Cakes are bakery products that are rich in sugar, fat and eggs, and can be accompanied with a wide variety of inclusions like fruits and flavors such as vanilla extracts.
They represent a very important segment within the baking industry.
They come in many varieties and are very versatile in terms of flavors, textures, shapes and colors, perfect as snack or as serving size portions on special occasions.
They are typically made from soft wheat flour characterized by low protein content and high purity (mostly endosperm and starch from center of wheat kernels).
The first kinds were produced by mixing white flour, eggs, fresh butter, and table sugar. These were called pound cakes, the first known type of batter cakes. The next generation was developed when bakers found that a lighter, fluffier product could be made by whipping the eggs, and then folding in sugar and flour. This became known as the foam type.
The layer cake was created in the 19th century, when baking powders were put on the market, allowing a greater variety of batter types. In the mid-20th Century, an entirely new type of cake that combined the qualities of two basic types—foam and layer—were created, resulting in the chiffon type.1
Types of cakes
They can generally be categorized into three types, depending on the differences in formulation, processing conditions and attributes of finished product:2,3
Batter type: rely on eggs, flour, and milk for structure, and contain high amounts of fat and water which creates an aerated and chemically-leavened oil-in-water emulsion. Much of the volume of the finished product is created by baking powder. Batter types are classified into:
Pound cakes (which rely on eggs and fat for leavening, e.g. butter, pound and snack cake)
Layer cakes (that rely more on chemical leaveners, e.g. white layer, yellow layer and chocolate layer cake)
Foam type: rely mainly on the extension and denaturation of egg protein for the bulk of the final volume. They can be regarded as “cakes without shortening” given the absence of the oil-in-water emulsion, characteristic of batter systems. Depending on the egg fraction used, foam type cakes are divided into two classes:
Angel food cake (makes use of egg white proteins to trap air during mixing)
Sponge cake (makes use of either whole eggs or yolks, or a combination of both)
Chiffon type: made with a combination of batter and foam to form a modified “foam-type” grain and texture