BAKING : CAKE CLASSIFICATIONS
MAIN CAKE CLASSIFICATION:
Cakes can be classified in different classes based on:
1. INGREDIENTS USED: All cakes do not contain the same basic ingredients e.g flour, eggs, butter sugar etc. So all cakes do not have the same make up.
2.TECHNIQUE USED : All cakes are not made using the same method. This is mainly due to the type of ingredients used which will affect how the cake rises hence determine what method will be most effective. e.g Butter cakes rely on air trapped into the batter as butter and sugar is whisked together whereas sponge cakes rely on air trapped in the beaten eggs.
Within the sponge cake category (also known as FOAM CAKE) we find that some do not have leavening agents (although you may add a little for a piece of mind!) which is why we need to have the eggs whipped up for an extended period of time to incorporate enough air to make them fluffy. Depending on the part of egg used, foam cakes can be subdivided further:
>>Egg whites only: only the egg white is used which makes them light and airy e.g Angel cake
>> Egg white and yolk is used: To make a richer cake compared tot he egg white only but still light e.g swiss rolls.
3. LEAVENING AGENT: Different cakes have different leavening agents. Some cakes are leavened using baking powder, baking soda or yeast. (Most of the traditional cakes used baking powder or baking soda).
4. FLAVORS ADDED: Some cakes have additional ingredients added to get specific flavors and/or color. E.g use of cocoa powder to make chocolate cakes, fruits like banana to make banana cakes, etc.
5. DECORATIONS (IF ANY): Some cakes are decorated (DECORATED CAKES) while others are not (PLAIN CAKES).
6. TYPE OF DECORATION USED: There are different types of decorations e.g butter cream, (Royal) icing, fondant, jams/preserves,chocolates, lemon drizzle, curd, etc which are of different textures, consistencies, colors,flavors etc.
7. SHAPES/SIZES/TIERS: Cakes may also differ in their make up, shapes and sizes. Some are sandwiched/held together with jams or butter cream (known as SANDWICH CAKES/LAYER CAKES). Shapes include round, square, heart, etc. Tiers are used to create height and each tier of the cake might have its own significance (or not!). Sometimes tradition dictates how many tiers a cake for a certain event should have.
8. CAKE PURPOSE: Some cakes are baked for certain purposes or certain seasons for special occasions. e.g BESPOKE WEDDING CAKES, YULE LOG for Christmas etc.
P/S: As you have noticed, there is more than one main cake category but the same cake can be categorized into one or more category depending on its ingredients, technique, shape, flavour etc. Remember this when buying or ordering your bespoke cake!