8 Essential Cakes That Every Baker Must Master
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There are countless varieties of cake in existence. In fact, there are so numerous that entire books have been published about the many cakes found in France alone. Almost every country on the planet has its own unique cake style. In other words, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Rather than trying to cover every possible cake variant, this article will concentrate on the most popular and widely baked cakes that every baker should be able to make.

There are multiple methods for categorising the world's various cakes. Cake is often categorised by professional bakers using two factors: technique and ingredients. You can distinguish between lighter, meringue-based sponges seen across much of Europe and thicker American-style butter-based cakes by being aware of even the smallest variances in cake recipes.

Pound Cake

Particularly in the Southern states, pound cake is a beloved treat that is usually baked in a loaf or bundt pan. However, the name of this dessert is not derived from how heavy the finished dish is. Instead, it's a clue to the ingredient list—a holdover from an era when most recipes were passed down verbally.

In Britain, pound cake originated in the early 1700s. Since most people at the time couldn't read or write, the most well-liked recipes were those that could be shared by word of mouth. Another aspect of pound cake's appeal is that it required basic materials that were within the means of most homes.

Butter Cake

A classic butter cake recipe calls for butter in its preparation as the name suggests. Because the cake can contain fats other than butter, including margarine or vegetable shortening, it is frequently referred to as a "shortening cake." This buttery mixture was probably inspired by the English pound cake, but it becomes light and airy by adding a form of leavening agent, such as baking soda or powder. It works particularly well for birthday or wedding cakes.

Layer Cake

A stack of several cake layers or sheets joined by a filling is called a layer cake. Any luscious filling, such as cream, icing, or jam, is used to make it. Butter cakes or sponge cakes are the types of cakes that are usually used in layer cakes.

Layer cakes are mainly utilised for special events, including Christian weddings, where they lend a unique flair to really unforgettable moments.

The history of layer cakes dates back to the middle of the 19th century in Europe. They were commonly referred to as sandwich cakes or just sandwiches. Cookbooks were the first to describe layer cakes, and from then on there was no turning back.

Sponge Cake

Because sponge cake is airy and light, it absorbs a lot of creams, and syrups, and drizzles beautifully. The sponge cake gets its height and texture by beating the eggs in its recipe for up to 15 minutes, as it was created before the discovery of leavening agents. Stand mixers are a godsend!  

Angel Food Cake

The term "angel food cake" comes from its light and airy texture, which resembles biting into a cloud of paradise. It's essentially a kind of sponge cake, and the flour and beaten egg whites (without butter) give it a fluffy, airy texture. Typically, it is baked in a tube pan with straight sides, although any pan that isn't greased or nonstick would work.

Chiffon Cake

The invention of chiffon cake dates back to the 1940s and 1950s in the United States. The recipe was sold by an insurance agent to General Mills, which distributed it through marketing materials. Recipes for chiffon cakes often call for both baking powder and beaten eggs: While the egg whites are beaten to soft peaks and folded into the batter, the yolks of the eggs are combined with the liquid ingredients and oil. The end product is a hybrid cake with the light texture of a sponge cake and the rich flavour and soft crumb of an oil-baked butter cake.

Red Velvet Cake

Without a doubt, red velvet is a favourite among fans. It's essentially butter cake, albeit oil is frequently used in its place. The additional cocoa gives the dish a distinctive red velvet flavour. The original red colour of the cake was caused by the interaction between raw cocoa and buttermilk. These days, food colouring is mostly responsible for the colour.

Carrot Cake

Similar to American-style butter cake, carrot cake is leavened with either baking powder or soda. Carrot cake, however, utilises oil to shorten instead of butter. This prolongs the cake's shelf life but also adds a hint of grease. This delicacy is too good to refuse, especially with the spicy spices and thick cream cheese topping.