Wednesday, June 23, 2010

High-Ratio Pound Cake

This is my favorite pound cake and it's so easy to make! It's from Nick Malgieri's Perfect Cakes. This is one of the cakes I use for petits fours. *See note below for explanation of "high ratio."

2 1/2 cp (10 oz/300g) bleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 3/4 cp (14 oz/350g) sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cp milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Set a rack in the lower third of th eoven and preheat to 350F.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on the lowest speed for about 2 minutes, or until the ingredients are well combined.

Meanwhile, whisk all the remaining ingredients together in a mixing bowl until well combined.

Increase the mixer speed to medium, add one-third of the liquid ingredients, and mix for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater. Add another third of the liquid, beat for 2 minutes, and scrape again. Finally, add the remaining liquid and beat and scrape as before.

Use a large rubber spatula to give the batter a final vigorous stir, then scrape it into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes in a 12-cup Bundt pan, buttered and floured, or until a toothpick inserted int the cake halfway between the side of th epan and the central tube emerges clean.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto the rack t finish cooling.

Yield: 7 cups of batter (perfect for petits fours made in 12 x8 x 1 pan)

*High-Ratio Cakes (from Perfect Cakes, pg 44)
A high-ratio cake is one in which the weight of the sugar equals or exceeds the weight of the flour. (This applies to many pound and butter cakes, but not all). The high proportion of sugar can make the batter separate, resultin in a coarse texture in the baked caked. The "high ratio" mixing method, developed in the 1940s by Procter and Gamble, prevents the batter from separating and yilds a particularly fine textured cake.

Basically, you first mix all the dry ingredients with the softened butter. Then the liquids, including the eggs, are combined and added in three parts. The resulting baked cake has a great texture and moist crumb. To convert a recipe to the high-ratio method of mixing, first check to see if the sugar equals or exceeds the flour: calculate 8 ounces for a cup of sugar and 4 ounces for a cup of all-purpose flour. If and only if the recipe passes the test, you can combine all the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl, add the softened butter, and beat for 2 minutes on low speed. The add the liquids, mixed together , one-third at a time, beating for 2 minutes on medium speed between each addition.

Lemon Cake

I originally got this recipe from the Wilton's website. Everyone who tastes it falls in love with it!

2 cp granulated sugar
2 cp (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 T + 1 tsp lemon extract
2 3/4 cp (330g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour pans. Cream sugar and butter in mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and lemon flavor, mix until smooth. Add flour and baking powder and mix 30 seconds. Add lemon zest and mix 1 minute more. Place batter in prepared pan(s). Bake 50-55 minutes or unitl toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on cooling rack. Loosen sides; remove from pan and cool completely before serving.

Yield: approximately 6 1/2 to 7 cups of batter.

Lemon Curd

This recipe is from Nick Malgieri's Perfect Cakes. It's so easy to make and so delicious!

3 large lemons
3/4 cp sugar
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 large egg yolks

Finely grate the zest of 2 of the lemons. Squeeze and strain the juice from all 3 lemons; there should be about 3/4 cup. Combine the zest, juice, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Strain out the zest and return to a boil.

Meanwhile, beat the yolks in a bowl until they are liquid.

Beat 1/4 of the boiling liquid into the yolks and return the remaining liquid to a boil. Beat the yolk mixture int the boiling liquid and continue beating over medium heat until it thickens slightly. Do not allow the lemon curd to boil or it will scramble. Pour the lemon curd into a clean bowl, press plastic wrap against the surface and chill it.

Alton Brown's "Butter" Cake

According to Alton, butter is 20% water, so if you want to use shortening instead, decrease the amount (of butter/shortening) by 20% and increase the water by 20%.

pinch of salt
300g sugar
350g flour
165g butter (or 140g butter flavored shortening)
130g egg yolks
14g baking powder
160g milk (or 180g milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350F, position rack in top 1/3 of oven.
  • Cream shortening on low ca. 1 minute.
  • Add sugar and pinch of salt. Cream on medium/high at least 4 minutes.
  • Add egg yolks (slowly--creating an emulsion)
  • Alternately add dry and wet ingredients
    • half dry, half liquid, half dry, half liquid
  • Jiggle a little before putting in oven
  • 3" all around each pan