Baking is a science and it is imperative to understand why you would combine one ingredient with another, and together what they would contribute to the final dish.
So, this week I learned the “creaming method”—one of the most commonly practiced methods of mixing and forming the batter.
The creaming method refers to beating together fat and sugar, then adding eggs, followed by the dry and wet ingredients. This marriage of ingredients gets complicated if you mess up the actual “creaming”, i.e., your speed and the time for which you beat.
Pastry Chef Online suggests that when you are making cookies, you must cream slowly, but if you’re making a cake, you need to cream on a higher speed for a longer period of time to get a lighter result. Oh, and also, if the recipe states an ingredient is to be used at room temperature, obey it.
This picture is an example of a flat, overmixed butter cake. Though, it tasted amazing!
But, I tried this recipe again by doing some homework on the creaming method and made a double layer butter cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.
FOR THE CAKE:
½ cup butter, softened
1¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 eggs, at room temperature
1½ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder, sifted
¼ tsp baking soda, sifted
½ cup milk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING: (Adapted from BBC Food)
60g butter, softened
120g icing sugar
28g cocoa powder, sifted
1-2 tbsp milk, at room temperature
Preheat the oven in convection mode to 150°C (300°F). Grease and line a 8″ round cake tin with butter/parchment paper. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy at medium speed. The keywords here are: light and fluffy. Here is a very useful description.
Add the powdered sugar and start mixing slowly. As the mixture becomes softer and well combined, you can mix faster. The mixture is supposed to increase in volume and take on a paler colour.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Combine these REALLY well.
Now, mix half of the dry ingredients to the buttery mixture, followed by half of the liquids (milk and vanilla essence). Remember to keep scraping the bowl to incorporate the ingredients properly.
Finally, add some of the dry ingredients, mix; the remaining liquids, mix; the remaining dry; mix.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely. If making layers, invert the cakes and remove the butter paper.
For making the chocolate buttercream frosting, beat butter, then add half of the sugar. Mix well, and add the remaining sugar. Stir in the cocoa powder and milk. Add more milk, if necessary. To thicken the frosting, add more sugar.
Spread it evenly on top of the inverted butter cake. Stack the second layer and cover the sides and top with the frosting, until the time you’re satisfied.
These cakes are supremely moist and fragile, so just be careful when you’re stacking the layers, because confession: my second cake did break a bit, thereby giving me a tiny heart attack. But, that is why God invented frosting. Ta-da! 🙂