At heart, shortening cakes are all the same. They’re all made with shortening, butter or margarine, flour, eggs, a liquid and a leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda. Only the flavorings are different, but what a difference they make! Flavorings determine whether it’s a German Chocolate Cake or Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Easy Butter Cake or Silver White Cake.
Pans and Pan Preparation
lace oven rack in the middle of the oven place pans in the center of the rack. When baking a layer cake, arrange 8- or 9-inch round pans so they don’t touch and there’s at least one inch of space between the pans and the sides of the oven. When baking three round pans, refrigerate batter in third pan if all pans will not fit in oven at one time bake third pan separately.
To keep cakes from sticking to the pans, generously grease the bottoms and sides with shortening (about 1 tablespoon for each round pan). Sprinkle each greased pan with flour (use baking cocoa for a chocolate cake) then shake the pan until the bottom and sides are well coated shake out excess flour. For nonstick pans, follow the manufacturer’s directions greasing is usually recommended. Cooking spray can be used, but the cake may be less attractive with high sides and a lip. If used, spray it only on the bottom of the pan do not sprinkle with flour.
For fruitcakes, line pans with aluminum foil, then grease with shortening. Or line with cooking parchment paper. Leave short "ears" (overhang) of foil on two opposite sides so you can easily lift the baked cake out of the pan. Extend the foil beyond the pan if you plan to store the cake before serving. When the cake is cooled, fold the foil over the top of the cake and seal.
Vegetable oil is not a suitable substitute for shortening, butter or margarine, even when those ingredients are to be melted. Recipes formulated with shortening need the solids for proper structure and texture.
Cool round cakes in their pans on wire racks for 5 to 10 minutes. To remove a cake from the pan, insert a knife between the cake and the pan and slide it around the side to loosen the edge. Put a wire rack on top of the cake. Holding both the rack and the pan firmly, flip them over and lift the pan off the cake. Flip again onto another rack so the cake can cool top side up. Cool completely on wire racks.
Great Shortening Cakes Are
- High, golden brown
- Slightly rounded, with a smooth top
- Fine-grained, even textured, not crumbly
- Soft, velvety, slightly moist, light, tender
Problem Possible Causes
Pale - too little sugar
- baking time too short
Does not rise properly - too much liquid
- too much fat
- pan too large
- oven too cool
Peaked or cracked on top - too much flour
- oven too hot
Rim around edge - pan sprayed with cooking spray
Coarse grained - too much shortening
Crumbly - too much shortening
- too much sugar
- too little egg (use large eggs)
Dry - too much baking powder
- baking time too long
Heavy, too moist - too much liquid
- too much shortening
- too little four
Batter overflows - too much batter in pan
- pan too small
- too much leavening
Sticks to pan - pan not greased enough
- pan greased with oil (okay if not removing cake from pan)
- cake left in pan too long before being removed
From "Betty Crocker's Complete Cookbook, Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today, 9th Edition." Text Copyright 2000 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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