Before you begin the mixing, making sure that all the necessary utensils are ready and within easy reach. All the ingredients should be accurately weighed out and prepared. The baking tins should be greased with salt-less fat and the oven heated to appropriate temperature. The fat must be well blended with tge other ingredients.
Use good quality ingredients, example. Fresh eggs must be used, the flour should be dry and free from any offensive odour. The fat should neither be too hard nor too oily. The raising agent should be evenly mixed with other ingredients. Eggs should be added one at a time and the mixture well beaten before any further addition. Curdling is due to the fat separating from the sugar and the eggs. This can be prevented by warming the bowl slightly in warm water. Curdled mixture will hold less air than an uncurdled one.
Handle cake-mixture lightly and beat in an upward direction. Avoid opening the door of the oven frequently so as to maintain a fairly constant temperature within the oven. When baking cakes and pastry the oven should not, if possible, be used for any other purpose. Moist heat from other foods will destroy crispness. Also avoid slamming the door of the oven.
Do not open the door of the oven until 10 minutes after putting in small cakes or 30 minutes for large cakes. Allow the cake to set before moving it. Cakes with a high proportion old fruit should be cooled in the tin and should never be stored until cold. When cooked, the cake will be well risen, golden brown and firm on top. A large cake shrinks slightly from the sides of the tin when it is cooked. Insert a clean brown straw or skewer at the center of large cakes. If this comes out clean then the cake is ready. For small cakes, press the center lightly with the finger, if it leaves no impression then the cake are done. Store in an airtight dry tin lined grease-proof paper.
METHODS OF MAKING CAKES
The richness of a cake depends mainly upon the proportion of the fat and eggs to flour used. The higher the proportion of these, the richer the cake. Some of the methods of making cakes are;
- Rubbing-in method: In this method, the fat is rubbed into the flour with the finger-tips until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. This method is good for simple buns, plain cakes and scones.
2. Creaming method: In this case, both the fat and sugar are used in equal proportion. They are beaten together until creamy. Wedding, birthday and Christmas cakes are produced with this method. Also sponge cakes like Victoria Sandwich and small cakes like Queen cakes are produced with this method.
3. Whisking method: Here the eggs and sugar are whisked together until thick and frothy. The flour is then folded in lightly. This method is used for plain sponge cakes.
4. Melting method: In this method, the fat with the sweetening agents, example; sugar or syrup are melted together. This method is used for making ginger bread.
RECIPES FOR CAKES
Recipe:500gm of flour
1 egg made up to 1/4 pt with water or milk
1 level teaspoon salt
4 level teaspoons baking powder
- Sieve flour with baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- Rub fat lightly into flour with the finger-tips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs or fine garri with no lumps of fat. Lift the flour high in the bowl while rubbish to entrap more air.
- Add the sugar.
- Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour and mix thoroughly until a soft, mouldably sticky dough is formed.
- Divide into small portions and put them on a greased tray, allowing at least a centimeter of space around each one or put into appropriate greased baking tins.
- Bake in a preheated oven (400 degree F) for 15 minutes
Basic Recipe:175gm of self raising flour
125g of salt
125g of sugar
Vanilla essence, few drops (optional)
- Cream sugar and fat together until soft, white and creamy. Use a wooden spoon and work lightly with a circular motion.
- Add the beaten eggs by degrees, continuing the creaming between each addition. If mixture begins to curdle add a little flour to make it smooth again.
- Using a metal spoon, fold in one-third of the flour, adding a little milk if necessary. Repeat with the second one-third of the flour and a little milk.
- Add any fruit available and the final third of the flour to which baking powder has been added. Add more milk if necessary to give the mixture a soft dropping consistency, that is, it should be soft enough to drop from the spoon. Add the essence.
- Bake in a moderate oven, small cakes for 20 minutes and a little longer for larger cakes.
Basic method50g of dried fruit
25g of candied peel
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- Follow creaming method discussed above. Make mixture to a dropping consistency
- Half fill well-greased patty tins and bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes
Basic RecipePLain sponge cake
80g of flour
100g of castor sugar
3-4 teaspoons baking powder
- Sieve the flour and baking powder
- Sieve the sugar separately
- Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk them for about 5 minutes
- Add the sugar lightly and continue to whisk until the mixture has doubled its bulk and becomes thick and white.
- Stand the bowl over a pan of hot water while whisking, this helps to increase volume and to thicken the mixture.
- Be careful not to make the water too hot and to to allow the bowl to touch the water or else the eggs will curdle and texture will be spoilt.
- Remove from the heat and scatter about one half of the flour lightly over the mixture then fold it in lightly with a metal spoon, being careful not to expel the air which has been whisked into egg.
- Scatter the remaining flour over the mixture and continue folding until all is absorbed.
- Pour the mixture lightly into a cake tin which has been greased and dusted with a teaspoonful of flour and castor sugar mixed together.
- Dredge the surface lightly with castor sugar and bake in a moderate oven for about 3/4-1 hour. Be careful not to overcook sponge mixtures or they will shrink and become tough.
Basic Recipes400g of flour
1/2 paint of milk
200g of sugar
1 level teaspoon of baking powder
1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
300g of syrub
1 teaspoon of salt
150g of magarine
- Sift flour, salt and raising agent into a bowl and rub in the fat. Stir in the sugar
- Stir in enough milk to make a light, spongy dough
- Turn on to a floured pastry board, knead very lightly to make it smooth, roll lightly to 1 inch thick
- Cut rounds with a sharp cutter, or cut into triangles or diamonds with a sharp knife
- Mould trimmings together, roll out and cut
- Place on a floured baking sheet. Brush the tops with milk and bake in a hot oven for 7-10 minutes till brown and well risen
- Cool on a rack