Baking Diary – Log 18 – 07.06.2013
Hello, I am home. 🙂 Is any body here?
It’s been months since my last post. I sincerely apologize for disappearing without any notice. I needed a break from blogging; I could not keep up with the crazy routine of studying, working, and blogging at the same time, busted my brain out. Please don’t stay mad at me… *Puppy eyes*
Today in my comeback, I gladly present the last part of the Butter Cake series: Comparison between the Creaming and Two-Stage Method by producing THE legendary yellow butter cake. I will make this recipe by both creaming method and Two-stage method, and finally comparing the results. Excited yet?
Here we go.
Maybe, a little review first:
– The creaming method and my Pineapple Upside-down Cake
– The two-stage method and my Velvety Chocolate Mud Cake
My Yellow Butter Cake
I would also like to introduce the new info that will be included in each of my recipe from now on: Level of difficulty, Time needed from start to end (products are best consumed from then on), Special equipment/utensils (if any), amount of products made from 1 recipe. Hope it helps.
Level – Beginner
Time – 15 mins preparation + 1hour 30 mins baking + 1 hour cooling
Yield – 1 round cake of 25x5cm; OR 6 mini cake loaves of 12x5x5cm
Special utensils/ equipment – None, Basic only
- 340g (1 ½ cup) butter
- 395g (1 ¾ cup) sugar
- 375g (3 cup) flour
- 4 eggs
- 230ml (1 cup) milk
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Review of the creaming method
In the creaming method, fats are mixed with sugar to create a mixture that is either smooth and creamy in case of cookie dough; or light and fluffy for cake batter. Then, eggs are added gradually, followed by alternative addition of dry ingredients (flours + salt + spices + leaveners, etc.) and wet ingredients (milk/water + liquid flavorings). The result consistence can be very thick to “scoopable”. (Note: batter produced by the creaming method very rarely pourable; I have never seen nor made one.)
How does it work, exactly? The initial creaming of the fat with the sugar creates lots of little air bubbles, since the sharp edges of the sugar crystals cut into the butter and create little air pockets. Upon heating, the air in the pockets expands, helping the dough/batter to rise. In this method, be generous and patient when creaming the fat and sugar. The more air pockets you have in the beginning, the more rise you will get upon baking. 🙂
Now, now, let’s move on to the real cake making part, shall we?
Step 1: Leave the butter at room temperature (25 degree C) for about 30 minutes to soften it.
Cream the softened butter with powdered sugar…
… until it is light in color and fluffy in volume.
Step 2: Add eggs, one by one.
Mix well till combined after every addition.
Step 3: Add flour, and then milk, and then water in 2-3 additions; mix until just combined after every addition.
First, don’t over-mix. Second, always start with flour and end with flour. 🙂 (See tips below)
TIP 1 – Remember when adding the flour and liquid, it is important to mix as fast and little as you can, just until the milk or flour “just” blended into the batter. The less you mix, the less gluten is developed, resulting in a tenderer final product.
TIP 2 – Adding flour before adding the liquid helps to coat the flour with fat, therefore, further inhibiting the gluten production. Fail to remember this and you might end up with a chewy final product. 😦
Step 4: preheat the oven to 175 degree C; prepare the tins by first coating it with softened butter or cooking oil, the dust the flour all over it, tap out the exceeded flour.
Fill in the pans, no more than 2/3 of its capacity.
Step 5: Bake the tins for about 1h30mins (for the big 25cm-pan) or about 1h (for the small tins). Test the cakes by inserting a skew inside the cake center; if it comes out clear, the cake is done.
Here they are, Yellow Butter Cake done by the Creaming method.
Review of the Two-Stage method
The two stage mixing method was originally applied to high-ratio cakes. What is high-ratio, then Rose? High ratio is a term “refers to a high ratio of water to flour held together by the emulsifiers in the “new fangled” solid shortenings. Since the emulsifiers could hold more water, the batter could also hold more sugar, since sugar dissolves in water. This helped to increase shelf life and moistness in cakes.”
Through time, we have become more and more health conscious about the effect of trans fats, solid shortenings have been out of favor for a while now. The two-stage mixing method, however, is at no doubt an effective method for creating a heavenly tender, fine crumbed cake.
Well then, let’s move on the real cake making. 🙂
Step 1: mix all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, including flour + sugar + salt + baking powder).
Step 2: mix the eggs with all of the liquid ingredients, in this case is milk + vanilla extract).
Step 3: add butter at cool room temperature plus about ¼ of the egg mixture to the dry ingredient mix.
Mix on low to moisten all the ingredients, and then beat on medium for a couple of minutes to develop the structure of the batter. The batter will get lighter and fluffier.
Step 4: add the rest of the milk in three additions, scraping the bowl and mixing for a few seconds between additions.
Here is the picture of the batter made by the two-stage method. There are 2 notes I have below for it.
NOTE 1 – Batter made using the two-stage method is usually a tad thinner than batter made with the creaming method and they can pour quite freely, as you can see yourself in the pic above.
NOTE 2 – Since dry + wet + eggs are mixed in at the same time, you will not as many air bubbles that you would if using the creaming method.
Step 5: preheat the oven to 175 degree C; prepare the tins by first coating it with softened butter or cooking oil, the dust the flour all over it, tap out the exceeded flour.
Step 6: Bake the tins for about 1h30mins (for the big 25cm-pan) or about 1h (for the small tins). Test the cakes by inserting a skew inside the cake center; if it comes out clear, the cake is done.
