, volume
☆Gives nutritional value
☆Improves the grain and texture
☆Lecithin present in the yolk acts as an emulsifier
☆Entraps air and becomes an aerating agent during beating eggii.
ii) Optional ingredients
a. Fruits and Nuts
Fruits should be washed and drained properly. The washed fruits should be spread on dry cloth to remove excess moisture. It should be finely chopped before adding into the mixture, the fruit size should be even, otherwise it will sink at the bottom of the cake. If the fruit contains moisture it will breakdown during mixing, discolour the batter and sink at the bottom. Nuts should be soaked in water until they become soft (for about half an hour) before use. Fruits and nuts are added at the last stage of mixing in batter.
b. Addition of Salt
☆Gives the flavour and taste
☆Lowers the caramelization temperature of the sugar, and improves the crust colour of the cake
☆Keeps the cake moist and improves quality of the texture
☆Helps to improve the natural flavour of the ingredients
☆Reduces the extra sweetness in the preparation of some special formula cakes where more sugar is needed.
c. Addition of Milk
☆Builds the structure
☆Helps to bind the flour proteins
☆Keeps the cake tender
☆Helps to retain the moisture
☆Improves the nutritive value, taste and flavour
☆Contains lactose which helps to give crust colour
☆Improves the keeping quality.
d. Addition of Water
☆Combines all the dry ingredients together.
☆Builds structure of cakes and maintain the batter consistency
☆Retains moisture in the cake.
☆Improves the shelf life.
☆It helps to release carbon dioxide gas from baking powder and formation of vapor pressure.
e. Addition of Leavening Agents
☆Increases the volume of the products.
☆Makes the product tender and soft
☆Enhances the crumb colour, taste and smell (aroma)
☆Improves the digestion quality.
For the quality cake, it is essential to use quality raw materials and should follow correct measurements, methods, processing and baking. If there are any changes or mistakes it will affect the quality of cake. This is called as faults.
Common Faults in Selection of Ingredients for Preparation of Cakes