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Cakes recipe and books

So you would like to know how to make Cakes recipe! It is not hard, follow the steps below and enjoy your own creation. Check our books section as well!


cakes
delia smith

The case for making a cake
A homemade cake has a lot going for it on days when life seems to lack that special edge. So instead of attempting to treat yourself to something bland and boring made in a factory why not try the real thing? Home baking transports you psychologically to a world of comfort and wellbeing the quality of life seems utterly assured as your home is filled with the warm evocative aroma of something quietly and happily baking in the oven.
In my Book Of Cakes published way back in 1977 1 wrote: a cake is a symbol of love and friendship if someone actually goes to the trouble of baking a cake specially for family and friends they cant fail to feel spoiled and cared for. I havent changed my mind on that but perhaps the simplest way to start venturing towards a lifetime of happy cakemaking is to take the rules on board and try to memorise them.

The top five rules of cakemaking
1 It is absolutely crucial to use the correct sized tin
2 You must have a reliable recipe
3 You need to weigh the ingredients correctly 4 Once the cake is in the oven dont open the door
5 Make sure your oven is functioning correctly

Tin size
This is where 99 per cent of cakemaking goes wrong. I have over the years struggled to encourage manufacturers to standardise tin sizes so that people like me who write and test recipes are able to communicate in such a way that as many people as possible can enjoy making cakes. Well Im sorry to report that until now I have failed due I think to the unacceptable face of commercialism which also seeks to undercut the competition.
Let me explain. The most popular everyday cake is probably a sponge cake. Well its all quite simple: three eggs and a 175 flour mix fit an 20cm tin thats 4cm deep; two eggs and a 110g flour mixture fit a 18cm tin with the same depth. But out there in the high street you will find 7 1/2 8 3/4 7 3/4 inches. Why? Because the way manufacturers undercut on price is to make tins fractionally smaller and thus cheaper. There is quite a lot of pile it high sell it cheap rubbish out there that claims to be baking equipment so my advice is to only buy the right sized tins which thankfully one manufacturer has guaranteed to make and though quality is costly in the beginning it willlast a lifetime. The cheap versions which need to be constantly replaced work out to be a lot more expensive.

Depth of tin
This is also crucial so a sponge tin has to be at least 4cm deep because depth of support at the sides encourages the cakes to rise up and be as light and airy as possible.

Larger cake tins
These seem more easily available. An 20cm round cake tin is a good average size but remember that if you use a square tin the same mixture will fit 18cm; the rule is that square tins should always be 2.5cm smaller than round ones.

Loaf tins
These change like the wind and vary between manufacturers but thankfully oldfashioned bread tins are always available so I use these for loaf cake recipes. They come in a 900g (18.5 x 11.5 x 9 cm) or 450g (15 x 9.5 x 7cm) size.

Weighing ingredients
Provided you have a reliable recipe and the rightsized tin the next step is to weigh everything carefully. The best scales are the balance kind; they will last a lifetime and never let you down. Weighing ingredients in cakemaking is absolutely vital so never attempt to make a cake if you dont have any means of weighing the ingredients.

Lining sponge tins
Whether or not you use non stick tins its important to line them with nonstick silicone paper (baking parchment) which gives the cake some protection but also makes it easier to remove from the tin.

Cooling trays
In most cases once cakes are cooked its important to cool them with air circulating around them so a wire cooling tray is a vital piece of equipment.

Please leave it alone!
One of the perennial problems of beginning to cook is curiosity. Youve done it youve made the cake but its now out of your sight sitting behind a closed oven door and even if its glass you cant see over the rim of the tin so you feel anxious cut of and all you want to do is just have one little peep. Please dont because it will be a disaster! Without being too technical what happens to the cake mixture is that the heat causes the air bubbles within it to push up and expand the mixture making a light airy cake and this only happens if the heat is constant until finally the cake has reached a point where it cant expand any more and the structure is set. What happens if you open the oven door is that you send a rush of cold air in which diminishes the heat and interrupts the expansion process. So instead of rising to great heights the cake collapses and sinks into heaviness. So now you know never to open the door of the oven until at least threequarters of the cooking time has elapsed.

How do I know if its cooked?
For years and when I first started cooking the rule of thumb here was to stick a skewer in the centre of the cake and if it came out clean the centre was cooked. But I have changed my mind on that particular rule firstly because I never found it reliable and secondly if the cake had fruit in it then obviously if the skewer had passed through a sticky raisin it wouldnt be coming out clean even if the cake was cooked. Now I feel the best test is to press lightly on the centre surface of the cake with your finger (doesnt matter which one) then if the cake springs back without leaving an impression its cooked; if not give it another 5 minutes.

Cake ingredients
Because I have attempted to simplify things and make cakemaking easily accessible to absolute beginners I have only included recipes for cakes that are made by the allinone method. This means everything is mixed together in just one mixing so a few notes on the ingredients might be useful here.

Butter and other fats
This must be very soft indeed so the flat blade of a knife can make a deep impression all the way through immediately. Therefore I always leave the butter out of the fridge to stay at room temperature overnight which works beautifully but you may need to leave a note on the fridge door to remind you. Other fats such as soft margarine or whipped white vegetable fats need only be out of the fridge for 30 minutes; they produce excellent results but dont in my opinion have the flavour of butter.

Flours and raising agents
In most cases cakes are made with selfraising flour which already has a raising agent but allinone mixtures need a little extra help so baking powder is also used. Always sift the flour lifting the sieve up high to give it lots of air as it falls down into the bowl as air is an important ingredient.

Eggs
Cakes require large eggs (as do all my recipes) and if you keep them in the fridge remember to remove them one hour before you start baking as they blend more easily with the other ingredients if theyre not too cold.

Ovens
As a cookery writer struggling to give people foolproof recipes all I can say is if I could wave a magic wand so that we all had the same oven life would be so simple but every single oven seems to vary. We have fan ovens fan assisted ovens ovens without fans and then all the Aga type cookers and so on. A cake is a very good test of an oven if it browns too much on one side and not on the other its not your fault you need to have your oven checked. If cakes are overcooked or undercooked the temperature thermostat may be faulty. Remember its very simple to have it tested professionally and it only takes about 5 minutes. Alternatively what I find really useful is having my own thermometer. You can pop this in the oven when you preheat it and it will tell you simply and clearly if your oven temperature is true. If it isnt then you really must have the oven checked.

Fan ovens
Here you must follow the manufacturers instructions. Because fan ovens vary from manufacturer to manufacturer its impossible for me to give correct timings for all of them. So the answer here is to calculate the cooking time according to your oven instruction manual; ie in a fan oven the heat temperature will be lower and the cooking time will be slightly reduced and no preheating will be needed.

Conventional ovens
This is my preferred choice and here it is necessary to preheat the oven about 10 to 20 minutes before the cake goes in.

To line a round greased cake tin
cut a strip of greaseproof paper slightly longer than the circumference of the tin and 75mm higher. Fold it back about 25mm along its length then snip it at a slight angle at intervals up to the fold. Now press the paper around the sides the snipped edge will overlap on the base of the tin for a snug fu. Finally cut a circle out using the tin as a template to fit over the snipped paper over the base

To line a square tin
cut a piece of greaseproofpaper to size by first measuring the length arid width of the tin and then adding twice its depth. Centre the tin on the sheet of paper then make four cuts from the papers edge right up to the corners of the tin. Grease the tin and fit the greaseproof paper inside folding and overlapping it at the corners. For the base paper cut a square out again using the tin as a template and fit it in the base





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