Baking Creative Cakes
Cakes are so incredibly versatile and create so many opportunities for bakers, that entire business concepts have been built around this one indulgent confectionary item.
The vast range of possibilities when it comes to delighting your customers with the perfect cake is astounding. Nothing limits the variety of shapes, flavours or combinations except the baker’s imagination.
Round and square cakes remain practical favourites, but today’s cakes are made in any shape or form, from popular children’s cartoon characters such as Spiderman, SpongeBob and Iron Man, to soccer balls, rugby balls, and numbers denoting the age. Even realistic cars and fire trucks, intricate butterflies, lady bugs and puppies, magnificent castles or detailed guitars can be created.
Other options include single tiers and multiple tiers and with today’s doweling techniques, it is possible to have the fruit cake at the top of a multiple tier and a sponge cake at the bottom. Pillars or columns are used to create a multi-tiered effect with open air in between each layer of cake. Unlike separators, pillars are clearly visible on the decorated cake and are part of the overall look.
Cakes are also no longer just plain sponge cake in vanilla or chocolate, or the enduring favourite fruit cake, or even the usual varieties such as carrot cake. Today there are cappuccino cakes, delicately flavoured strawberry or lemon cakes, low GI cakes and cakes made without a range of food allergens such as wheat, eggs, and dairy.
What has certainly revolutionised the cake sector is the incredible advances in food technology that have created an astounding array of icing and decoration options, including edible sugar print.
The amazing printable icing sheets allows bakers to transform a cake into a kiddies’ party hit with TV characters and comic characters, or to create an absolutely unique cake for special occasions such as birthday milestones and wedding anniversaries. Of course, such unique products will enable the baker to charge a premium.
The printable icing sheets can be applied to almost any kind of icing such as fondant, sugar paste, royal icing, buttercream or glacé icing. Edible photos and pictures blend into the cake icing and look like it has been painted onto the icing.
But while the icing and decorations can allow bakers to charge a premium, what keeps customers coming back is the quality of the actual cake. A cake that is good enough to eat on its own without any icing is guaranteed to be a winner.
Baking the perfect cake takes practice and patience, and the ingredients used, as well as the skill of the baker will determine the final result.
In your quest to bake the perfect cake, you will face some challenges, and here is a quick overview of some of the cake faults you may encounter, and the likely reasons for the faults.
Sinking in the centre
– Too much air incorporated in the cake batter, caused by overheating of the fat, egg or sugar before the flour was added
– Too much sugar or baking powder was used
– Cake is underbaked, either due to too low a temperature or too short baking time
– A knock, a sudden draught of cold air or moving the cake before the ingredients have set during baking
– Baking pan used is too large or too small
Crust is dark in colour, with a u-shaped with a u-shaped sticky seam running through the cake
– Too much sugar
Cake sinking in middle and on sides
– Too much liquid or too little flour
– Flour with too high a gluten content
– Oven too hot
– Not enough steam in the oven
Heavy textured, non-risen cake
– Flour has medium to high gluten content
– Overmixing the batter when adding the flour
– Not enough baking powder
Cake does not rise properly
– Lack of aeration – batter was not beaten properly
– Too little sugar or baking powder
Fruit sinking to the bottom
– Using too much sugar or baking powder
– Using a weak flour
– Fruit not properly dried after washing
– Fruit not coated with flour
– Oven temperature too low
Pre-mixes / Instant Mixes –
For bakers who are looking for fast, cost-effective and simple solutions to baking the perfect cake, there is a range of premixes/instant mixes available from ingredient suppliers. In addition to the cost and time savings that can be achieved, premixes also yield consistent results under changing production conditions.
Anchor Yeast’s flour mixes consists of a range of sweet and savoury premixes for the production of a variety of fancy breads, rolls and confectionery products. These niche flour mixes offer ease of use and convenience. A great selection of flavours to choose from.
Austrian Premix through its major principal technological supplier, Australian-based Backaldrin, offers confectionery premixes including Madeira pre-mix, plain and chocolate sponge mix, as well as brownie premix, premium muffin mix and crispy premix ( Florentines ).
Bakels has an all-purpose cake premix for the manufacture of a variety of cakes allowing the baker to add his own ingredients as well as Strawberry Mousse Mix, Chocomousse Mix, Continental Cheesecake Mix and Pettina Cheesecake Mix, to name but a few.
Chipkins Puratos offers a complete range of sponge cake and general confectionery mixes, including Cake & Sponge Mixes, Princess Cake Mix, Sponge Mix Chocolate Coastal, Sponge Mix Super Coastal, Muffin Mix Country Life, Bran Muffin Mix, Custard Cream Mixes, Fine Patisserie Mixes, Mousse and Bavarois Mixes, to name but a few.
Famasons offers a great range of mixes which include Instant Brownie Mix, Instant Carrot Cake Mix, Instant Cheesecake Mix, Instant Madiera Golden Cake Mix and Instant Frosting to name but a few.
Pillsbury offers an extended range of sweet, easy to prepare, premixes, including French Vanilla Cake Mix, Chocolate Cake Mix, Funetti Cake Mix and Red Velvet Cake Mix.
The Moir’s range of premixes include the Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Mix, Luxury Glaced Fruit Cake Mix and Casata Cake Mix.
Premier Foods under the Snowflake trademark offers an Easy Mix range and the Creations range for themed cakes, muffins and cupcakes.
Supreme Flour / RCL Foods manufactures and distributes prepared mixes under the Supreme brand. Madeira Cake Mix, Chocolate Sponge Mix, Plain Sponge Mix plus Chocolate, Plain and Bran Muffin Mixes.
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