The first question that comes to mind, since reading the recipe for a dessert, is: how to make a soft cake? The high and fluffy cakes are the main ambition of all those who are involved in the preparation of a cake, from amateurs to confectioners.
Indeed, a high cake, with a uniform and soft aspect, is certainly an inviting cake, even if only with a light dusting of icing sugar; if we then have to prepare a stuffed cake, perfection is a must!
Preparing a perfect cake, high and soft, requires some tips, and once learned and accustomed to these tips, you will realize that it will be all spontaneous and your cakes will all be perfect.
The golden rules for a high and fluffy cake
The rules that we must follow to have a perfect cake are few, but we need to pay attention from the moment we read the recipe, until we take it out of the oven!
Although not explicitly provided for in the recipe, in order to have a soft cake you can replace part of the flour with potato flour, which being a thin and light powder, has the effect of lightening the dough and making the processing simpler.
If the recipe involves the use of melted butter, you can replace it with oil (olive, seeds or half and half) to have a lighter overall effect, allowing moreover the mixture to incorporate more air and be therefore softer .
Another small measure that you can use is to add a pinch of baking soda to the dough, it helps the action of the yeast and improves the softness of the cake.
Temperature of the ingredients
All ingredients used, unless otherwise prescribed by the recipe (it is the case of butter in short pastry, which must be cold in the refrigerator) must be at room temperature, this is essential for proper processing and also allows the yeast to act better.
The processing of the ingredients
Almost all the recipes of the cakes include the processing of sugar and eggs, this is very important for the perfect success of the cake. Then do this task with an electric mixer or a planetary mixer, to be sure to get a creamy and foamy cream, with an almost whitish color, which tends to form bubbles on the surface and that as we say in jargon "writes": falling from whips, it remains a bit on the surface before being absorbed by the dough.
If the recipe involves the separate processing of the egg whites, make sure you have them whipped perfectly, even in this case it is better to resort to an electric mixer. Then incorporate them to the other ingredients, at the time prescribed by the recipe, working by hand, with a spatula, with movement from the base upwards to prevent them from disassembling.
Sifting the powders
Another fundamental aspect to guarantee the softness of the cakes is to sift the powders. Flour, cocoa, yeast or other dry ingredients must all be added to the other ingredients by pulverising them with a sieve for the flour, this will avoid the formation of unpleasant lumps.
Once the yeast has been added, the cake must be baked within a few minutes, as yeast starts to act even outside the oven, leading to a possible failure of the cake. If you really need to wait before baking the cake, put the dough in the refrigerator, the cold slows the action of the yeast.
Another fundamental aspect for a correct leavening of the cake is to put the cake in the central shelf of the oven, in this way it will be able to receive a uniformly distributed heat. It is also essential not to open the oven door during the baking of the cake, especially in the first 2/3 of the intended cooking time, since it would abruptly lower the temperature inside the oven, irreparably damaging the leavening, then cooking and perfect success of the cake.
The temperature of the oven
When you have to bake the cake, the oven must already have reached the temperature prescribed by the recipe (usually for cakes is around 170 ° -180 °), so preheat the oven, light it when you start the processing of the cake. In this way, when you are ready to bake it, the oven is also ready, since it will have reached the right temperature.
Although the cooking temperature is indicated by the recipe, not all ovens are the same, so get to know your oven. To do this you can check the actual temperature with a thermometer and adjust accordingly. In any case, only the experience you will make in using your oven will help you to really know it.
Be careful not to change the temperature of the oven while cooking a cake, so do not open the door, if not in the last minutes of cooking, you will actually realize that it is a good time to open the oven and control the temperature without damaging leavening, from the sweet smell that will flood the kitchen.
How to cool the cake
The cake does not like the sudden changes in temperature, even when it comes time to cool down. So when the cake is ready turn off the oven, open the door a little and let it settle for 5 minutes. Now take it out of the oven and put it to cool on a wire rack (the hob grids are fine too) so that the air can circulate all around. Remove the cake from the mold only when it has completely cooled.