Good Cake Making
If the first rule of successful cake making is to find a good recipe and follow it to the letter then the second must be that, if reducing or increasing the basic quantities, to maintain the correct ‘balance’.
Simply adding more baking powder will not produce a lighter cake.
A really rich fruit cake, such as a traditional Christmas cake for example, will require far less baking powder than a luncheon cake since the balance of the ingredients will be sufficient to form the structure of the cake.
For fruit cake it is recommended to use the best quality plain flour available to you and add baking powder relative to the amount of fruit to be used.
The illustrations above show how faults in balance can affect the end result.
At the time this article was published (some-when during the mid to late 50’s) the baking powder maker Borwick and Sons prepared the following guidelines for the correct use of their product in cake making.
For a semi-rich cake, made with plain flour,
you will require:
For no fruit – 2½ level teaspoons,
For 8oz fruit – 1½ level teaspoons
For 12oz fruit – 1¼ level teaspoons
For 16oz fruit – 1 level teaspoon
For a rich cake, made with plain flour, you will require:
For no fruit – 2 level teaspoons,
For 8oz fruit – 1¼ level teaspoons
For 12oz fruit – ¾ level teaspoon
For 16oz fruit – No baking powder
Given that the balance of ingredients in the recipe are maintained, a favoured recipe can be adapted to give the optimum result. When considering the recipe balance it must be remembered that egg is a toughening agent while fat a shortening agent so they must stay in step. Any increase in eggs and fat will require a reduction in baking powder. If eggs and fat are to be reduced it must be done in step to prevent the cake collapsing.