Monday, 6 August 2012

Introduction to Baking: Basic Ingredients, Substitutions and Weights

Before I start to enumerate the ingredients. I want all my readers to know that Cupcakes are just small cakes. If you wish to make a bigger cake, just utilize a bigger baking pan, this ofcourse will alter the baking time. The bigger the pan, the longer the baking time.

If you find the cupcake too puffy, the amount of flour in the recipe may decreased from 3 to 6 tablespoons. You may want to experiment with a small batch first.

If you want more height for your cupcake, 3 to 6 tablespoons of flour may be added to you recipe. Increasing the oven temperature is another factor that can affect the puffiness of your cupcake. Just keep in mind that when you raise your oven temperature to 400F or 200C, baking time will be shorter.

Use butter for your cupcakes for best results, either salted or unsalted butter may be used. Salted butter may not really affect the taste of your cupcakes, It also has a longer shelf life than unsalted butter. Margarine can take the place of butter but it will not taste as good as cupcakes which used butter. Shortening may also be used, which usually results to a higher cupcake. The addition of butter oil is suggested if shortening will be used as fat. Start with a few drops since oil_based food flavors are very potent.

I strongly advised not to stock up on dairy products,just purchase what you will use to avoid wastage due to its short shelf-life.

One bar of butter weighs 225 to 227 grams, equivalent to 2 sticks of butter or half a pound.

Use fresh, large eggs for baking. A fresh egg is thick,not watery. One large egg is equivalent to 1/4cup or 55grams. 60grams with the shell.

Granulated or table sugar is best used in these recipes. Different sizes of sugar granules affect the weight of sugar. Some may weigh 180grams per cup while some may reach up to 205grams per cup.

Sugar (Confectionery)
Confectionery, Icing or powdered sugar is the same. Usually used for making icings.
115grams = 1cup.

Sugar (Brown)
Use light to medium color brown sugar. Dark brown sugar taste like milasses. When measuring, pack well with a spooon. When inverted into your palm or any flat surface, it should conform with the shape of measuring cup and hold its shape for a few seconds.

Baking powder and Baking Soda are leaveners. They make your cupcakes rise. There are two kinds of baking powder: Single acting and Double acting.

Single acting baking powder reacts when heat is present while Double acting reacts when it comes in contact with moisture and heat. Both types may be used.

Baking Soda makes chocolate cupcakes darker.
4grams = 1teaspoon Baking Soda
3grams = 1teaspoon Baking Soda

I used iodized salt. It dissolves much faster than any type of salt but feel free to use any salt of your preference as long as it has a fine crystalline structure.
6grams = 1teaspoon Iodized Salt

I use vanilla flavor in general. Vanilla comes in diferent forms like extract, powdered or oil based. Use whatever is readily available in your area. What I prefer though, is Pure Vanilla Extract. It cost more but the aroma is heavenly. I sometimes combine vanilla butter oil for stronger butter notes.

Use a measuring spoon for Vanilla Extract.

Use all purpose flour, not self-rising flour. There are also some recipes that use cake flour.
There type of flour are available in almost all supermarkets.

125grams = 1cup All purpose Flour
90-95grams = 1cup cake flour, sifted

When it comes to cocoa powder, I make sure I use the best brand in the market since I am a Chocolate Lover at heart. Alkalized or Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder results to a dark chocolate color and has a robust chocolate taste.

Do not use sweetened cocoa powder, that is only for drinking. Remember to sift cocoa powder beafore measuring.

90-95grams = 1cup cocoa

MILK (liquid)
Fresh or whole milk is the best. You can also try mixing evaporated milk with water. I tried using water instead of milk, the end result will be puffier cupcake but it will lose its creaminess. So it's up to you to experiment.

240grams = 1cup fresh milk

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