The History Of Baked Goods Includes the Invention Of Cake!

Almost everyone has a sweet tooth for cakes, pies, tarts and quiches, but not everyone can make these dishes look appealing and taste delicious. The difference between most baked goods and most culinary works of art is in the presentation. And what culture is generally regarded at the "mother of invention" when it comes to the origins of baking and baked goods? None other than the Egyptians.

Some terminology is in order here. A baker is a person that does baking, and baking is the technique of cooking food in an oven by dry heat. Baking is first of all the cooking technique used to produce such goods as cakes, pies, tarts and quiches. Such culinary items are sometimes referred to as baked goods  and are sold at a bakery.

The invention of cake originated in ancient Egypt as round, flat, unleavened breads that were cooked on a hot stone. The evolution of baked goods continued over many centuries through the introduction of new ingredients and the invention of new techniques of baking. The Egyptian's discovery and skill at using natural yeast helped those flat breads to leaven. Cake making and the production of baked goods in general took a big leap forward with the introduction of vanilla, chocolate, and sugar that appeared in Europe after the discovery of the New World.

By the 18th century bakers began making cakes without yeast. Some of the risen cakes survived, but the new cakes became lighter because of the beaten eggs. The problem was that some recipes called for an enormous number of eggs (30) but they required long hours of beating. In the 1840s the situation changed with the invention of baking soda followed closely by baking powder in the 1860s. The quality of baked goods continued to improve over time as ingredients became more and more refined.

Many years passed between baking on a hot stone to baking in a hot electric or gas oven. An ancestor of the modern oven was an oven-box that sometimes had a door and was placed inside the fireplace. Obviously it was quite an art to control the temperature inside such an oven. This was remedied by placing baked goods into the box and placing the box into the oven. In early 1900s baking ovens still didn't have temperature control and women had to invent different methods of checking the temperature inside an oven. Often they would place a piece of paper into an oven and waited to see how long it took to become brown or even worse, or they would put their hand in the hot oven and judge the temperature by how long it took before they felt their hand getting burned!

The difference between a bread and a cake was almost undistinguishable. The main difference was in their shape and that cakes were a little bit sweeter. But with the passage of time that difference has become more evident - bread is a staple food and cakes are now considered desserts.
You may not know the difference between the two basic types of cakes - sponge and butter - and their respective cooking techniques. Cake making really begins the moment an interesting recipe catches your eye. It doesn't really matter whether it is a sponge cake, butter cake or chiffon cake. The important criteria is how it looks and tastes. Like any skill though, the more you bake, the more accurate taste you'll acquire. Disappointment shows up when a recipe doesn't work or meet your expectations. And it is just the time to know more about the technique of making baked goods and cakes in particular.

There are two types of cakes: 1) sponge cakes have a high proportion of eggs to flour.  They are leavened solely by the air beaten into whole eggs or egg whites.   They contain very little, if any, fat and have a spongy texture.
2) butter or shorthand cakes contain fat (butter, margarine, shortening) and rely on a chemical leavener (baking powder, baking soda) to rise.
Cakes can also be classified by their ingredients: chocolate cakes and cheesecakes.

As you see cakes have long and very interesting history. The process of its development and bringing to perfection was sophisticated and quite intricate so to be on the safe side we advise you to keep to the recipe though experimenting can be more interesting and exciting then to be on the safe side. So it's up to you what side to choose. Anyway, good luck!

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