11 types of cakes to satisfy your sweet tooth
There are many types of cakes, and there are many ways to divide them into different categories. Home bakers categorize cakes based on flavouring (e.g., fruit cakes, chocolate cakes, etc.). Professional bakers, however, categorize cakes based on ingredients and mixing. This is useful when deciding what cake to make, but it can be unclear when trying to figure out how to make the best one. The final texture and colour of the batter will vary depending on how it was prepared. Here is a list of basic cakes, which is not exhaustive.
- Butter Cake
A butter cake is any recipe that starts with “cream butter and sugar”. To make sure that the cake rises in the oven, you will add eggs to cream the batter. There are four types of butter cake batters: white, yellow, and marble. The colour of white and yellow cakes will depend on whether they contain whole eggs (yellowcake), extra yolks (yellowcake), or egg whites (white cake).
- Pound Cake
Pound cake can be considered a relative to butter cake. Because it is easy to measure, you can use a pound of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. You’ll see the eggs separated in some pound cake recipes. The egg whites are whipped into the batter and then folded to leaven it. Other Recipes will have learners such as baking soda and baking powder that help bring the butter-cake fold together. These cakes can be served plainly or with a glaze or water icing. A loaf pan or Bundt pan is used for baking pound cakes. There are many variations of the pound cake, including coffee cakes, sour-cream cakes and fruit crumb cakes.
- Sponge Cake
This is a sponge cake, and there are many types. A recipe does not contain baking soda or baking powder but has lots of eggs or egg whites. Depending on where you live, they will be called various things.
- Genoise Cake
It is also known as genoise in France and Italy. Whole eggs are beaten with sugar until they become thick, ribbony, and added flour. The batter can be baked in a round pan or frosted in a pan. However, genoise is flexible enough to bake in a jelly-roll pan and roll into a roulade.
Genoise has a less assertive flavour than butter, but it can make layered or rolled cakes. Genoise cake layers are moistened with flavouring syrups. They are then sliced horizontally and filled with rich fillings like buttercream. These layer cakes are common in Europe’s coffeehouses and are often called “European style” to differentiate them from American-style butter layers cakes, which have more layers.
- Biscuit Cake
Biscuit, also known as bees-kwee in French, is another sponge cake containing egg yolks and whites. However, unlike genoise, whites and eggs are separated and folded together. This makes a lighter batter, which is drier than a genoise, but it holds its shape better after mixed. It’s used often to pipe shapes like ladyfingers. It makes a chewy sponge cake when baked in a tube pan, similar to angel food cakes. However, this recipe has fallen out of favour. It is still popular in a slightly different version than the traditional Passover sponge cake. The flour is replaced with matzoh cake meal (and potato starch).
- Angel Food Cake
Angel food cake is made only with egg whites and no yolks. The whites are whipped together with the sugar until they become firm. After that, the flour is gently mixed in. This creates a delicate, snowy-white cake that pairs well with fruit. The high sugar content of angel food cakes and the absence of yolks gives them a soft, chewy texture. Angel food cakes should be baked in two-piece tube pans. They are best cooled inverted as this will prevent the cake from bursting if it is left to cool in its original position. The cake contains no butter, which means it is not enriched with fat.
- Chiffon Cake
This American invention is relatively recent. It was created by a salesman who sold the recipe to General Mills. They then spread the recipe via marketing materials in the 1940s & 1950s. Chiffon cakes are a mix of an oil cake and a sponge. The batter is made with vegetable oil and baking powder. However, the eggs are separated before the whites are beaten to a soft peak. This results in a cake with a moist crumb and rich flavours but a lighter texture than a sponge cake. You can bake Chiffon cakes in tubes like angel food cakes or layer them with fillings.
- Baked Flourless Cake
These include flourless chocolate cakes and baked cheesecakes. They are best made in a springform pan for easy removal. However, some can be made in regular round cake pans. A half-filled pan with water is used to insulate delicate, creamy cakes from the oven’s high bottom heat. This will give the cake a porous texture. This is known as baking the cake in a water bath.
- Unbaked Flourless Cake
These cakes include mousse cakes and unbaked cheesecakes. These cakes are usually made in a springform pan or dessert ring and then chilled before unmolding. The bottom layer of these cakes is often a crust that has been baked before the mousse is added. Other layers such as genoise and biscuit can be used in place of the mousse.
- Carrot Cake
Carrot cake follows the same leavening principles as butter cakes but instead uses a neutral oil such as vegetable or canola oils. It will last a bit longer than butter cake, but it can sometimes be a bit more oily. The process is almost identical: instead of beating butter and sugar, whip up eggs and sugar. Next, add oil.
- Red Velvet Cake
Red velvet cake resembles a butter cake but is often made with oil in place of butter. This is a result of a reaction between buttermilk (which was readily available at the time) and raw cocoa (which was not widely available). Cocoa is also added to the batter to give the red velvet flavour. You’ll find them more often tinted with food colour. The $200 cake is a common name for the cake. Legend has it that the first red velvet cake was baked at Waldorf-Astoria in the 1920s. One guest fell in love with the cake so much that she asked the chef for the recipe. It doesn’t matter what you call it; it is delicious.