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Why is it so difficult to bake a simple loaf cake?
This is an earnest question because during the last months when trying to get a simple – or rather „a rather simple“ – loaf cake it ended in some more or less small disaster. So I decided to start a test series.
However, for the moment admire my perfect result for a vanilla loaf: I didn’t fiddle about w/ any icing, but thought it might also be fine when adding just some jam – or even only some butter.
For the record:
I like coffeecake: a nice espresso & a slice of cake – and the afternoon break (maybe also the mid-morning break) is fine & afterwards I’m full of energy for the rest of the working hours. I like especially these simple loaf cakes; it doesn’t matter if there is an icing or not. Maybe w/ some fruit inside or some chocolate chips or some whatever.
So what happened during the last months?
I started w/ recipes & ended up in a mild disaster. Sometimes the cake was very, very soggy & firm – seemed not to be baken thoroughly despite of its time in the oven. (Too much fat (butter, oil…) I thought by myself…) Sometimes there seemed to be too much fresh fruit which sank to the bottom 6 created another type of soggy mess…
I swear I always stuck to the recipe I found somewhere – if on a food blog or in one of my cookbooks.
For the record:
I’m always outraged when a recipe turns out not to be working as promised!
(I’m not talking about complex processes, but more like the list of ingredients is not correct i. e. the amounts don’t work together. While this is tolerable to a certain degree when cooking some stew or baking a casserole – it always ruins the cake.
Especially when working w/ oil i. e. olive oil in a chocolate chip cake which looked so yummy on the photo it was zilch. I experienced this at least twice – and by now I think that it’s always too much oil… I’d love to know how the recipe writer worked it out!
Next critical issue is the choice of milk, sour cream, crème fraîche, ricotta, mascarpone… Of course you’ll have to take into account the fat content, but also the net amount of liquid.
Then there are the eggs… small ones, large ones.
Finally the ingredients like chocolate, nuts, fruit, raisins…
There are endless ways of combining (I didn’t even talk about types of flour resp. modern substitutes – not to mention the whole sugar portfolio). So it’s easy to imagine how difficult it might become to combine the proper amounts of ingredients to get a fine delicious loaf cake.
For the record:
I have a cookbook about loaf cakes – only loaf cakes (sweet & savory). I like the book because there are lots of approaches for loaf cakes – nevertheless for my taste most of the cakes are either too sweet or too rich. When working w/ this book’s recipes I always ask my notes about how much I should reduce sugar & fat… afterwards it’s always a fine result!
So – now my test series…
I started w/ a simple vanilla loaf cake. The basic recipe I found on Maltes Kitchen (it was w/ lemon flavoring instead of vanilla) – and it worked perfectly.
What do we need?
We start w/ a simple cake – so we only need very few ingredients:
- flour & baking powder
- vanilla extract.
There are not so many items to be prepared & combined so let’s start at once w/ preheating the oven to 150°C w/ fan.
Next step is lining the loaf tin w/ baking paper. Do it crosswise to make it easy to lift the cake out of the tin later.
Afterwards we combine the butter & the sugar w/ an electric handheld mixer. We add the mess to the flour & mix again. Finally we add the mascarpone & the vanilla extract. That’s it.
We pour the whole mess into the prepared tin & put it in the oven for about 50-60 min. (My cake was ready after 55 min. I made the test w/ the wooden pin – you know: when the pin comes out clean the cake is ready.)
So that’s the result.
I waited for about 10 min before I lifted it our of the tin to cool completely on the cooling rack.
- 200 g sugar
- 125 g butter
- 2 eggs
- 200 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150 g mascarpone
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- a loaf tin 25 cm
- an electric handheld mixer
- Preheat the oven to 150° C w/ fan.
- Line the loaf tin w/ baking paper - crosswise.
- Combine sugar (incl. a pinch of salt) & butter w/ the electric handheld mixer until fluffy.
- Add eggs & mix until smooth.
- Add the flour mixed w/ the baking powder & mix until well combined.
- Finally add mascapone & vanilla essence & mix...
- Pour the batter in the prepared loaf tin & let it bake in the oven for about 50-60 min.
- Make the famous test w/ the wooden pin...
- Let the cake cool down for about 10 min - then lift it out of thee tin.
- Remove the baking paper & let it cool completely on a cooling rack.
You may enjoy the cake as it comes out of the oven. It’s a fine soft & fluffy body… w/ a decent vanilla flavor.
(You may store the cake in an airtight container for some days – if the cake survives so long… When storing in your fridge it’ll get a little firmer.)
It’ s also delicious just to add some jam…
(The yellow jam is my home-made pineapple-ginger-jam while the orange one is store-bought orange marmelade.)
The businesswoman w/ too many office hours thinks
I like it. It’s simple. It’s a fast process. I get enough cake for the rest of the week when I manage to restrain myself – each afternoon.