Author Topic: Secrets from a Baker  (Read 29786 times)

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Snooks

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #90 on: June 02, 2013, 12:19:26 PM »
Does anyone have any tips for how to frost a layer cake?  I can't work out how I'm supposed to frost the of the cake (sides and top I'm fine with).

PastryGoddess

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #91 on: June 02, 2013, 12:51:22 PM »
For proofing bread dough, I use a bowl that has been lightly coated with pan or cooking spray.  Put the dough in and let it proof.  It won't ruin the dough

Snooks I think you are talking about frosting the middle of the cake yes?  Get a large pastry bag and run a bead of frosting around the perimeter of the layer.  this will act as sealant and will help to fill the sides.  If you adding a filling like fresh fruit or jam it acts as a barrier so it doesn't smoosh out of the sides.  If you just want all filling on the inside, you can do concentric circles or a spiral of frosting in the middle.  This way you're not tearing the cake apart

Snooks

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #92 on: June 02, 2013, 01:00:12 PM »
For proofing bread dough, I use a bowl that has been lightly coated with pan or cooking spray.  Put the dough in and let it proof.  It won't ruin the dough

Snooks I think you are talking about frosting the middle of the cake yes?  Get a large pastry bag and run a bead of frosting around the perimeter of the layer.  this will act as sealant and will help to fill the sides.  If you adding a filling like fresh fruit or jam it acts as a barrier so it doesn't smoosh out of the sides.  If you just want all filling on the inside, you can do concentric circles or a spiral of frosting in the middle.  This way you're not tearing the cake apart

Yes and no, that does solve part of my problem but I'm not sure about how to do the top layer, maybe I should try piping that too.  I put frosting on the top but when I try and smooth it down the sides I always seem to expose cake where I go from the top to the sides.

alkira6

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #93 on: June 02, 2013, 01:44:55 PM »
For proofing bread dough, I use a bowl that has been lightly coated with pan or cooking spray.  Put the dough in and let it proof.  It won't ruin the dough

Snooks I think you are talking about frosting the middle of the cake yes?  Get a large pastry bag and run a bead of frosting around the perimeter of the layer.  this will act as sealant and will help to fill the sides.  If you adding a filling like fresh fruit or jam it acts as a barrier so it doesn't smoosh out of the sides.  If you just want all filling on the inside, you can do concentric circles or a spiral of frosting in the middle.  This way you're not tearing the cake apart

Yes and no, that does solve part of my problem but I'm not sure about how to do the top layer, maybe I should try piping that too.  I put frosting on the top but when I try and smooth it down the sides I always seem to expose cake where I go from the top to the sides.

You need a glass of very very hot water.  Frost the top, wipe your spreader, insert in the hot water for 3-4 seconds, wipe quickly, and spread. Repeat until done.  The heat melts the frosting between the spreader and the cake, so it moves smoothly with less resistance.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #94 on: June 02, 2013, 02:24:12 PM »
For proofing bread dough, I use a bowl that has been lightly coated with pan or cooking spray.  Put the dough in and let it proof.  It won't ruin the dough

Snooks I think you are talking about frosting the middle of the cake yes?  Get a large pastry bag and run a bead of frosting around the perimeter of the layer.  this will act as sealant and will help to fill the sides.  If you adding a filling like fresh fruit or jam it acts as a barrier so it doesn't smoosh out of the sides.  If you just want all filling on the inside, you can do concentric circles or a spiral of frosting in the middle.  This way you're not tearing the cake apart

Yes and no, that does solve part of my problem but I'm not sure about how to do the top layer, maybe I should try piping that too.  I put frosting on the top but when I try and smooth it down the sides I always seem to expose cake where I go from the top to the sides.

Ah I see.  I don't ever pull the icing down over the side, but instead start with the sides and bottom and work my way up.  The top is the very last part to ice.

When I ice a cake I start with the sides and finish with the top.  I use an offset metal spatula and layer the frosting on the sides from the bottom to the top.   After the frosting is on the sides I hold the spatula straight up and down and go around the sides to smooth.  This should force the icing up to the top.  I then put frosting on the top and push it out to the sides to meet the icing that is already there.  I give it one more go round the sides and even out the icing on the top as much as possible.  Then put the cake in front of me and starting with the opposite side I gently pull the icing on top towards me and the middle of the cake.  I rotate the cake until I'm done.  If you'd like you can go over the icing with a hot spatula to make it smooth.  My spatula is always held either straight up and down for the sides and for the top it's held flat.  Also, slather on the icing.  You can take it off when you start smoothing, but it helps to have a lot of icing on the cake first rather than trying to add it after the fact.

If you have a rotating cake stand, it's helpful, but not needed.

Snooks

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #95 on: June 02, 2013, 02:48:51 PM »
I can't believe I never thought to do the sides first. ::)

PastryGoddess

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #96 on: June 02, 2013, 03:05:10 PM »
I can't believe I never thought to do the sides first. ::)

You learn these things when you have to frost 20 or 30 cakes a day

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #97 on: June 02, 2013, 04:53:12 PM »
Re:   The rice crispie treats.  I find if the marshmallows are the slightest bit stale, the treats turn out really hard.

