This post of mine provides you a brief guide about different types of cakes and also some handy tips useful while making cakes. It will surely make you much well versed with the basics of making cakes and provide you a guide to begin baking if you are a beginner or help you in experimenting with different types of cakes if you already bake.
This post would also be very helpful if you are a vegetarian and want to make eggless cakes or cupcakes. I’ve created a list and a table of a few ingredients which you can use as a substitute of egg in your baking recipes. Using these egg substitutes mentioned below, you can convert any cake or cupcake recipe into an eggless one, without compromising with the texture and taste of your baked goodies.
It is certainly not a comprehensive list of different cakes, which can go very very long, but it is a guide to the most basic cakes which are the most popular ones.
1. Butter/ Oil Cakes:
These are made with a base of butter or oil and baking powder to leaven them or make them rise. The ingredients are usually combined using the creaming method, which means that the soft butter and sugar are beaten together in an electric mixer to partially dissolve the sugar and to incorporate some air. Then eggs are incorporated in the creamed butter and the dry and wet ingredients are added in alternating doses.
This results in a light and airy crumb, though not quite as light as that of a sponge cake but very rich and buttery in taste.
Pound Cake is a very popular butter cake made using equal amounts (a pound each) of butter, flour, sugar & eggs, resulting in a dense, heavy and rich cake, indulgent but high in calories too!
Devil’s Food Cake is also a very popular butter cake made using same ingredients as a pound cake but less butter and eggs and also the addition of chocolate. It is lighter than pound cake but is also very rich and chocolaty.
- Ensure creaming the butter/ oil and sugar properly to get perfect butter cakes.
- They are very soft ,moist, buttery and rich at room temperature but tend to stiffen when refrigerated, so bring them at room temperature before serving.
- To frost the butter cakes, make sure to drizzle light sugar syrup to moisten it and prevent it from stiffening up while refrigerating.
2. Sponge/ Foam Cakes:
Sponge cakes usually do not include fat, such as butter or oil, and they do not incorporate leaveners, like baking powder (except when made eggless). Instead, volume is created by whipping the eggs or egg whites. The air whipped into the eggs expands during baking, causing these cakes to rise on their own without baking powder.
They are usually made by beating the eggs with sugar until they are light and creamy, then carefully sieving and folding in the flour. For some sponge cakes, the egg yolks are beaten with the sugar first while the whites are beaten separately to a meringue-like foam, to be incorporated after mixing in flour. Some sponge cakes are also made using only egg whites and some using whole eggs.
This method produces extremely light, airy cakes with a spongy texture but generally less in flavor, moisture and richness than butter and oil cakes. Sponge cakes can be easily iced as the do not harden upon refrigerating and are also used to make Swiss rolls.
Angel’s Food Cake is a popular sponge cake made with only egg whites. The whites are whipped with sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peaks and the flour is gently folded in, resulting in a snowy-white, airy, and delicate cake. Most angel food cakes have a spongy, chewy quality derived from their relatively high sugar content and the absence of egg yolks. Fruit sauces and frostings go very well with it.
Genoise is an Italian sponge cake made using whole eggs, making it richer than angel’s food cake. The eggs, and sometimes extra yolks, are combined with sugar and gently heated over simmering water and then whipped. Sometimes melted butter is also added to the whipped eggs. It is made to prepare thin sheet cakes, swiss rolls, ladyfinger biscuits for tiramisu, etc.
Chiffon Cake is a combination of oil cakes and sponge cakes. In this, egg yolks,oil and sugar are creamed together and egg whites are whipped separately till stiff peaks. Then dry ingredients and egg whites are folded in. It is rich and moist in flavour due to oil and soft and light like chiffon.
Red Velvet Cake is a dark red, bright red or red-brown colored sponge cake. It is made using butter/ oil, buttermilk, sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda and red food coloring or beetroot puree for red color. The buttermilk added to the batter makes the cake moist, light, fluffy and velvety texture.
- Whip the egg whites really well to stiff peaks to make good meringue based cakes by adding a little cream of tartar to stabilize it.
- Taking sponge cakes out of the baking pans while still warm can deflate them.
- To make buttermilk, combine room temperature 1 cup milk and 1 tbsp. vinegar and keep aside for 5 minutes.
3. Flourless Cakes:
Flourless cakes are made without using flour or little flour and are thus very creamy and silky in texture. Flourless cakes can be baked as well as unbaked. Flourless cakes are very dense, flavourful, rich and luscious.
Baked Flourless Cakes are baked cheesecakes, and flourless chocolate cake. Baked cheesecake consists of at least 2 layers. The bottom layer or base is made of crushed cookies, graham crackers, sponge cake, etc which is refrigerated. The second layer of eggs, cream cheese and sugar is poured over it and baked.
Unbaked Flourless Cakes are unbaked cheesecakes and mousse cakes. They usually have at least 2 layers. The first layer usually includes a pre baked crust of crushed cookies or cakes. The second layer of cream/ cream cheese, eggs, sugar, gelatin and flavouring is poured over it and set to chill in a refrigerator for a few hours. More alternating layers of sponge cakes are sometimes used in mousse cakes.
