My Comeback (yet again, yay) – Final part of Paté Génoise – Branch 1: Butter Cake – My version of Classic Butter Cake – Two-stage vs. Creaming

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?

Creaming final products

Creaming final products

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.

Creaming vs. Two-stage

Creaming vs. Two-stage

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

Recipe

  • 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

————————————–

Creaming Method

Creaming ingredients

Creaming ingredients

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.🙂

Cakes made by the Creaming Method

Cakes made by the Creaming Method

Now, now, let’s move on to the real cake making part, shall we?

Demonstration

Step 1: Leave the butter at room temperature (25 degree C) for about 30 minutes to soften it.

Butter+sugar ready for creaming

Butter+sugar ready for creaming

Cream the softened butter with powdered sugar…

Before creaming

Before creaming

… until it is light in color and fluffy in volume.

After creaming

After creaming

Step 2: Add eggs, one by one.

Add eggs in, one at a time

Add eggs in, one at a time

Mix well till combined after every addition.

After adding all eggs

After adding all eggs

Step 3: Add flour, and then milk, and then water in 2-3 additions; mix until just combined after every addition.

Adding flour...

Adding flour…

First, don’t over-mix. Second, always start with flour and end with flour.🙂 (See tips below)

... and milk

… and milk

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.😦

Creaming final batter

Creaming final batter

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.

Grease and Dust the Pan

Grease and Dust the Pan

Fill in the pans, no more than 2/3 of its capacity.

Into the pan and ready to go!

Into the pan and ready to go!

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.

In the oven. (and my reflection) :)

In the oven. (and my reflection)🙂

Here they are, Yellow Butter Cake done by the Creaming method.

Creaming freshly baked

Creaming freshly baked

—————————————————

Two-Stage

Two-stage ingredients

Two-stage ingredients

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.”

Two-stage final products

Two-stage final products

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.🙂

Demonstration

Step 1: mix all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, including flour + sugar + salt + baking powder).

Mix dry ingredients

Mix dry ingredients

Step 2: mix the eggs with all of the liquid ingredients, in this case is milk + vanilla extract).

Mix wet ingredients

Mix wet ingredients

Step 3: add butter at cool room temperature plus about ¼ of the egg mixture to the dry ingredient mix.

Add butter + 1/4 liquid

Add butter + 1/4 liquid

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.

After adding butter

After adding butter

Step 4: add the rest of the milk in three additions, scraping the bowl and mixing for a few seconds between additions.

Add liquid mix - take 1

Add liquid mix in 3 additions

Here is the picture of the batter made by the two-stage method. There are 2 notes I have below for it.

Two-stage final batter

Two-stage final batter

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.

Into the pan and ready to go!

Into the pan and ready to go!

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.

In the oven.

In the oven.

And I proudly present, Yellow Butter Cake made by the Two-Stage method.

Two-stage freshly baked

Two-stage freshly baked

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.

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

Why?

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.

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

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.

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

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. >.<

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

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.

Yes, please?

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.  

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

Left: Two-stage, Right: Creaming

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.

——————————————————

References

Professional Baking 4th Edition by Wayne Gisslen

http://pastrychefonline.com/2009/01/06/the-two-stage-mixing-method/

http://reluctantgourmet.com/cooking-techniques/baking/item/38-how-to-bake-important-cooking-technique

http://cakecentral.com/t/16220/two-stage-method

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/92802-two-stage-method/

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/71497-best-of-butter-cake/

——————————————————–

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,

Rose,

11 thoughts on “My Comeback (yet again, yay) – Final part of Paté Génoise – Branch 1: Butter Cake – My version of Classic Butter Cake – Two-stage vs. Creaming

  1. Pingback: My Foolproof & (almost) No-Fail Sponge Cake Recipe – Hong Kong Style Gateau | Simply a Food Blog

  2. I long ago did my own trials of these two methods, inspired by Shirley Corriher’s Cookwise. I am always on the quest for the perfect vanilla cake. I definitely favor the two stage method as I prefer a tender moist cake. I have successfully used it to make layer cakes, as not much height is given up. It does tend to brown quicker and have a crunchier crust, but the inside is just heavenly. Great Post!

    Like

  3. I’m glad you’re back to blogging Rose! I think I’ve only ever made a yellow cake with the creaming method, but after reading about the results of the 2-stage method, I’ll definitely have to give it a try! I’ve made chocolate cakes with both methods, and I have to say that for chocolate, I much prefer the 2-stage method – the chocolate taste is stronger, somehow. How is your baking course going?

    Like

    • Hi Korena,

      I am glad to hear from you. My baking course has finished and I am semi-happy with it.🙂

      This is hard to explain but I will try. It is not the course nor the teacher there, I guess, they are willing to teach and have good curriculum, maybe it is just me, I expected too much.

      If you have time, give this a try and let me know how it comes out, pretty plz.🙂

      How is everything in your life?

      Hugs alll the ways from Vietnam,

      Rose,

      Like

  4. Pingback: Paté Génoise – Branch 1: Butter Cake – Introducing the Creaming Method – Variation: My Version of Pineapple Upside Down Cake | Faraway from Home

  5. Pingback: Paté Génoise – Branch 1: Butter Cake – Introducing the Two-Stage Method – Variation: My Very Muddy and Velvety Chocolate Mud Cake | Faraway from Home

  6. What an excellent discussion, and I’m so pleased that you found my post on the two-stage method helpful! I made 2 butter cakes, side by side, one creaming and one two-stage a year or so ago. I expected there to be a textural difference. What I didn’t expect was that both cakes, even made with the exact same ingredients and amounts, tasted very different. The batter tasted markedly different too. I still haven’t quite figured that one out yet. Do you have any thought on this, Rose? I’d love to hear!

    Like

    • Hi Jenni,

      Thank you for your wonderful post, I have learnt a lot.🙂

      I also notice a difference in taste when making cakes by these two methods. I suspect that because the two-stage method produces a different cake texture than the creaming method, meaning different level of aeration, crumbliness, density. As a result it change how the cake feels on the tongue, e.g. two-stage produces cakes with denser texture -> the butter will coat the tongue, eh, faster and longer (if you can understand what I mean), and ultimately, this will affect if the cake’s taste, for instance, I notice that the two-stage cake has a longer, more profound after-taste than the creaming’s.

      I think aeration is a big player in this game, as in ice cream for instance, the less air there is in the ice cream, the more intense the taste.🙂

      What do you think about this?

      Rose,

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s