Home > Cakes For All Occasions
Cakes For All Occasions
Cake is a type of food that is generally sweet and often baked. Cakes usually combine some sort of flour, a sweetening agent (commonly sugar), a binding agent (generally egg, though gluten or starch can be used by lacto-vegetarians and vegans), fats (usually butter, shortening or margarine, although a fruit purée like applesauce is sometimes substituted to avoid using fat), a fluid (milk, water or fruit juice), flavours and some type of leavening agent (such as yeast or baking powder), though many cakes lack these ingredients and instead rely on air bubbles in the dough to expand and cause the cake to rise.
Cake is often frosted with butter cream or marzipan and finished with piped borders and crystallized fruit.
Cake can often be the dessert of choice for meals at ceremonial events, particularly weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. There are numerous cake recipes; some are bread-like, some rich and elaborate and many are centuries old. Cake making is no longer a complicated procedure; while at one time considerable labour went into cake making (particularly the whisking of egg foams), baking equipment and directions have been simplified that even the most amateur cook may bake a cake.
Cakes are broadly separated into a number of categories, based primarily on ingredients as well as cooking techniques.
• Yeast cakes are the oldest, and are similar to yeast breads. Such cakes tend to be very traditional in form, and include such pastries as babka and stollen.
• Cheesecakes use mostly some type of cheese, often cream cheese, mascarpone, ricotta or the like and have very little to no flour component (though it sometimes appears in the form of a (often sweetened) crust). Cheesecakes are also very old, with evidence of honey-sweetened cakes dating back to ancient Greece.
• Sponge cakes are thought to be the very first of the non-yeast-based cakes and rely primarily on trapped air in a protein matrix (generally of beaten eggs) to provide leavening, sometimes with a bit of baking powder or other chemical leaven added as insurance. Such cakes include the Italian/Jewish pan di Spagna and the French Génoise. Highly decorated sponge cakes with lavish toppings are sometimes called gateau, after the French word for cake.
• Butter cakes, including the pound cake and devil's food cake, rely on the combination of butter, eggs and sometimes baking powder to produce both lift along with a moist texture.
• Ruske Kape-these are round, coconut and chocolate-flavoured cakes originating in the Balkan region specifically Bosnia and Serbia. A large cake garnished with strawberries.
Beyond these classifications, cakes can be classified according to their appropriate accompaniment (such as coffee cake) and contents (e.g. fruitcake or flourless chocolate cake).