About The Baking

March 2, 2016

I’m always intrigued at the way people look at cake. Not the decorated outside of a cake, but the cake - the part you can't wait to sink your teeth into.

For me, the cake that’s underneath the utter gorgeousness of it all should never be just a means to an end. Yet, in the rush and busy of a lot of bakeries, cake is often treated that way, as if it's nothing special.  Toss a bunch of mix or ingredients into a commercial mixing bowl and hit 'start.'   As you take in the art and detail of a beautiful cake, the expectation is – or should be – that it is equally delicious.    This expectation is formed at the first sight, and you have every right to expect delicious perfection.  When it fails, it’s disappointing. Without being overly dramatic, someone’s moment has been ruined.

Why does this happen?  It goes back to the baking.  Care is necessary in the baking process.  It’s important to understand how cake ingredients work together and how they contribute to the final product. Of equal importance is how to handle those ingredients in the mixing process. Over mixed cake batter results in a tough cake.  Over baking results in cakes that are dry. Poor quality ingredients equal a cake that lacks flavor.  For fillings, good texture is vital.  Lumps, grit, grease-y – all textures that don’t belong in a cake filling.   When you go on a cake tasting, taste for flavor and purity in a product.  In other words, never accept something as “chocolate” just because it’s dark brown. While I’m at it, vanilla beans aren’t white. Vanilla beans are a beautiful hue of brown. So if someone hands you something white and calls it ‘vanilla,’ it’s an artificial ‘clear vanilla’ product.

Somehow, along the way, it became acceptable that cake doesn’t need to taste good because no one will eat it anyway.  I don’t know where that came from. What I can tell you is that when a cake tastes great, everyone wants it.    Isn’t that the way it should be?