Whether it is a birthday, a marriage, or any other special event, a cake is a sure-shot way to raise the celebrations a notch. Cake cutting holds a special place at the heart of many occasions in almost all cultures. Someone has rightly said, “A party without a cake is just a meeting!” Being such an important part of a special event, the cake must be nothing but the best.
So how would you describe a good cake? A good cake, as our experts put it, must look beautiful and taste divine. It must have a perfect balance of appearance, texture, and flavour. It must have nothing but the best and freshest ingredients, meticulously mixed in the right proportions and baked to flawless perfection.
This blog will tell you what qualities must grace a good cake, those that a master pâtissier swears by. Read on to know more.
How would you describe a good cake?
The perfect cake must look great, feel fantastic, and test delicious. So, let us look at all the qualities that make a great cake-
The first thing you notice about a cake is what it looks like. Its appearance is thus paramount. Nature loves symmetry and cracked or peaked cakes are not very pretty to look at. So your perfect cake must be rightly symmetrical. It should not have cracks or peaks on the surface and should not have uneven sides or caves in the body. Of course, designer cakes may be graced with such features, but those are aesthetically made to look asymmetrical. Regular cakes should not look irregular.
The volume of the cake also affects its appearance. It shows how well the cake has risen. Cakes that are too small for their weight will usually be dense and feel wet, while those that are larger may be too airy or dry. A good volume indicates a good rise and ensures a great appearance.
In bakers’ terms, bloom refers to the sheen on a cake, especially when using gelatine. Getting a good bloom takes time and expertise, and it makes the cake shine with brilliance.
The decoration is the icing on a cake, literally. Icing or frosting is necessary on most cakes. It also makes the base layer for further embellishments. Therefore the frosting must be good if you want your cake to look good. It must be spread out evenly and should not be too thick or too thin. Bakers often add other edible decorative pieces to the cake, and tempered chocolate is one of the most popular choices.
Cake decoration is an art, and you can see its pinnacle in designer cakes. In general, you can use anything from fruits to sprinklers to decorate a cake, but it must not mess with the taste or appearance of the piece.
After your guests are captivated by the beauty of your centrepiece, it will be time to cut the cake. Once it is cut, the texture of the cake will define its quality. Your cake should be smooth and relatively soft. It must have a uniform texture throughout; lumpy, hard, crumbly, or coarse cakes are undesirable. It should feel soft but hold its shape and not crumble if you press it lightly.
The crust of the cake depends on the type of cake you have. In general, the crust should be thin, even, and firm. It should not be too hard, leathery, sticky or crunchy. The best crust is the one that you cannot feel when cutting into the cake, but shows its presence when you take a bite. Moreover, the crust should have a uniform colour throughout the cake. Inconsistent colouring, patches, or spots detract from the overall feel of the cake.
The grain refers to the crumbs inside the cake. Good quality cakes should have a uniform grain throughout, without rough patches, hard portions, or unnaturally large holes. In addition, your cake’s grain colour must be uniform throughout. Non-uniform colouring, dark patches, grey areas, and white spots indicate poor quality grain. They affect not just the texture but also the taste of your piece.
You can get a beautiful cake with the perfect texture possible, but all of it will go to waste if you bite in, and it does not taste good! Taste is the most important characteristic of any food, and cakes are no exception. Good taste will depend on the best quality ingredients, meticulous and thorough mixing, and a full, even bake. The ingredients should be in perfect proportions. Excess salt, baking powder, and even sugar can destroy the entire cake. Indeed, bakers always take the sweetness of frosting, fillings, ganache, and other decorations into account while making the perfect cake.
A good cake must smell as good as it looks and tastes. The aroma has to be pleasant and appetizing. It should not be flat, nor should it be overpowering. And if there is any tangy, musty, or sharp aroma in your cake, it is probably spoiled.
Cakes come in a host of different flavours. From the conventional chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry variants right up to the exotic blueberry-lemon-coffee and walnut maple variants, the choices are endless. Ensure that the flavour is authentic and the frosting or other decorations do not clash with the actual cake’s flavour.
The last quality of a good cake, but definitely not the least, is its shelf-life. It makes no sense if the cake you buy in the morning becomes a soggy mess in the afternoon. Buy cakes made with fresh ingredients and proper bake, which remain fresh and delicious for a long time.
If you had the question: how would you describe a good cake, this was your answer. If you want your cake to be the perfect centrepiece for a special day, nothing short of the best will work. Remember and follow the pointers above if you plan to buy or bake a good cake that your guests will remember for a long time to come.