Two Secrets Of A Delicious Cake
I love cake. It's my greatest weakness.
Whenever I attend a restaurant buffet, I immediately check out the dessert section to see if they have slices of cake. If I'm at a diner, I look for the glass domes on the counter to see if there's an appealing looking cake. Greek restaurants serve huge decorative slices of different varieties. Many times I bring home a piece to enjoy later.
Don't get me started on how much I love bakeries! Sadly, the two best bakeries in my area went out of business because the owners retired. We do have a Wegmans market seven minutes away, and their cakes are delicious.
During the last couple years, two more bakeries have opened up. I like them both.
When my son and daughter were young, I ran a small cake business from my home. I never advertised. Word of mouth brought people to me. I finally had to quit when I went from working part-time to full-time. The good news is that I still have the recipes for my cakes.
In my opinion there are two secrets of a delicious cake:
1 - The cake has to be freshly made.
2 - The icing has to be superb.
A few months ago I purchased a vanilla square piece of cake from a bakery nearby. I had bought it before, and it had been delicious. The icing was creamy, not overly sweet, and it had a luscious buttery flavor. On top of the icing was a clear lemon topping, framed by a decorative border. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to buy it again.
That evening, after supper, I dove into the cake. The lemon topping was so rubbery, the whole thing stuck to my fork and raised off the cake. The cake was so stale, it crumbled.
I was not happy since I had paid $3.50 for that square!
Recently, I returned to the bakery. In the glass case were cakes similar to the one I had purchased before, this time with a strawberry topping. I politely asked the owner, "Are these cakes fresh?"
She was very honest. She said, "No, they are not."
I said, "What do you have that is fresh?"
She called to her employee in the back, "What are you baking?"
He responded, "fresh vanilla cupcakes."
I said, "I will have two of those."
She was so nice. She said, "I will also whip up some fresh icing for you!"
It was well worth the wait, as the cupcakes were phenomenal.
Now, every time I enter a bakery, even the one at Wegmans, I always ask if their cakes are fresh. Surprisingly enough, every time I have done that, the person has been nice, as well as, honest with me.
There are a couple stores, even well known ones, whose cakes I will not buy because you can taste the preservatives in the icing. Also, some icings are too stiff, sugary, and have an "off taste." I believe that even if a cake is delicious and fresh, if the icing is not good, it ruins the cake.
When I was running my small business, every cake was homemade. Now I tend to use a cake mix. The secret to a delicious baked cake from a cake mix is not to overbake it. I never follow the instructions on the box regarding how long to keep the cake in the oven. I start checking it after 15 to 20 minutes. If the tester or toothpick comes out a little "cake-ee" that's okay. If wet with batter, it needs to stay in the oven longer.
Here are a couple icing recipes I consistently use:
2 sticks of Margerine (Fleischmanns is preferred)
1 cup of Crisco
4 1/2 cups powdered suger
3 TBSP of milk
3 TSP IMITATION Vanilla (I like the Gold Medal Brand)...(or you can use almond flavoring-ONE TSP).
Beat margerine, shortening and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until icing is the right consistency (You may want to add a little more milk). Beat 7 to l0 minutes until real fluffy.
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons Crisco
Heat in pan on stove until bubbling, stirring constantly. Whisk with wire whip while still hot to prevent flour lumps. Let sit till warm.
Beat with mixer until fluffy: 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup Crisco, and 1 teaspoon vanilla
Add warm milk mixture and beat SEVERAL minutes until icing is real fluffy.
This recipe can be doubled if needed. You can also drizzle "shadow" icing on cake once it it iced:
SHADOW ICING: Melt one packet of Nestles Choco Bake with 2 teaspoons Crisco, and 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. Drizzle on icing. Put iced cake in refrigerator, as icing contains milk, and you want the shadow icing to harden.
QUICK AND EASY ICING:
Mix one small packet of instant pudding, any flavor, with 1 cup of milk, & 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Fold in one 8 oz. container of Cool Whip.
All these above icing recipes have been enjoyed by my family and friends over the years.
Sincerely, Blessings Always, Sparklea :)