And I proudly present, Yellow Butter Cake made by the Two-Stage method.
A suggestion I saw on the Internet but have not try it yet, so I type it here, in case I will come back to try the two-stage method again, or you will. 😉 If you are really fond of a heavenly tender butter cake, try separating the eggs. Add just the yolks, flavoring and 1/4 of the liquid at the beginning, then mix the whites with the remaining liquid and add that in two additions. Since you’ve decreased the amount of water (egg whites) and increased the proportion of fat (in the egg yolks) during the initial mixing phase, your cake will be very meltingly tender.
Two-stage Method vs. Creaming Method
Now let’s come to the part of comparing the pros and cons between these two wonderful “guys”, shall we? 🙂
1) Method Convenience Level
Upon testing these two methods, I personally think that he two-stage method is a little simpler than the creaming-method. Why you ask?
First, the two-stage method is almost like the muffin method of quick breads, that I usually call the 1-2-3 method; meaning: 1) measure, 2) pouring the liquid to the dry, 3) mix together, done! Super duper easy, isn’t it? No messing around with creaming, or adding eggs one by one,
Furthermore, in the two-stage method, things get even simpler now that you don’t have worry about over-mixing the batter because the flour has been well coated with fat in the first addition of egg + butter + liquid into the dry ingredient mix (Remember? It’s in step 2 and 3 above).
So, 1-0 for the two-stage method! 🙂 Let’s move on to the next aspect.
2) Final Products’ Structure
Here in this picture, you can see that cakes made with the two-stage method also don’t rise quite as high as cakes made with the creaming method.
Believe or not, creaming the fat and sugar together is the ultimate way to aerate a butter cake. In the two-stage method, you can attain reasonable aeration by sifting the cake flour, whisking the dry ingredients together and then mixing in the fat with eggs and a limited amount of water. You’ll never get the kind of aeration that you can with The Creaming Method. Fewer air in the cake batter results in less rise in the cake when baked.
I also notice that cakes made with two-stage also cannot hold it shape as well as the creaming method. As in picture below, see how the two-stage cakes kinda sunk a bit on the sides while creaming cakes stand straight up.
So, 1 point for the creaming method. It is now a tight!
3) Final Products’ Texture
Cakes made by the two-stage method is very tender and have a distinct melting-in-your-mouth feel. What you sacrifice in rise now has finally paid off in tenderness. Meanwhile, the creaming method result in cakes that is strong in structure but end up sacrificing some of tenderness.
Here in this picture, you can also see that the two-stage cakes have a tighter, more velvety crumb, comparing to the more open, lighter crumb of the creaming cakes. In addition, the crumb of the two-stage cakes also more delicate than the creaming, they can easily be torn apart or crumble too.
However, here comes the big BUT, both of them are equally delicious and addictive. >.<
One point for each method. At last, it is still a tight. What method to choice then?
I think it’s pretty much your call, depending on your taste buds and your purposes. If you want a high, strong and delicious cake that is easy to decorate, use the creaming method. If you want a cake with a tighter, velvety crumb that is heavenly tender and equally delicious to eat it as it is, use the two-stage mixing method. 🙂
My suggestion is that you try them both – make the same recipe twice. Once using the creaming method and once using the two-stage method, maybe not in the same day, if you don’t wanna get addictive to it and gain some weights. Try the result, and then decide for yourself which method you prefer. You might even decide that you can change up your method, depending on how you’ll use the cake. For torting and stacking, you’ll need a sturdier cake. Just for eating, you might like a more tender cake. It’s entirely up to you.
One question though, Rose.
How can I change my method if it is very CLEAR in the recipes that they do this particular way?
I, like most bakers, have insanely wonderful recipes for cake that I have always used, take my Beloved Yellow Butter Cake as an example. It is a classic cake created by the creaming method. But after doing the previous post about the two-stage method, I get very curious of whether I can change it to that to have more tender results.
And I do what I do best, research. So, bear with me through this last part, please read on. 🙂
Converting Between Creaming and Two-Stage Method Formula
Last but not least, I would like to discuss what is the condition to convert between these two methods. I had research on the Internet and read books on this matter, and guess what, the answer is quite simple. Nick Malgieri in his Perfect Cakes book has explained a condition when is OK for converting a creaming-method recipe to the two-stage method’s and vice versa, as below.
Any cake recipe can be converted between these two methods if the weight of the sugar is equal to or is greater than the weight of the flour.
Sound easy enough, huh? It is actually that simple. What I did after reading it is to try on my yellow butter cake recipe right away. Let see… My recipe calls for 375g of flour and 395g of sugar; the condition is met. Let’s do it! And guess what? Yeah, it actually works. If not how did we get here to the end of this post anyway, haha. 😀
So if you want to try the other method, remember to check your flour : sugar ratio.
Professional Baking 4th Edition by Wayne Gisslen
Usually, at the end of each post, I will have some side stories and things that update my current situation… At the beginning of this post, I think of many to talk about. Sadly, I think my writing skill has dulled due to my lack of practicing; it took me more than a week to finish this post alone. 😛 And, at the end, I kind of freeze my brain again and forgot what I want to tell you, oops!
So, until next time, real soon, ok? Don’t worry, I won’t disappear like that again, plus I have about 20 recipes pending at the moment (yay!) so yeah, you will see me a lot more here.
Hope everything is fine with you. I am in great thirst for new info; keep me updated, pretty please? 🙂
From Vietnam with Love,