The Science of Baking…and a short history of Elevenses.

I have been reading about the science of baking this week.  I’ve been learning about the purpose of sugar/butter and the creaming method.  I’ve learnt about the addition of flour and liquid and the formation of gluten.  I’ve learnt about cake structure and how the structure of a cake can be affected by eggs.  The creaming method, the all-in-one method, the purpose of leavening agents, the whipping method etc etc. I have used many of these techniques but not really understood why.  I’ve experimented and had fun and disasters.
I’d like to show you why I have become obsessed with all things baking.  Here’s a montage…wish I could add music!

Above are vanilla cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting – the prettiest so far.

The Christmas Cakes have been my favourite foray into baking!  I’ve had my first commission on the back of these – 2 birthday cakes for February.  Yay!  I enjoyed the cake mixing – those jewelled fruits,  the zestiness, the brandy, the spices….  mmmmm. I never liked fruit cake before.  But I do now.

I REALLY enjoyed the decorating – I’ve decided to treat myself to a lovely book on the art of Royal Icing
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Royal-Icing-Decoration-World-class/dp/1905113153 

Here’s a pink and white delight! This was our first EVER cake –  hheheehehehha  ahahaahaa!!  I’d never iced anything before, not even a boxed fairy cake.  The cake tasted ok, though – it was a lemon sponge.  This was a year ago…  we bought a hand held leccy (electric) mixer for £6 from a well known supermarket.  The boys did most of the work – they helped to decorate it – it was lots of fun and started the obsession.  We added tiny pink marshmallows in little piles on the cake.

Above are my first ever banana muffins.  They were tasty. Marcia at work inspired this recipe with her lovely, lovely banana loaf.  Bananas?  Loaf?  Banana loaf?  It must be the future….
Below are honey and carrot muffins – I can’t recall the recipe, but I’ll try.  They were darn good!  I think I skyped my sister in Germany and shared one cyber-ly with her.  Sadly, she didn’t have one, so I enjoyed one for her.  We looked out of her window over Munchen (Munich) and I had a skype tour around her flat, all whilst I ate warm, sticky carrot muffins straight from the oven and she drooled.  Sorry KJB!

I think, then, I started to experiment with cupcakes.

That’s been exciting.  At first I didn’t ‘get’ the whole cupcake thing. British fairy cakes lag behind their USA counterparts.  Then I found some American cupcake sites/blogs and discovered the glory of these delicious mini-cakes.  No WAY are they timid and pale like the British fairy cake.  They are bold, gutsy, feisty, full-on, in-yer-face and clever.  They are a science to be decorated with.  And I LOVE it!

Thanks to the discovery of America, I finally decided to try Red Velvet Cupcakes.  These were superb – the MOST delicious cakes I’ve EVER eaten.  BUT,  (it’s a big butt – tee hee…), the cakes came away from the paper cases and looked awful.  I was so disappointed.  Some people say it’s the greaseproof paper on the cases, but it doesn’t happen with my other cupcakes.  The only cake that does this is the Red Velvet.  And the only different ingredient is the white wine vinegar, so I’m blaming that.
Oh, now, here’s the funniest cake in the world – my second LARGE madeira cake, Recipe available on Lindy’s Cake Blog:
http://www.lindyscakes.co.uk/Blog/2009/12/17/baking-the-perfect-madeira-cake/

 Decorated…
Not bad for a second attempt at a large cake, eh?!!  Note the glass of wine next to it – my first attempt at royal icing reduced me to a glass of red wine.  After two more glasses we all thought the cake looked good enough to eat!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this self-indulgent trawl through the cake decorating madness that has been our kitchen for two years.  Here’s to many more years of cake making! Where’s my wine? And some Sisters of Mercy….

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About Scrap Kittie

A sewing and baking addict, vegetarian animal-lover, teacher. And an avid music fan...all the wrong sorts of music. Hence the blog was nearly called 'Hot Cake' after The Fall's song.
This entry was posted in Birthday cakes, Christmas Cakes, Cupcakes, Muffins, Red velvet cake. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Science of Baking…and a short history of Elevenses.

  1. Katie BB says:

    You never do anything by halves sis do you, lol.
    These cakes are absolutely beautiful. Very proud of your decorative baking skills.
    I’m putting in an order for carrot cake cup-cakes,
    had thee best cake I have ever eaten today, carroty and sweet, but light as a feather.
    They do know how to in Deutschland!

    Lots of love,
    little sis xxxxx

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