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discover the tricks to make it fluffy

23 mayo, 2021

How many times has it happened to me that, after dedicating time and desire to make the dough for my cakes, an inedible mazacote or a cake that looks good but raw inside has come out of the oven. What anger I have felt. However, after many years baking homemade cakes, I have discovered the tricks to make me fluffy.

To prevent, as far as possible, this from happening to you, I tell you the tricks so that you get your homemade cakes to come out fluffy and perfect. All of them, the result of practice and own experience. I hope they serve you or that, at least, you can take them as a reference to adapt them to your kitchens.

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When it comes to making homemade cakes, the most important points To take into account so that they come out fluffy are: the ingredients, the dough, the baking and the conservation.

The ingredients

  • Before starting, you have to have all ingredients weighed accurately available. Pastry is an exact science and leaves little room for variation. It is not like the kitchen, in which we can work by eye and obtain good results. It is no wonder that recipes in professional pastry are called formulas.
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  • The ingredients must be at room temperature, unless the recipe or formula indicates otherwise, to avoid that the dough is cut at some point during the shake. To do this, we remove everything necessary from the refrigerator for a while before starting the preparation.

  • The size of the eggs is important. In general, if the recipe does not indicate anything, the reference is that of size M eggs, whose weight ranges between 55 and 65 grams per unit. If we do not have size M eggs, we must translate the required quantity into grams and weigh the available egg. This way we will avoid adding more liquid than necessary to our doughs.

  • Add salt to the mix, in a very small quantity, it helps to enhance the flavor of sweets and, in this case, of sponge cakes. A pinch of salt mixed with the flour will be welcome. But we can also do without it if our cake requires butter and we use the one that contains salt.

  • If our cake is chocolate or cocoa, another ingredient that helps enhance the final flavor is coffee. It’s amazing what a tablespoon of espresso can provoke in the dough. What a result.

  • Converting an Egg Cake Recipe into a Chocolate Cake RecipeAll we have to do is add cocoa powder and adjust the amount of flour to compensate. That is, if we add 80 grams of cocoa to the dough, we have to subtract 80 grams of flour. We mix both ingredients and add them together to the dough.

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  • The type of flour to use is common wheat flour. There are many mixes that add chemical propellant to the flour and market it as cake flour, which avoids having to add the propellant later. However, my recommendation is to use wheat flour and propellant separately, so we control the amount we use of the latter.

  • The chemical booster It is what, popularly, we call and know as Royal yeast. It is the correct ingredient to make sponge cakes, since it reacts with heat during baking. We must never confuse it with baker’s yeast (whether fresh or dry). Its use is optional.

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  • Aromatizing the dough is recommended for add a touch of subtle flavor to the biscuits. Use essences, such as vanilla, or lemon, orange or lime zest. Let the skins of these fruits dry (without any white) and pulverize them with an electric mixer. They last in perfect condition for a long time and are wonderful natural flavorings.

Mass

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  • The dough for a sponge cake has to contain a lot of air. We can achieve this with a suitable shake which can be done with whole eggs, along with sugar, or with separated eggs, yolks and sugar on one side and whites on the other. The difference is negligible in the end result, not the process.

  • Beat the whole eggs with the sugar is a bit laborious, it costs more to assemble them and incorporate the necessary air into them. If we beat them near a heat source or even in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water, the process speeds up and the result is excellent. When the dough has tripled in volume and turned whitish, we can stop beating.

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  • The incorporation of air into the dough is also done by sifting the flour, or flour together with cocoa in the case of brownies. If we do this step correctly, it will not be necessary to use a chemical impeller. However, if we choose to use it, we also sift it together with the flour.

  • It is convenient add the flour to the beaten egg immediately, so that the incorporated air is not lost, as well as stir very gently and as little as possible. It is best to do it little by little, stirring from the bottom up with a tongue, and do not add more flour until the previous one has not been fully incorporated and there are no lumps.

Baking

  • Once the dough is ready, waiting is not allowed and you have to bake the cake immediately. To do this, we must have our mold prepared and the oven at the right temperature. So that the dough does not stick to the mold, we spread it with butter and sprinkle it with flour, removing the excess by tapping it, gently, upside down.

  • We can transfer the dough to the mold using a pastry bagThis way we will get it to be well distributed over the entire surface. This is important if we are going to use a baking sheet and make a sponge cake sheet, but it is not necessary in the case of traditional molds.

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  • Usually, the proper oven temperature is 180ºC, the heat coming from the upper and lower parts alike. The use of air or turbo is optional, but if it is used, the temperature must be adjusted by reducing it by about 10ºC. The best place to bake the cake is in the center of the oven and if it is placed on a tray, much better than on a rack. This way the heat will reach it in the same way on all sides.

  • Having said that, each oven is a world and these are the indications that I use with mine. It is important to experiment with yours to find the temperature, position and height that work with yours. As a reference, I will tell you that a cake that rises only on the sides, needs more heat, and that a cake that rises excessively through the center, needs less heat.

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  • One of the golden rules of baking cakes is to do not open the oven during the process, at least for 2/3 of the required cooking time. After this time, it is perfectly safe to open the oven door to check the doneness or to cover with aluminum foil if the surface becomes excessively browned.

  • Regarding the cooking or baking time, this is key so that our homemade cakes do not dry out excessively. As a general rule, you have to bake seven minutes for each centimeter of thickness of the dough. In the case of baking brownies, the baking time increases to 10 minutes. However, we must always follow the instructions in the recipe.

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The conservation

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  • Once the cake is cooked, we transfer the mold to a cooling rack and we let it warm up before handling or unmolding it. With this we make sure that the crumb settles and will not crumble when we cut it.

  • One of my favorite tricks to get my homemade cakes juicy is to place it, hot, inside a plastic bag, tightly closed, and let it cool inside. In this way, steam is generated inside the bag that the cake absorbs and the result is a very juicy crumb.

  • When our homemade cake is very cold, we can keep it inside an airtight containerThis way we prevent it from hardening. Although this only happens if there are leftovers, a strange phenomenon in my house with two zampa biscuits like the ones I have as children wanting to sink my teeth into it.

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And so far my batch of tricks to make homemade cakes fluffy. I am sure that many of them already knew them, as well as I am counting on you to have some of your own that I have not mentioned and that you are encouraged to share them with us. Let’s see if, among all of us, we can become expert home-made cake bakers.

Images I smcgee, Laura Taylor, MiniQQ, Liliana Fuchs on Flickr
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