- Ensure chilling the crust properly before pouring the cream/ cream cheese layer over it.
- For making unbaked flourless cakes, replace eggs with gelatin if you do not like the smell of raw eggs.
- Ensure chilling the flourless cakes properly before serving.
4. Eggless Cakes:
Eggless cakes are made without using in base recipe. Though they differ slightly from the cakes made using eggs but the difference is very difficult to spot. Eggless cakes can be made of any type except for a few cakes which use egg whites in large quantities like Angel’s food cake or Chiffon cake.
Eggless Pound Cake can be made by replacing 1 egg with ¼th cup of yogurt/ silken tofu/ banana (½ banana)/ condensed milk or 1 tbsp. flax seeds and 3 tbsp. water or 1.5 tbsp. each of oil and water or 2 tbsp. corn flour and 3 tbsp. water. It tastes rich and buttery, similar to a pound cake made using eggs. Devil’s Food Cake can also be made similarly. In these cakes, eggs act as a binding agent. Condensed milk works the best in butter cakes as it provides the binding as well as the colour.
Sponge Cakes made using large quantities of egg whites like Angel’s Food Cake and Chiffon Cakes cannot be made eggless but sponges using whole eggs can be made eggless. Eggless Sponge Cakes can be made by replacing 1 egg with ¼th cup of yoghurt/ condensed milk/ banana (½ banana)/ carbonated water/ applesauce or 1 tbsp. flax seeds and 3 tbsp. water or 1.5 tbsp. each of oil and water or 1.5 tsp. egg replacer powder and 2 tbsp. oil or 1 tbsp. vinegar (in a cake). Along with these ingredients, add a tsp. of baking powder and half a tsp. of baking soda for a 1 cup plain flour (maida) recipe. Though not as airy and spongy as angel’s food cake, but eggless sponge cakes are also light and fluffy similar to a basic sponge cake and do not require heavy whipping. Eggs act as a leavening agent in sponge cakes. Yogurt/ buttermilk/ carbonated water works very well in sponge cakes.
Flourless cakes are very easy to make eggless. Unbaked Flourless Cakes like Cheesecakes and Mousse Cakes can be made by whipping, chilling and again whipping 1 tbsp. each of agar agar powder and water, mixing it to the cream cheese or mousse layer before chilling. Baked flourless Cakes like Cheesecakes can be made by adding 2 tbsp. corn flour to the cream cheese mix, before baking the cheesecake.
- The above mentioned substitutes are for 1 egg only. Increase their quantities as required, proportionately. Use them in place of eggs as mentioned in the recipe.
- The above mentioned substitutes are only for the recipes which call for egg. Do not add them additionally when following eggless recipes which already have egg substitute ingredients.
- For butter/ oil eggless cakes, make sure to whip the butter/ oil and sugar very well to incorporate air in the batter.
- If using carbonated water, add it to the batter in the end, just before baking.
- For unbaked flourless cakes, use exact quantity of agar agar to prevent it from being rubbery.
- Ensure chilling the baked flourless cakes before cutting it.
Eggless Whole Wheat Choco Cherry Marble Cake:
Eggless Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Ganache:
- While making cakes, measure all the ingredients properly using measuring cups and spoons or a kitchen weighing scale to bake perfect cakes.
- Sift and mix the dry ingredients properly, preferably 2-3 times (atleast 1 time) before folding it into the liquid ingredients.
- You can replace butter in any cake or cup cake recipe by using ¾th the quantity of any mild flavoured oil. Say you can replace 1 cup of buter with ¾th cup of oil.
- Fold the dry ingredients in the cake batter very gently to prevent the air in the batter from deflating.
- As a beginner, follow the recipe and ingredients as it is and later you can slowly start experimenting with the ingredients.
- If adding cocoa powder to any vanilla cake recipe, add 2-3 tbsp. milk/water to the cake batter to adjust the consistency.
- If baking the cake in a microwave, make a thinner batter by increasing 2-3 tbsp. of milk or water. This is very essential as cakes dry up fast in microwave.
- While adding nuts or fresh or dried fruits in the cakes, dust them with some plain flour (maida) before adding to the cake batter.
- Grease the baking pan well before pouring the batter, with butter or oil and dust it with some plain flour (maida). You can also line it with a greased parchment paper instead.
- While baking the cake in an oven/ otg, preheat with both upper and lower rods heating and while baking, keep only lower rods heated and always keep the cake pan on the middle rack. Adjust the temperature according to your oven and keep it generally 10 degrees centigrade lower in the beginning.
- While baking cake in microwave, keep an eye on the cake as it bakes very fast in a microwave. Give 5 minutes standing time to the cake in the cake mould. Do not overbake the cake and take it out of the microwave when just done as it keeps on cooking in standing time.
- To check if the cake is done, insert a clean skewer/ knife/ toothpick in the cake. If it comes out clean, then the cake is done but if the batter sticks to it, then the cake needs more baking.
- Ensure cooling the cake well before icing or frosting it to prevent the icing from melting.
- Moisten the cake (especially butter/ oil cake) with light sugar syrup before icing it, to mintain moist and soft texture of the cake.