I realized this post is necessary especially recently since we sell recipe booklets to Bakers and Bakerettes all over Kenya with various baking skill levels. Some are seasoned bakers; however, some are new in the industry and may not understand many aspects and techniques in baking.
One of the important things to know about cake is that professional bakers don’t refer to types of cakes as flavors, as most consumers may know of them e.g. Vanilla cake, Chocolate Cake, Black Forrest cakes, etc. Types of cakes are named based on their mixing method; they are then made and decorated and/or assembled into a variety of flavors. A great example is Black Forrest Cake; this is a sponge cake that is torted, assembled and decorated in a certain way in order for it to become a ‘Forrest’ Cake.
Today I will highlight the top 4 types of cakes used in the baking industry by most bakers and how they are made. I hope this gives insight to lots home-bakers and amateur bakers in the industry.
These are the most commonly known cakes in baking and most people start learning how to bake using these cakes. They usually contain fat in their ingredients; usually butter or margarine, in some cases – oil is also used. They also have chemical raising agents in their ingredients such as baking powder and/or baking soda.
Most of these cakes are combined using the creaming and folding methods – click this link for a breakdown of these methods. These cakes should be fluffy and moist in texture; examples of these are Vanilla, Chocolate cake, Carrot cake, etc.
Please note that there are variations in some of these cakes when it comes to mixing; e.g. some are also made using the melting method. In this technique; the fat and sugar are heated together until they melt (in the case of Chocolate fudge cake – chocolate is also melted together with the fat. Example of these cakes are Chocolate fudge Cake, Mud cakes, Brownies, some variations of Carrot & Fruit cakes, etc. Cakes made using the melted method are moist in texture; but they tend to be a bit heavy and dense as well. These cakes also tend to have a stickier consistency than regular butter cakes.
There are also variations of butter cakes that use a traditional method such as the rubbing in method.
Butter cakes are very versatile and can be decorated with various types of icings, the most popular being Buttercream frosting, Royal Icing and/or Fondant. Other frostings can also be used as well depending on the desired end result e.g. Chocolate Ganache or Simple Glazes.
These cakes generally do not contain fats such as butter or oil; most of them don’t have chemical raising agents as well. Volume is achieved by the whipping of egg whites or whole eggs. These cakes are combined using the whisking method (whisking eggs until they double or triple in size – then other ingredients such as sugar added) and then dry ingredients are folded into the batter to complete the process. The cakes are able to rise due to the air whipped into the eggs during mixing, which expands when the batter is in the oven. The success of this method depends on the eggs not deflating during the whipping of the eggs and other ingredients such as sugar and also during incorporation of the flour. This is why the flour is usually sifted twice, sometimes more than three times to ensure absolute lightness of the flour. The flour is then folded gently but quickly into the foam batter to avoid deflation. When this type of batter is mixed it tends to ‘look’ and ‘sound’ like foam; that is why it’s referred to as a “foam batter”.
In most sponge cakes; fat is often avoided because it will weigh down the foam batter; however, some different types of sponge cakes do use a little bit of melted butter or oil, to get a moist sponge. The whisking method produces very spongy, airy and light cakes. The cakes however, tend to have less flavor and moisture than butter cakes and they tend to be a bit dry – this is the reason why most sponge cakes are ‘moistened’ with a type of syrup when they are being assembled and decorated.
Sponge cakes are also broken down into various categories that have varying mixing methods. We will break down the most popular types of sponge cakes, with their various mixing methods, in our next post later this week. The top most popular sponge cake variations are; Biscuit (Pronounced ‘bees – kwee’ = French) – this mixing method is taught in our online beginner class and is a popular method for those getting started in baking sponge cakes. We also describe the same method in our Sponge cakes recipe booklet. We also have a Spicy sponge cake recipe with this method on this blog – click here.The other three main types of sponges are; Angel Food cake, Genoise and Chiffon Cakes.
These types of sponge cakes are best decorated using Whipped Cream frosting as it tends to be lighter in texture.
Baked Flourless Cakes
These cakes are delicate and require attention and precision in the temperature and mixing process as well. Cheesecakes for example are baked in a hot water bath to ensure even baking and to get the right silky texture required. As the name suggests; these are cakes that do not have flour in their ingredients list. Popular examples are Souffles, baked Cheese cakes and Flour-less Chocolate cakes.
For easy removal; these cakes should be baked in a spring-form pan. The cakes are usually quite sweet; but they also have a dense, silky texture as well. In these types of cakes; egg proteins are the ones that provide structure in place of wheat flour starches.
These types of cakes can be served plain as they are; however if you want to decorate them, whipped cream is preferred. Sifted icing sugar and fruits can also be used to garnish as well.
Un-Baked Flourless Cakes
These types of cakes often have a crumb layer that is baked before the filling is added. They require refrigeration to set in their molds and then they are ready for consumption. It is advisable to ensure that ingredients used are pasteurized when possible e.g. milk, cream or eggs. These types of cakes can also be served plain as they are; whipped cream is also preferred for decoration. Fruits can be used to garnish as well.
Examples of these types of cakes are un-baked cheese cakes and mousse cakes. If interested in learning these products; we teach how to make cheese cake and chocolate mousse in our Advanced Cake making and decoration course. We also have an Eggless Cheesecake recipe in our Eggless Cakes Recipe Booklet, click this link for information.
I hope this post has been helpful; please note that this is a summary of various types of cakes, it does not encompass all the types of cakes found in the world. Baking is quite a vast topic that has lots of variations, sciences and specialties to it. It’s a journey in which one is constantly learning and improving as we all purpose to do as bakers.
If this was of help to you in any way; feel free to comment below. Do share this post in your network to help other Bakers and Bakerettes to grow as well.
Happy Baking ^_^