The Sweet Bite
Have you ever wondered how a pastry chef can create a cake recipe from the scratch and know that it will work? Unlike a hot kitchen chef, who can often use instinct to design a successful dish, a pastry chef must work within distinct parameters to produce a cake that will rise, set, and taste the way it is supposed to. Experienced pastry chefs would never dream of trying to bake a cake without first “doing the math” to make sure that the ingredients are in balance. Having the right proportions of flour, eggs, sugar, and fat makes all the difference.
Successful preparation of pastry, cake and yeast goods requires an understanding of the ingredients used, the techniques applied and the knowledge of how to bake correctly. Cake, pastry and dessert production is an demanding style that requires discipline. It is reliant upon the correct measuring of the ingredients, and awareness of ingredient temperature, how to bake and the ability to determine why certain techniques are more appropriate than others. It is fair to say that there is less margin for error in baking than in mainstream cookery.
In cakes, the protein ingredients, which are the flour and eggs, are the major structure-builders. They’re essentially what holds the cake together. Fat and sugar do the opposite; they wreck or soften the cake’s structure, providing tenderness and moisture.
Pastry Chefs have formulas that balance these ingredients so their cakes have the strength to hold together but are still tender and moist. These formulas don’t have to be followed 100%, but if you deviate by more than about 20 percent, you may have problems.
There are two sets of formulas: pound-cake (or lean-cake) formulas, which have less sugar than flour; and “high-ratio” formulas, which contain more sugar. The general rule is that high-ratio cakes require shortening, whose added emulsifiers help hold the cake together. You can, however, make successful high-ratio cakes with butter if you aerate the butter by creaming it and if you add emulsifiers in the form of egg yolks. Some bakers even make cakes with olive oil, which contains natural emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides).
Colombo Court Hotel & Spa’s very own expert, Chef Jean Pierre has more than 3 decades of experience all over the world. He has partaken as Chef de partie at many international hotel chains. He was contracted to make the first wedding cake of the legendary heartthrob Madonna.
The creations of Chef Jean Pierre have appreciable qualities including selection of ingredients that are amiable to the pallet as well as the diet. The range of eggless cakes is comforting to the vegans and the diet conscious sweet lover who can treat themselves to guiltless bliss.
Chef Jean Pierre’s signature cake range is available exclusively at Colombo Court Hotel & Spa boutique hotel in Colombo, and is available for your next special occasion which is bound to make the “cake moment” a definite talking point.