Is high ratio cake what “cake buiders” use?

So asks reader Linda. Sometimes, yes, Linda. However the true cake carvers in the style of, say, Ace of Cakes use so-called “durable cake” which kicks up the firmness another notch (or two). These recipes start with a high ratio formula then add egg whites for structure, even gelatin for extra strength. You can see equivalent recipes by searching “durable cake recipe” on Google. Most of these are souped up box cakes, but they do the job. Would I want to eat any of them? Eh, probably not since layer cake for me is a nice, moist butter cake. However for those who eat with their eyes and can’t resist one of those crazy-creative sculpted cakes, this is your ticket!

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6 Responses to Is high ratio cake what “cake buiders” use?

  1. Frankly says:

    The other thing they never mention is that fondant, the play-doh covering most commonly used for those fancy cakes has no flavor unless the baker puts it in (and most don’t). So when you see the ace hole cakes know that they are tough and mostly flavorless ‘eye-candy’.

    You should always try samples before you agree to purchase an expensive showpiece cake.

    • joepastry says:

      Amen, Frankly. Excellent comment. I think it’s true that some cake makers sacrifice flavor for eye appeal. For eating I’m generally attracted to the broad and flat variety versus the very tall and sculpted. A flat cake generally means its rich and buttery which is exactly what I like!

      - Joe

      • Frankly says:

        My mom didn’t do many cakes when she was catering but when she did she would try to talk customers into a modest sized display cake and sheet cakes for serving.

        We had a plywood and foam thing with pockets for sterno that we would display, flaming, and then tuck away in the kitchen and bring out individual servings of baked alaska. I suggested something like that for wedding cakes (with the top tier real for the cutting ceremony) but she never thought that was a good idea.

        Given the ridiculous lengths people go with their cakes today I think that would be a great solution.

        • joepastry says:

          No question she was a woman ahead of her time, Frankly. That’s some serious show(woman)ship!

          I’ve actually seen something like you’re describing, where the huge bottom layer is a fake and the top tier is real. It certainly does give the impression of a serious cake expenditure!

          - Joe

  2. Angela says:

    On the YouTube channel CHOW.com these is a series call Obsessives. The topics range from cheese to soda. There is one episode with Shinmin Li owner of I Dream of Cake in San Francisco, talking about wedding cakes. She said that she doesn’t use cake flour. But she doesn’t say what she does use. :(

    • joepastry says:

      Interesting. She may be talking slyly about high ratio flour, but who knows? I’ll have to ponder that one. Thanks Angela!

      - Joe

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