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“A party without cake is just a meeting.” America’s beloved chef, Julia Child, couldn’t have been more right. Nowadays, cakes are a blaze of colors and flavors and it’s amazing to think that it only takes a few basic ingredients and steps to make them. Mix fat, flour, eggs, sugar, water and salt to make the batter. After baking and cooling it, let your imagination run wild when it comes to toppings, fillings, and decorations.

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Stories about Cakes

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Fat or Foam? - Which F do you prefer for your cake?

Carrot cake, chocolate cake, red velvet cake, rainbow cake…we could go on and on listing the different types of cakes out there. But actually, we can divide them into two main categories depending on the fat content. High-fat or shortened cakes use liquid or solid fats to keep the gluten development low. This way, you can get a tender product and a longer shelf life because the fat slows down the staling process.

Unshortened or foam-style cakes contain little or no fat, but they are very high in sugar. Since there is no fat, you need another ingredient to tenderize them. Here is where the sugar gets in the game. Foam cakes are drier and do not crumble very easily, so they are perfect to be cut in layers or rolled. One of the most famous examples of foam cake is sponge cake.

Give your cake volume by mixing flour, water, eggs, and… air?

Yes, you got it right. To make a cake you need air, the same air you breathe. When you introduce air in a liquid or viscous solution (aeration process), the solution entraps air bubbles forming a foam that gives volume and height to your cake. You can have aeration thanks to the yeast, baking soda or through mixing methods such as whipping and beating. For instance, when whipping egg whites, proteins like ovalbumin and ovomucin are responsible for the volume of the foam. During baking, the heat causes air to expand, resulting in the cake rising.

Taking care of your mixing process – how to avoid holes in your cake

Have you ever seen holes inside a cake?  Here, this could be the result of too much air. Overmixing your batter can create more air bubbles and too much air will be incorporated into the mixture. Then, it can weaken also the protein structure while creating a fragile cake that can collapse. In addition, if you overmix your batter, you can create gluten development. Gluten is a network of proteins that when mixed create an elastic structure. This is great in the case of making bread, because we all love bread’s chewy texture, but it is not very great for a cake.

The art of cake decorating

Besides being so delicious, cakes nowadays are also a feast for the eyes. Not only in the artisanal bakeries, but even walking through the aisles of supermarkets you can find various cakes filled with layers of colored icing. To create these colorful layers, after baking, a cake slicer cuts the cake into even layers. If the cake is too dry, a conveyor belt leads each layer under spray nozzles that spray syrup to soften the cake.

Before building the cake and joining all the layers, depositors inject the cream of your choice onto each layer. The final touch is the frosting that is used to cover the cake. The cake is placed on the cake turntable (or rotating tray) while frosting is sprayed or drizzled through a depositor to cover both the top and sides.

Processing steps involved in cakes making

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