Cake crust – gotta like it, right?
Flaky and tender whenever you nail it, tough as rawhide whenever you don’t, cake crust divides many of us bakers into definitive groups: individuals who succeed individuals who fail, but keep trying and individuals who buy Mrs. Smith’s.
Exactly why is cake crust so tough – frequently literally? Well, it’s by pointing out body fat, water, and also the flour. Three simple elements that, together, can produce a masterpiece – or mayhem.
Truthfully, I personally use our all-purpose flour within my cake crust I must take care not to arrange it way too hard when the water is added (for anxiety about developing its gluten), however for me, it provides a perfect mixture of great results, and easy handling.
Water – allow it to be cold water. Not so difficult, right?
Ah, now comes the component that perhaps makes or breaks a cake crust, as well as produces probably the most debate:
Your grandmother used lard. Your mother used shortening. You utilize butter. Are fats produced equal?
I made the decision to discover.
First factor Used to do was eliminate lard. NOT BECAUSE It Isn't A Wonderfully GOOD Body fat AND Able To Make WONDROUSLY TASTY Cake CRUST. In the end, our forefathers made lard-crust pies for hundreds of years and, like lard-fried raspberry braid, these were scrumptious.
I’m ruling out lard the way it could be problematic for many folks to locate nowadays. If you love lard, and also have a good supplier – stick to it.
But when butter and vegetable shortening are the options, continue reading.
For a long time, I’ve alternated between two favorite quality recipes: Classic Double Cake Crust, a crust created using both shortening and butter and all sorts of-Butter Cake Crust.
One Thanksgiving I’d opt for an exciting-butter crust in my Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cake the following, I’d make my Apple Cake using the shortening/butter clone.
But didn't have I made both crust together, and done a side-by-side comparison. That was flakier? Which sampled better?
And That I made an incredible discovery (amazing in my experience we cake nerds are often amazed): something I’d always thought to be real was absolutely, unconditionally, certainly not the case whatsoever.
I’d always told people who a shortening/butter cake crust might have better texture than an exciting-butter crust, because of shortening’s greater melting point. Why?
Body fat keeps the layers of flour/water “matrix” separated because the cake bakes the more body fat exists in the solid form (score one for shortening, using its high melting point), the greater flakes will form, the greater tender/flakier the crust is going to be.
Now, that might be true. I did not really count the amount of flaky layers in every crust.
Only one factor was abundantly obvious: the all-butter crust (above left) designed a lighter crust, with increased defined flakes, compared to butter/shortening combination (above right).
I had been totally puzzled, until it dawned on me: butter consists of more water than shortening.
Because the crust bakes, that water is transformed into steam, puffing in the crust (and it is flakes) like someone coming up a balloon.
And flavor? The all-butter crust sampled – well, buttery, obviously. The butter/shortening crust (that was, incidentally, just like tender and flaky because the butter crust, but without its light texture) sampled a little like butter, and a little like cake crust – that indefinable something which informs your tastebuds, yes, I’m eating a bit of cake.
Both were good – just different. And among the chief variations was looks: the butter crust created a really ill-defined edge. My careful fluting essentially increased in smoke – er, steam.