It’s possible that learning the science involved in cake baking will improve your skills.
It’s a common adage that baking is a science and cooking is an art. This is because most meals are rather forgiving when you prepare them; you may “guesstimate” amounts and let your taste and preferences direct you as you go. However, baking requires flying blind. The flavour of the batter doesn’t reveal much, and you can’t spoon out some to taste while it bakes.
The flavor-giving components of a cake are normally modifiable, but with the more “functional” components of baked goods—oils, eggs, and leavening agents—the precise amounts are crucial. Recently, the science of baking a cake was demonstrated on the NPR science podcast Short Wave: Adriana Patterson, a biochemist-turned-baker, was brought on board to assist Short Wave celebrate its third birthday by using science to create a fluffier, more delectable cake. You can do the same.
According to Short Wave producer Berly McCoy, “science is for everyone” and “everything is science.” An inclusive experiment, Short Wave. As many individuals as possible should be interested in science, according to us.
How science can aid in the creation of a fluffier cake
A cake, in Patterson’s words, is “stabilised, baked foam,” with a structure like a sponge. You should add as much air as you can if you want to create an extra-fluffy baked foam. According to Patterson on the podcast, “the more air you force into it, the more spongy and fluffy it gets.”
A leavening agent, such as baking soda, effectively injects carbon dioxide into your cake mix. Baking soda produces tiny bubbles in the dough or batter when combined with an acid component and a liquid; you must preserve these bubbles by not over-mixing. The air bubbles expand when heat is added, creating a fluffy cake.
A colloidal dispersion of milk phosphoprotein and C12H22O11 makes up buttercream frosting.
But you need to use more ingredients than just baking soda and powder if you want an especially fluffy cake. Meringue and science are required. In the form of long chains of curled up amino acids floating in water, egg whites contain roughly 10% protein. According to Patterson, whipping something up quickly fundamentally involves adding air and unravelling the proteins in the egg white. When those proteins unwind, they build a web that contains a lot of air, according to Patterson. More air pockets in the web equal even more fluffiness.
Since there are no heat-related reactions in cake frosting, the chemistry is simpler than in cake, yet buttercream is still quite fascinating from a scientific standpoint.
Patterson said, “Buttercream is an emulsion. “It binds water and oil together with the help of a unique component or molecule inside called an emulsifier. Casein is what holds the fat and water together in butter.
Some varieties of buttercream frosting have a slightly gritty texture because there is too much solid sugar added relative to the liquid portion of the frosting. Undissolved grains of sugar stay suspended in the frosting because only a certain amount of solid sugar can dissolve in the water and fat. But using sugar that isn’t solid, it’s simple to make smooth buttercream. “There is enough casein in the butter to allow us to continue adding water-based elements while yet maintaining that stability.