One of the questions I get asked the most is what ingredients do I use in my baking. I have learned that to produce a good quality product, quality ingredients are a must. So I am going to start with the basic ingredients and add to that as we go along.
When I started getting serious about baking I knew I needed some help. To begin with I acquired books and begin to really study about cakes. On my journey I found Cake Love by Warren Brown. One of first things he covered were ingredients. I learned so much from that book and using quality ingredients was at the top of his list.
I love cakes made with butter and layer cakes are my favorite. So here are my starting five ingredients.
I love the flavor and the texture butter produces in a cake. There are so many to choose from and the salt content can be different in each one. So using unsalted butter lets you control the salt. Its the only butter I keep in the house so I don’t choose the wrong stick and mess up my cake!!
Baker’s Sugar which is a superfine white sugar is my go to if my recipe calls for it. The smaller the crystal the more readily absorbed in the creaming process with the butter. It makes my job easier so that too much mixing does not occur.
For most of my baking I use all-purpose unbleached flour, King Arthur Flour in particular. The soft texture helps to produce a nice crumb in my cakes. I also use cake flour. It is white and has cornstarch in it and works well when i need to make a white cake and I use it for some of my pound cakes.
Industry size for eggs is large. You will find most recipes call for large eggs. I use free range eggs. Healthy chicks equal good eggs.
- Vanilla Flavoring
I think vanilla is the flavoring of choice for most recipes. Pure vanilla flavoring is what you want. Imitation vanilla will cost less but it is not worth what you save. I love the warmth and and aroma of what vanilla gives to my baked goods. I use Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. And the brand I use the most is Nielsen Massey. The Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste is my absolute favorite. I buy it by the biggest bottle I can find! You have vanilla beans in the paste without the work of scrapping them out of the vanilla pod.
So that’s my starting five lineup, and I have a deep bench! So stay tuned. If you start baking with the best ingredients you will enjoy your finished product sooooo…. much more.
It’s part of putting the love in what you do.
until next time….