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cake baking technique

I've made this recipe and like it. The recommended technique is odd to me, and I wonder if someone with more baking knowledge can explain to me if I've just never seen this method before, or if this is something different.


The recipe is poundcakish. It makes a dense thin (maybe 1 inch thick) cake that kind of self-glazes coming out of the oven with a little sugar coating on top (I really like this feature and wonder if it's due to the unusual technique). It's more of a thick cookie dough consistency than cake batter (no liquid except eggs ... and not quite enough of those for a traditional pound cake).

I'm used to seeing directions say to cream together butter and sugar before adding the eggs. This one beats together the eggs and sugar, then adds the butter. When I made it my butter was softened to dentable, and cut into about 1/2" cubes ... it took a lot of beating to get my butter to incorporate. Maybe butter should have been softer.

All of that may seem like I don't like the recipe. I do, I'm just trying to understand the creaming technique and the self-glaze.

Thanks for any ideas

asked by KAM 7 months ago
5 answers 348 views
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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 7 months ago

What a great looking cake. I have found the amount of sugar and the length of time you beat the eggs and sugar together before adding other ingredients is what forms a crunchy top. It almost separates on top like a meringue. I've been known to make a paste with sugar, water and vanilla to put on cakes, quick breads or brownies about 5-10 minutes before coming out of the oven to create a crunchy top.

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Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 7 months ago

Agree, looked at the recipe and it's more a bar cookie.
Ribbon stage is used as a levening agent and was more often used before baking powder and baking soda became common.
Here's a citation from Harold McGee, explaining some about it.
And/or do a search for more articles on "ribbon stage in baking."

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added 7 months ago

Thanks ... appreciate the insight

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added 7 months ago

Hello KAM,
The method for this cake is more specific than outlined in the blogger's instructions. On first glance of the recipe - its ratios and method, I would make the following changes -

1. very room temperature eggs. as in - have eggs on counter for at least four hours.
2. a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
3. beat eggs on medium to high speed, do not shut off mixer, and drizzle in sugar until it's all in, then turn to high speed until mixture is light, shiny, and "holds a trail" - meaning the mixture is thick enough to do so.
4. use super duper almost meltingly soft butter, or melted butter - but not hot.
5. do not turn mixer off. lower speed to low-medium, mush or plop or pour in butter slowly, making sure not to overwhelm the egg mixture, and then when all the butter is in, turning speed on high until all looks shiny and voluptuous again.
6. double or triple sift flour.
7. pour mixture from mixer into a bowl twice it's size.
8. fold - very gently- the sifted flour in (I like to sift the thirds in so they "snow" into the bowl) in thirds.
9. RIGHT BEFORE all the flour streaks disappear, gently fold in the fruit.
10. butter & flour the pan.
11. scrape the mixture in, evenly. meaning - do not drop batter in the middle and then spread the batter, but pour the batter into all areas of the prepared pan, and gently spread the batter slightly so that batter is in pan evenly.

p.s. If you never cube your butter again, for any recipe, you will find you have an easier time incorporating ingredients. I prefer to cut butter in slivers...

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added 7 months ago

Thank you...several places I can see to make changes to how I made this.

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