PARAGRAPH 1: Introduction

Background Information:

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People say that baking is more of a science than cooking. It is a constant trial and error especially for novice bakers. Well, baker or not, most of us probably had our fair share of flop attempts when it comes to baking a cake, especially the particular kind that we called sponge cake. Sponge cake is a versatile cake that is why it is commonly used for a variety of occasions. It is a soft light cake that can be paired with almost all flavorings that you can think of. As a huge fan of baking, I also became one of the victims of the incredibly frustrating moments of opening the warm oven and expecting a lovely sight of a sponge cake only to find a huge blob of mess screaming to be thrown straight to the trash. But the thing is, these flops can be avoided if a person has at least the basic knowledge or understanding of how to execute it properly. Knowledge about the accuracy, roles of each ingredients and proper mixing of are the three basic keys to successful baking that we have to learn and master.


Topic Sentence: Accuracy

Accurate measurements of ingredients in baking is a must. It is a rule that I swear of and nobody can convince me to do otherwise. As an experienced baker, I learned that much or too little of what is required will greatly impact the final result of your cake. When measuring flour, sugar or any dry ingredients, it is best to use a scale. You can get more precise measurements of your ingredients when using a scale versus using measuring cups alone. Every time you scoop flour from the container chances are, you either tightly packed or loosely scooped it. If you don’t own a scale or find it expensive to get one, using a measuring cup alone can be acceptable, only if you use a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup, thus avoiding the compression of the flour. Another thing to remember is to always use a small knife to scrape and level the flour across the measuring cup, doing so can prevent packing-which can add up quickly and will cause your cake to be hard or dense that is opposed to the expected texture of a good sponge cake. Same as when measuring powdered sugar. Incorrect amount of sugar incorporated in a recipe can either over sweetened or make your cake tasteless.


Topic Sentence: Roles of each ingredients

The second thing you have to remember is to be knowledgeable about the roles of each of the ingredients that you are using. Let’s say that you are currently in the middle of preparing the cake batter, but then suddenly, you found out that you ran out of baking soda but have lots of baking powder in your pantry. Can you use it in place of baking powder? The answer is yes, BUT, you have to know that baking powder is three times less effective than baking soda. Both are rising agents but they have different characteristics. Baking powder causes a quick chemical reaction that makes baked goods rise rapidly which is a no- no especially when baking a cake, whilst baking powder makes the lifting slower, therefore makes the cake fluffy and leveled. Because of these characteristics, every time you have to replace baking soda with baking powder, the usage ratio should be 3:1. This is a strong example of knowing the roles of each of the ingredients needed in a recipe.


Topic Sentence: Mixing methods

And finally, the last thing that is also very important but commonly disregarded is the way and the duration of how you incorporate the ingredients. For example, you are instructed to incorporate whisked egg whites aka raw meringue to the rest of the ingredients that you have mixed earlier. You wouldn’t want to mix or whisk it together rapidly because this will cause the air that is trapped in the meringue to deflate leading to a dense cake. Instead, what you have to do is to slowly scoop from underneath the mixture and gently fold over the top, this way you will not lose the trapped air inside the meringue that will help to lighten up the texture of the baked cake. Too much and extended mixing can also result in a cake that is dense and gummy but undermixed batter will cause uneven distribution of ingredients that is not desirable as well. To make sure that you are doing the right technique of mixing you have to be certain that you are following the method of the recipe to a tee.


All in all, these three are very important components of baking. You have to learn them by heart so every time you try to bake a sponge cake, you know that you are measuring the correct amount of ingredients, how each of them works and how you mix them affects the result of your baking. It is truly a combination of science and art.