Whisked cakes

Whisked cakes

By
Leiths School of Food and Wine
Contains
13 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
978 184949 549 3
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

Whisked sponges – made by whisking eggs and sugar together to a mousse-like texture and folding in the flour – are incredibly light and versatile. Their delicate flavour and texture pair well with both subtle and bold flavourings. Genoise – the classic butter-enriched whisked sponge can be layered with delicious fillings, icings and fruits to great effect, which is why it forms the basis of many famous gâteaux.

The only raising agent in a classic whisked cake is the air trapped in tiny bubbles, created when the mixture is whisked to a mousse-like foam. So the most important skills to focus on are whisking the mixture sufficiently ‘to the ribbon’ and folding in the other ingredients with a minimum of damage to the fragile foam. Using a large metal spoon, and developing a decisive, efficient folding method can help. Also remember to pour the mixture into the tin from as low down as possible, as lots of bubbles are destroyed if you pour from a height.

Whisking cream

When cream is whisked, air bubbles are trapped, thickening and lightening the cream so it can be used for cake fillings and toppings. It is all too easy to over-whisk cream. To help avoid the grainy texture of over-whipped cream, make sure the cream is cold before you whisk it. On a hot day, it is a good idea to whisk cream slowly, as it can suddenly thicken.

If you are adding sweetness and flavourings to cream, such as icing or caster sugar, vanilla seeds or grated orange zest, add them before you start whisking; if added at the end over-whisking is more likely.

If you are folding whipped cream into a sweet cake filling, taste it when the other ingredients have been added, then adjust the sweetness accordingly.

SOFT PEAK When whisked to this stage, cream is thick enough to form soft peaks that hold briefly as you lift the whisk, then dissipate back into the cream. If cream is to be folded into another mixture, such as crème pâtissière, it should be of a similar consistency, usually soft peak.

MEDIUM PEAK To use for sandwiching cakes together or for piping, cream needs to be whisked to a slightly firmer peak, so it is just holding its shape but not splitting or looking ragged and textured if piped.

PIPING CONSISTENCY When piping whipped cream, it may overheat in a piping bag held by warm hands, and the last of the cream may curdle before it is piped. To avoid this, slightly under-whisk the cream, or only half-fill the piping bag.

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