Balancing act: how to create a harmonious cake with Le Cordon Bleu London
Making the same basic cakes and pastries can be dull if you’re a frequent baker, so you will naturally want to expand your repertoire and experiment with new ingredients and flavour pairings.
But as you start to get creative with your bakes, it’s easy to overcomplicate them and you should bear in mind that you need a cake which is balanced in flavour and texture, as well as being visually appealing.
Getting the flavour right
Of course, you want your cake to taste delicious, but if you pack in too many flavours the overall taste can become too complex for the palate to distinguish and enjoy each of them.
Flavours are most attractive in the same manner as an aroma; in that subtlety is most compelling and if a flavour is too strong, it can be overpowering and unpleasant.
When experimenting with new ideas, ask several people to give an honest opinion on the flavour of the finished cake and you will be able to adjust the recipe to please a wider range of palates.
Finding the balance
Texture is also a crucial factor. Getting the right balance of moist, crispy and creamy textures is enormously important in pâtisserie. The best cakes will combine all these textures in order to intrigue the palate and surprise the eater.
It’s fashionable now to exaggerate the amount of mousse added to cakes, but a cake which contains merely a sponge base with a mousse filling gives little textural stimulation to the mouth and tends to be blandly flavoured. The percentage of mousse in a cake should be approximately 50% of the total mass.
You should utilise the numerous types of sponges, each with varying textures. You also can make it interesting by adding ingredients such as cooked or raw fruit, chocolate layers or linings, nuts, caramel, wafer or meringue – to give just a few examples.
More from Le Cordon Bleu