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.
Marian Burros’ Plum Torte
This is a rich, buttery fruit cake- utterly delicious. This cake has been featured in the New York Times, it’s that good. But could it be even better?…
Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
The Queen herself, Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake.. Moist, chocolatey and completely irresistible. Surely this can’t get any better!
Nancy Silverton’s Bran Muffins
A warming, homely muffin is one of the greatest bakes of all time, so simple and so satisfying but very dense, could whipped cream lighten up this bake? Unlike the other recipes, this one is oil based!
This recipe already calls for cream, but not whipped. This will be an experiment to see how the bubbles affect the cake, rather than the addition of cream.
The Plum Torte
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
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
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 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!
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!