Intro: How to Make Cake
Marie-Antoinette is attributed to have said "Let them eat cake"...........Linuxmom says let me show you how to make cake. Cake is perfect for the beginner baker and is a great introduction to cooking for children. Here you will learn how to make a simple cake from "scratch". A cake straight from the heart.
Step 1: Prep and Gather
The first step in making a cake is to ensure that you have all the ingredients needed. Nothing is worse than to discover in the middle of mixing the batter that you've run out of eggs or baking powder.
Beginner bakers should assemble all ingredients in the work area. (LinuxH4x0r know that "mom" just checks the cupboards to make sure she has everything.)
Next preheat your oven and prep the pans you will use.
Cupcake pans should be greased and floured. Alternatively, use paper liners.
For round cake pans, line with waxed paper then grease and flour.
Square pans can be greased and floured.
Step 2: My Favorite Cake Recipe
2 1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 2/3 cups Sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups Milk
2/3 cups Butter (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Note: Vegetable oil or shortening may be substituted for the butter
Recipe adapted from the Betty Crocker Cook Book
Step 3: Mixing the Batter
Mix all dry ingredients together lightly to distribute. (Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt).
Add in milk, butter, and vanilla. Stir until well mixed. (Old cookbook would suggest 100 strokes).
Beat in eggs. (300 strokes?? This depends on how light and fluffy you want you cake to be.)
Batter should now be uniform in texture and color. If not, continue to beat until uniformity reached.
Step 4: Baking Your Cake.
Pouring the batter and baking times depend of the size of pan(s) you have chosen:
CUPCAKES : Fill cups to 1/2 full. Should make approx 30 cupcakes.
Bake 20 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.
13 X 9" PAN : Pour all batter into pan. Distribute bater evenly.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
ROUND PANS : Divide batter evenly between both pans. Tap pans gentle to distribute batter
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Pans should be placed on the middle rack of a preheated oven.
Step 5: The Science of Baking a Cake
The flour in your cake give it structure. The gluten in the flour coagulates during baking providing the support for the oils and sugar.
Sugar tenderizes the gluten and acts as a sweetener (Mmmmm.....). It also carmelizes during baking giving us the delious brown crusty top. Furthermore, the sugar retains moisture and keeps your cake moist and savory for days.
Baking powder acts as the leavening agent creating gas vapors that create the volume in your cake.
Oils help incorporate air into the cake giving it volume. (It' s cake not a cookie!)
Eggs help the flour in providing structure to the cake by coagulating during baking.
The liquid in the cake (milk) serves to dissovle the sugar, provides consistency for the batter and controls the temperature in the oven.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Enjoy your cake any way you like it. Warn from the oven, as a lunchbox treat, or frosted and decorated.
Happy birthday to patriarch of the Linux family! (We'll try to get a cake decorated before you get home, but we know you prefer it plain!)
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Burning Questions: Round 6