Cake is a baked dessert known for its appeal and taste. It is soft and creamy and is an all-time favorite dessert. Cakes and cake recipes have been prepared from historical times. Cakes can be decorated in innumerable ways. Tarts, brownies and tortes are some of the very popular variations of cake.
History of Cakes
The origin of cake can be traced back to ancient times, when baking was first mastered by the Egyptian cuisine of the period. Bread can be considered the ancestor of the cake as first sweet tasting breads were prepared with honey. The term cake for the dessert seems to be of Viking origin. The dessert was first popularized in the European countries and then in North America. The ancient Greeks were the first to make a type of cheesecake and the Romans were the first to prepare the early versions of the fruit cake. In ancient Rome, a cake-like product was prepared when basic bread dough was enriched with honey, butter and eggs. Cakes that were earlier made in England were also made out of bread. The difference between a cake and bread is obvious. Bread has dough which is light in composition in comparison to cake which is generally richer than bread in the composition of its ingredients. Breads were often considered the same in the olden times. In modern times, the dessert has an individuality of its own.
Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation of Dish
A cake is made using flour, eggs, butter, leavening agents, milk or water and sugar. Additional ingredients such as nuts, extracts or fruit purées may be added and main ingredients may be replaced by their substitutes. Cakes may be iced with icings or buttercream, decorated with candied fruit or filled with fruit preserves. Cake is a baked dessert and several cake recipes exist. Directions of cake making have been simplified to such an extent that even an amateur can make a cake. Preparing a cake does not remain a complicated task any longer.
Serving and Eating Cake Dishes
Cakes are usually served as a dessert. Sometimes, they may be served as a snack too. Cake is the most popular dessert choice for meals at various ceremonies and occasions like weddings and anniversaries. Cake dishes are mostly eaten independently. They be be accompanied by a scoop of ice cream or dessert sauce atop.
Types of Cakes
Cakes are available in various categories.
- Yeast cakes – yeast cakes are one of the oldest preparations. They are much like the yeast breads. Babka and Stollen are amongst the most popular examples of yeast cakes.
- Cheesecakes – Cheesecakes are basically custard pies that consist of a cheese filling.
- Sponge cakes – Sponge cakes are the very first type of the non-yeast-based cakes. Sponge cakes which are highly decorated are often called gateau.
- Butter Cakes – Butter cakes are prepared using a combination of butter, baking powder and eggs. Baking powder adds a moist texture and a lift to the cake. Some examples of butter cakes are devils’ food cake and pound cakes.
Apart from the above mentioned varieties, cakes can be categorized on the basis of their accompaniment (like coffee cakes) and their content (like fruitcake).
Classification of Cakes Based on Structure
- Layer cakes – these are cakes that are made up of two or more layers of the cake mass with a filling of cream or jam in-between them. The cake may be decorated from outside when the layers are not visible clearly. However, the cross section of a piece of neatly cut layered cake reveals delicious strata of different layers of the cake mass with cream, chocolate or other fillings between them. A number of party cakes are prepared as layered cakes. Some wedding and birthday cakes are two or three tiered with lavish usage of cream, chocolate, and a variety of frostings. Black forest cake, red velvet cake, German chocolate and cream cheese cakes are some of the popular layered cakes. A springform pan is used to bake this cake.
- Sheet cake- it is a flat and wide cake consisting of a single layer and usually rectangular in shape. It is baked in a sheet pan and is decorated with icing. This cake, being less expensive than a layered cake is mostly prepared for office parties and birthdays.
- Cupcakes – also known as patty cakes and fairy cakes, these are small cakes meant for individual single servings. They are generally consumed as snack cakes and also as desserts, the dessert cakes being frosted and richer in content than snack cakes. These are baked in individual cake moulds.
- The Bundt cake – this is a ring shaped cake with a hole in the middle. The cake is baked in a special utensil meant for the purpose called a Bundt pan. The cake is believed to have its origin in the ring shaped German coffee cake.
- Roll Cake- the most popular type of which is known as Swiss roll or jelly roll. It consists of a sheet of cake rolled up with jam or cream. Though known as a Swiss roll, this variety of cake is believed to be of Central European origin. The cake is first baked as a sheet in a sheet pan. The jam is spread on it and the cake is then rolled.
- Ball cakes- these are cakes shaped in the form of balls. These cakes are dense and not as spongy as other types of cakes which may be explained by the fact that both the cake and the icing being merged together in the ball. A coating of chocolate maybe given to the cake. For example, rum balls are dense balls of rum and chocolate cakes. The Texan and Louisianan cuisines have been attributed with the credit of popularizing ball cakes in the recent times.
Cakes, without decoration, would not attained high levels of popularity. It is the decoration on a cake that makes it very visually appealing as well as irresistible to the taste buds and therefore a lot of time, effort and resources are spent to decorate the cake and make it look beautiful. A variety of toppings, icings and frostings, sprinkles (also known as jimmes) are used for decorating cakes. Icing sugar is a powdered sugar used for the purpose of icing. It is mixed with butter, food color and flavoring agents to make different types of icings. Fondant, royal icing, marzipan are the materials that are used for frosting cakes. The icing is let out through special cake decoration equipments like a piping bag or a syringe to make different types of decorated forms. The designs range from simple ones such as a small flower to highly complex structures like a multi-storeyed building with staircases to each floor!
Health and Nutrition Facts Related to Cake Recipes
Cake has a very low level of cholesterol but due to the presence of large amount of sugar, it has high calories. Thus, it is not suitable for consumption by diabetic and obese people