I proof my bread dough in stainless steel with no issues, too.  I've also done it in ceramic bowls.  My oven has a 100 degree F setting and that temperature works really well for proofing the dough and the yeast. I use coffee mugs for proofing the yeast.
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Dindrane

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #98 on: June 02, 2013, 10:46:12 PM »
Personally, I have found that the single biggest challenge when icing a layer cake is not using enough icing. The less icing you use, the more frequently you have to cover the same ground, and the more likely you are to make the cake all crumbly.

I also usually put the top layer on upside down (so the part that was touching the cake pan is facing up). That both helps make the top more level, but also makes it easier to spread icing. The bottom of a cake is generally less likely to go all crumbly than the top is.


CakeBeret

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #99 on: June 03, 2013, 10:50:18 AM »
I LOVE making layer cakes, so here is my take on them :)

You want the layers to be flat, but if you cut them, it's harder to ice without it getting all crumbly. They make a product called baking strips that you wet and put around the outside of the cake pan while baking, and these cause the cake to bake almost perfectly flat. Instead of buying them, you can make your own - just cut a thick towel into 1" strips, wet them, and pin them tightly around the cake pan. This makes my cakes bake so evenly that they don't need to be leveled.

Then, I prefer to brush the cakes with a liquid (kahlua, or either flavored or plain simple syrup), wrap them securely (I do 3 layers of plastic wrap and 2 layers of foil) and freeze for a day or two, or up to a couple weeks. This seals in the moisture and usually results in an even better textured cake. Plus you can get the cake-baking out of the way early. Then I let it sit out on the counter, still wrapped, until it's cold but no longer frozen. (Some people frost the cake partially or fully frozen, but I don't because I'm concerned about the condensation affecting the frosting.)

Once the cake is ready to be frosted, I assemble the layers and do the filling; I like to do semi-pourable fillings so that they go on easily. Plus it usually tastes better that way. My favorite fillings are caramel sauce, chocolate ganache, and fruit whipped cream. Then I crumb coat; I thin the icing quite a bit and apply it to the whole cake, making sure it gets on every exposed surface. This seals in the crumbs so you don't get any in the frosting. I let the crumb coat dry about 30 mintues and then apply the frosting. I use an angled spatula, which was only about $4 and produces much nicer results than a regular spatula or butter knife. And I invested in a rotating cake stand on ball bearings, which makes the icing process much easier.

I made my hubby a 5-layer ultimate chocolate cake over the weekend and it turned out magnificent (pronounced "the best cake I've ever had" by more than one person) so all this is quite fresh in my mind. :)


Re: proofing yeast, I've always done it in whatever bowl I was using at the time. Glass, stainless, plastic, it has never mattered.
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RebeccainGA

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #100 on: June 03, 2013, 11:10:56 AM »
Discovered this by accident, and do it on purpose now - I add about an extra 1/4 of the specified oil in a quick bread/cake recipe, and reduce the water by that amount to keep the proportions correct. Not only is the cake/quick bread moister this way, but the extra oil makes the texture denser.

Also, for quick breads, I cover them with plastic wrap as soon as they are cool enough to handle, then wrap them in parchment paper/towels, so that they cool slowly. The breads get this cakelike texture, and stay moist far longer than if they are cooled at room temperature (and travel better - this is how I bake pumpkin bread that lasts through the mail).

dawnfire

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #101 on: June 16, 2013, 07:11:57 PM »
I know this thread isn't brand new, but it's been a very interesting read!

Now, I know rice crispie treats aren't exactly "baked", but they are a dessert so maybe someone reading this thread will know the answer I am looking for.  I follow the recipe on the back of the box exactly and I swear, you could break a tooth on the ones I make.  They end up like cement.

Ordinarily I am a decent cook and baker but rice crispie treats baffle me, for some unknown reason.

Also, chocolate chip cookies do strange things when I try to make them.  I have tried several different recipes and the final cookie product always seems to melt into a puddle and be really thin, not a cookie-like texture at all.  Anybody know why that might be happening? Thanks!
No advice on the Rice Krispie treats.

On the cookies, try reducing the oven temp by 10 degrees or chilling your dough first.

What type of fat are you using? I'm thinking it might be high in water.

adding in an extra 1/2 cup of flour work too

White Lotus

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Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #102 on: September 16, 2013, 02:45:26 PM »
Rice Krispy Treats:  we use Marshmallow Fluff, because it is vegetarian.  Marshmallows, unless you get really lucky and find Kosher ones during Passover, are not.  I find the results are the same, except the Fluff treats are a little softer, and sometimes need to live in the refrigerator.  Might try using Fluff if too hard is the problem.  I also second the notion that the too hard has to do with overheating.  I soften the Fluff in the microwave, spoon it into the bowl, add the butter and vanilla, stirring until melted, and then add the cereal  to taste.  When the Fluff is hot enough to get it all out of the jar, it melts the butter just fine.  I think I need to make some soon.