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CAKE    
     

A cake is a form of food that is usually sweet and often baked. Cakes normally combine some kind of flour, a sweetening agent (commonly sugar), a binding agent (generally egg, though gluten or starch are often used by vegetarians and vegans), fats (usually butter, shortening, or margarine, although a fruit puree can be substituted to avoid using fat), a liquid (milk, water or fruit juice), flavors and some form of leavening agent (such as yeast or baking powder), though many cakes lack these ingredients and instead rely on air bubbles in the dough to expand and cause the cake

A birthday cake decorated with fruit, shaved chocolate, and candles.  The text 'Happy Birthday' is a pre-manufactured plastic decoration
A birthday cake decorated with fruit,
shaved chocolate, and candles. The
text 'Happy Birthday' is a pre-manufactured plastic decoration

 

to rise. Cake is often the dessert of choice for meals at ceremonial occasions, particularly weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. There are literally thousands of cakes recipes (some are bread-like and some rich and elaborate) and many are centuries old. Cake making is no longer a complicated procedure; Baking utensils and directions have been so perfected and simplified that even the amateur cook may easily become an expert baker. There are five basic types of cake, depending on the substance used for leavening.

 

A traditional wedding cake
A traditional wedding cake

 

Varieties of cake

 

Cakes may be small and intended for individual consumption (for example madeleines and cupcakes). Larger cakes may be made with the intention of being sliced and served as part of a meal of social function. The cutting of a wedding cake constitues a social ceremony in some cultures. The Ancient Roman marriage ritual of confarreatio originated in the sharing of a cake. Particular types of cake may be associated with particular festivals, such as stollen (at Christmas), babka and simnel cake (at Easter), or mooncake. Cakes may

A cake decorated with 'chocolate plastic,' a fondant rose and chocolate leaves.
A cake decorated with 'chocolate plastic,' a fondant rose and chocolate leaves.

 
be round or square or other interesting shapes. Swiss roll and Yule log are examples of cylindrical cakes.

Cake decorating
A finished cake is often enhanced by covering it with frosting, or icing, and toppings such as sprinkles, which are also known as "jimmies" in certain parts of the United States and "hundreds and thousands" in the United Kingdom. Frosting is usually made from powdered (icing) sugar, sometimes a fat of some sort, milk or cream, and often flavorings such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder. Some decorators use a rolled fondant icing. Commercial bakeries tend to use lard for the fat, and often whip the lard to introduce air bubbles. This

White double-layered cake decorated with green shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day.
White double-layered cake decorated with green shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day.

 

makes the icing light and spreadable. Home bakers either use lard, butter, margarine or some combination thereof. Sprinkles are small firm pieces of sugar and oils that are colored with food coloring. In the late 20th century, new cake decorating products became available to the public. These include several specialized sprinkles and even methods to print pictures and transfer the image onto a cake.

Special tools are needed for more complex cake decorating, such as piping bags or syringes, and various piping tips. To use a piping bag or syringe, a piping tip is attached to the bag or syringe using a coupler. The bag or syringe is partially filled with icing which is sometimes colored. Using different piping tips and various techniques, a cake decorator can make many different designs. Basic decorating tips include open star, closed star, basketweave, round, drop flower, leaf, multi, petal, and specialty tips.

Royal Icing, Marzipan (or a less sweet version, known as Almond paste), Fondant Icing (also known as Sugarpaste) and Buttercream are used as covering icings and to create decorations. Floral Sugarcraft or Wired Sugar Flowers are an important part of Cake Decoration. Special occasion cakes, such as wedding cakes, are traditionally rich fruit cakes, or occasionally Madeira cake (also known as whisked or fatless sponge), covered with marzipan and either Royal Iced or sugarpasted, finished with Royal Iced piped borders and adorned with a piped message, wired sugar flowers, hand-formed fondant flowers or marzipan fruit, piped flowers, or crystallized fruits or flowers such as grapes or violets.

 
List of cakes    

The following is a list of some of the types of cake:

 
     
 
   

 

 

This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)

 
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