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The Secret Ingredient to Make Any Cake Better

As an office of foodies, the Silver Mushroom team was a little excited about this blog to say the least; a secret ingredient? To make ALL cakes better? This will blow your socks off. We got inspiration for this blog from one of our favourite blogs, Food52.

No this ingredient is not from the depths of the jungle or a magical sea-cave, it’s probably already sitting in your fridge, simply waiting for this moment.

Celebrity Chef Heather Hurlbert actually discovered this trick, using it to create earth shatteringly decadent desserts and pastries. The secret? Why whipped-cream, of course!

A good lashing of whipped cream is the perfect partner to pretty much every dessert. Sponge cake? Whipped cream. Hot fudgy brownie? Whipped cream. Crumble? Whipped cream. Whipped Cream? Whipped cream ( Just kidding, or not!..)

“I have come across recipes where liquid cream is added to a cake batter. By whipping the cream, the end result is a lighter consistency (due to natural leavening like steam—in this case, air) and lighter texture (larger air pockets in the structure of the cake).” – Hurlbert

This trick is so simple and makes for such a difference in the texture, flavour and enjoyment of your bakes.

In other words: the best thing ever.

So how do we actually put this trickery to use?

Heather Hurlbert said to add 1/2 cup of heavy cream, whipped to her cakes. Rumour has it that it can be added to pretty much any recipe.

The guys at Food52 actually experimented with 4 very different cakes to see how things worked.

The Results

The Plum Torte

Left, original. Right, whipped cream.
Left- original. Right- whipped cream. PHOTO BY EMMA LAPERRUQUE of Food52.

This cake was the most affected by the cream, it made a huge difference! The whipped cream cake has a domed centre, while the original is flat, it also has a bouncier texture when poked. The verdict? The cream gave the cake a higher rise, fluffier crumb and unbelievably moist texture.

Nigella’s Loaf Cake

Left, original. Right, whipped cream.
Left, original. Right, whipped cream. PHOTO BY EMMA LAPERRUQUE of Food52.

Nigella states in the recipe that the cake may sink in the middle, this will happen because it’s just a dense and damp cake. Given the ‘denseness’ of the original recipe, the additional cream tipped the cake over the edge, it turned the cake into a pudding/fudge consistency. But who doesn’t love fudge? Just plop more cream on top and enjoy, you can’t judge a cake by it’s appearance anyway, right?!

The Bran Muffins

Left, original. Right, whipped cream.
Left, original. Right, whipped cream. PHOTO BY EMMA LAPERRUQUE of Food52.

As you can probably tell by the picture, these muffins look pretty similar. So what was the verdict? They may look similar but in taste and texture they were very different. The whipped cream version had a ‘creamier’ flavour, noticeably softer texture. The cream even managed to make these muffins even more delicious.

The Shortcakes

Left, original. Right, whipped cream.
Left, original. Right, whipped cream. PHOTO BY EMMA LAPERRUQUE by Food52. 

The whipped cream version looks practically identical to the original, but with a couple more bumps on the top. The cream made the cakes lighter, more tender and extra delicious- another win!

The Takeaway

Adding cream really does improve every cake, it’s not just for garnishing. But you have to use it strategically, be careful with already extra moist cakes, it will make them into puddings; but worse things have happened ‘ey!

Be careful to fold the cream in gently and have fun playing with your favourite recipes. Could this be the best baking discovery ever? Potentially. Please tag us in your bakes if you do try this experiment, we’d love to see how you get on!

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