Characteristics/Quality of cake or scoring of cake
Following characteristics considered for scoring a cake are
1. External characteristics namely
i) Volume (ii) Colour of the crust (iii) Symmetry of form (iv) Crust character and (v) Bloom.
2. Internal characteristics such as
i) Grain ii) Crumb colour iii) Aroma iv) Taste v) Texture and vi) Shelf life.
I. External characteristics
Cake volume depends on the types of cake and weight of batter. A well-risen cake will have a pleasing appearance with slight convex top surface. A cake should not appear too small or too large for its weight. For example, a cake should be of medium volume so that its interior wall has good appearance and construction.
ii) Colour of crust
Colour of the crust differs in different types of cakes. So no one term is applicable to all kind of colour. There should be harmony between cake colour and crust colour. The crust should have a pleasing golden brown colour. Too dark or too light or dull colour is not desirable. Crust must have a uniform colour, free foam dark streaks or sugar spots or grease spots.
Cake should have a symmetrical appearance. Peaking, crack in top surface, low sides. Sunken or high center, burst, caves in bottom or uneven top are undesirable characteristics of cake.
The term crust character applies to the condition of the crust and will vary with the type of cake. A good cake should have a thin and tender crust. Thick, rubbery, sticky or over moist, too tender, tough or blistery crusts are indicative of poor quality cakes.
The term bloom refers to sheen. A good live colour with brilliance is the sigh of a good bloom.
II. Internal characteristics
Grain varies according to the type of cake. Uniform cell size and cell wall are desirable qualities. Coarseness, thick cell walls, uneven size of cells, large holes and tunnels indicate the poor qualities of the cake.
ii) Crumb colour
Colour of the crumb should be uniform. It should not have streaks or dark patches, grey, non-uniform dark, light or dull colour.
Aroma of the cake should be appetizing. The air in the cell structure carries the aroma. A good cake aroma should be pleasant, sweet and natural. Flat, musty, strong or sharp aromas are indicative of poor quality.
Taste is a very important character. It depends on the types of raw materials used in the production of cake. Excess salt and soda will affect the taste. It should be pleasant, sweet and satisfying.
Texture should be smooth and pliable as felt by the sense of touch. It depends on the physical condition of the crumb and the type of grain. A good texture should be soft, velvety, without weakness and it should not be crumbly. Rough, harsh, too compact, lumpy or too loose textures are not desirable.
vi) Shelf life
Keeping quality or shelf life is very important in cakes. It varies according to the type of cakes, richness, method and the ingredients. However, regardless of the type of cake it should have good keeping quality. It should stay fresh or in a moist condition for longer time.
The term sponge cake denotes a light well aerated cake with small even size air bubbles throughout the cake. This cake is made out of eggs, sugar, flour and butter or fat. During beating the eggs with sugar, the small air cells are incorporated and they give volume and softness. This character can be adjusted by making small adjustment in the formula. Examples of sponge cakes are fatless sponge, Genoise sponge, butter sponge and gel sponge.