Clever and useful tips for your kitchen.
Ever wondered what would happen to the appearance of a cake if you reduce (or forget to add) the sugar? The white chocolate and almond cupcakes on the right have no added sugar (by mistake!) while those on the left have the normal amount of sugar.
Sugar is often only associated with sweetness (and calories) but it is also responsible for affecting many other characteristics of a cake, including how it looks. There are three ways in which a reduced amount of sugar can affect the appearance (all of which you can clearly see in this pic):
- Sugar promotes both the Maillard reaction (the reaction between proteins and sugar) and caramelisation which are both responsible for browning. This is why the cupcakes with more sugar have a darker, thicker crust.
- When sugar is heated during baking it dissolves and adds extra liquid to a mixture. This makes the batter thinner and more prone to spreading, which in turn, helps them to rise with a smoother surface. You’ll notice the cupcakes with less sugar haven’t spread as much and have retained a more definite shape.
- Sugar helps cake rise to their full potential by raising the coagulation temperature of the eggs, giving the mixture more time to rise and expand before the cake structure sets. This explains why the cupcakes with more sugar have filled the paper cases and those with less haven’t.
I don’t know about you but I always seem to get my wings around the wrong way when making butterfly cakes! Here’s a simple method to make sure they are flying in the right direction…
- Cut a shallow cone-shaped piece out of the top of a cupcake, leaving about a 1cm border.
- Cut the piece of cake in half.
- Spoon a little whipped or thick cream or mascarpone and then some jam into the hole to fill.
- Arrange the two pieces of cake into the jam to from wings, top side up and round edges facing outwards.
- Dust with icing sure if you wish.