Types of Cakes
When first time I started making cakes I could not figure out the differences between its types. There are so many names and so many different looks and recipes, which one is the right one for me??? Now that I am a professional baker I have to explain to my clients almost on daily basis what type of cakes am I making, and what is the difference between these and other types on the market. So to make it more clear I have decided to put together some facts to help you understand what types of cakes exist and what to expect from my cakes as well.
All the cakes belong to 2 groups: butter cakes and foam cakes. Does not it sound so simple?:) And yes, it’s actually is this simple. Everything else is just different variations of these two types, different combination of ingredients, it’s proportions and preparation methods, all that gives us many and many types and names of cakes that confuse us on daily basis. Just remember, it’s either butter or foam.
Let’s start with butter cakes. This type of cakes contain high ratio of fat (usually butter, vegetable shortening, margarine or oil) and are leavened with baking soda or baking powder. They are moist and tender, have a delicate texture and are the most popular type of cakes in America. It’s dense yet tender texture makes it perfect for layering, towering and even sculpting. Most common cakes in this category are white, yellow, chocolate, coffee, spice and pound cakes and their different flavor variations.
Foam cakes (sponge cakes) are light and fluffy, its high volume is achieved from beaten eggs rather than a leavening agent like baking powder and contain little or no fat. The basic types of foam cakes are Angel food, Chiffon, Genoise, Swiss Roll Cakes, Biscuit Sponge Cakes. Because these cakes are extremely delicate, they generally don’t hold up well to a thick, all-over coating of buttercream icing, they will not hold the structure well for fondant covered cakes and especially not usable for stacked or sculpted cakes. Most of the time these cakes are served by itself with some simple glazes, flavored syrup or lighter frosting such as whipped cream.
So that said which type of cakes are you getting from my bakery? Answer is very simple- I make butter cakes, although my cakes contain less butter more sour cream (the secret to its moist crumbs). This allows me to have multiple layers, to stack it high up and to sculpt crazy things out of it. So, please, keep this in mind while deciding on the texture of your dream celebration cake. Unless you want your cake to be half way crooked, wobble around and maybe even collapse during your party, don’t choose foam cakes as a structure base.