Friday, August 8, 2008

Want moister cake?

I was thinking earlier about how the inside of the Chocolate Potato Cake was nice and moist, easy to cut through. But the outside edges that were in contact with the pan were hard and crusty. Made cutting hard and eating not as fun. It's not usually your pan's problem, it's how you treat the finished product!

In my experience with cakes, of which I have made a lot, I have learned a few things. I would like to pass them on to you!

First: Do not over bake your batter. When most varieties of cake are done they start to pull away from the side of the pan. That's a good way to check. Start with the lowest time. Keep an eye on your cake and if the top is starting to pull away do the toothpick check. (Or in my case, the large metal skewer) If it's not quite done, keep a close eye on it and check every 3 minutes or so. *some recipes are exceptions, but these are generally fancy pants ones and I have only come across 1 or 2 in all my recipe browsing.

Second: When done baking, take it out of the oven and place pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. This is so the cake can settle a little and decreased the chance of the cake falling apart when you take it out of the pan. But longer than 10-15 minutes and the grease/flour combination can turn to a pasty glue, making your cake stick. Don't worry though. If you wait too long and you have trouble releasing it from the pan, pop it back in the warm oven for a couple of minutes to warm it back up a little.

Third: While cakes are just fine baked the day of, I prefer to bake them the evening before. For one, it doesn't get your kitchen as hot as baking at high noon! Once they are out of the pan, I let them cool most of the way. Then I put them back in the pan and cover them with foil. They sit out overnight and are frosted the next day. When they cool they release moisture into the air. By leaving them just a touch warm on the bottom - the bit closer to the counter/table on the rack - and covering them up in the pan you are letting it release the moisture back into the cake. And the whole physics stuff that says that particles will attempt to evenly distribute themselves... means that the moisture will distribute throughout the cake, including the crusty edges and bottom!

This does not guarantee perfect cakes, by any means. But when I do it this way, my cakes are a little moister, have fewer crumbs when frosting (important when doing professional cakes) and cut so much easier. Who likes to eat the deformed edge piece?

Good luck, and enjoy some cake!

1 Tasty Tidbits:

Stephanie said...

Those are some great tips! I'll definitely do that the next time I make cake.