Combine the butter and shortening in the Kitchen Aid (or stand mixer) bowl with the paddle attachment
Whip on medium to high speed for about 3 minutes.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure it is evenly mixed and add the salt. Mix well.
Stop mixer and add the sifted confectioners sugar all at once.
Mix on low speed until incorporated , scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and then mix on high speed for 3 minutes.
Scrape the bowl again and then while mixing on low speed slowly drizzle in the heavy cream.
Increase speed to high and whip for another 5 minutes
Add the flavor extracts and then you are done!
The icing will gain volume almost to the top of a 6qt Kitchen Aid bowl and get very white. (*If you are using a hand beater, the volume will not get as high since the hand beaters cannot incorporate air as efficiently as the Kitchen Aid or stand mixers)
Since then I have been offered many more tips and sets through dozens of vendors asking me to do more reviews and to try out their Russian Piping Tips.
I thought it would be a good idea to spend some time to find a vendor for you all that I could deem reliable and who carried a quality set; since my first go at it was a bit hectic and I want to spare you the trouble.
I decided to go with It’sAllGoodMart.com since they seemed to offer the best quality of the Russian Tips that I have seen, complete with a website that shows you exactly what each tip will look like once it is piped with buttercream.
Additionally they include the coupler that fits these larger style tips and if you read my original review you will know that was one thing I listed on the “cons” list when buying from the vendor I chose.
The Tri Coupler is a really nice addition to the set that also comes with a Silicone Pastry Bag (and this is new to me! Since you know me and my Arrow Thermo Bags) but the silicone bag they include is very durable and reusable. 3 Disposable plastic bags are also included but they are slightly small for the size of the Russian Tips, but hey you can never have too many pastry bags in my opinion; so I’ll just be using those for something else.
So hopefully you have read both reviews and ended up here so you can head over to ItsAllGoodMart.com to buy the tips (Currently they do not offer International Shipping~ HOWEVER you can email Chris direct at email@example.com to arrange a PayPal payment and he will personally ship to you Internationally! Woohoo! It pays to know people in high places! LOL
My answer is always, “sure you can do it but I’m not sure you want to.”
You see sponge cakes will almost never dome and will more likely even sink slightly.
Because of the structure that relies mainly on the foamed egg matrix it really can’t support a high dome and consequently will almost always sink because of this.
This will also apply for cakes that you want to remain flat as can be since sponge cakes by nature typically do not dome- there you go! Problem solved!
Or is it solved?
Since you also don’t want to be stuck to one type of cake or the other for all your projects right?
I mean, our customers don’t really care about the science behind baking, they just want what they want when they want it!
And that can often mean we have to just deal with some trimming here or there and some cupcake sink-age from time to time.
But there is a product on the market and I have heard some pretty good reviews.
I’m sure you have heard of the Magic Cake Collars that prevent cakes from doming while baking.
I don’t use these, and never have…so it’s difficult for me to even comment on them really; but I will give you a summary of the research I have found online.
As per Cook’s Illustrated test kitchen they found that the Heavenly Bakeware Cake Strip worked the best of all the brands, and since Rose Levy Beranbaum is the queen of cake, I trust this endorsement!
The thing you have to note though, is that this product is intended for EVEN baking and not so much to prevent domes (since again, this is science not magic that is taking place here)
However many have found these to be very helpful in reducing the level of doming that occurs.
For those who do not want to purchase yet another “gadget” for the kitchen, I have been told of a very high success rate in making your own “bake even strips” simply by taking an old towel and cutting it into strips, get them wet then wrap around your cakes securing them with a pin or tack or better yet one of those little hook thingy’s from an Ace Bandage! (that is my contribution to the home version magic strips! Yeah~ MacGyver in the house!)
Basically the idea behind those strips (and the home version wet towel method gives a much clearer picture of the science that is happening here) just like when we bake cheesecakes in a water bath the direct oven heat is displaced through the towel or silicone “magic strip” making a less harsh heat environment. So by diverting some of the heat that would otherwise penetrate the sides of your cake pan first, the “bake even strips” take on a lot of that heat. See more below.
The reason why cakes dome in the first place (other than the mix method as I mentioned above) is as follows:
Too high oven heat will cause the the edges/perimeter of the metal cake pans to heat up much faster than the center batter, which will obviously/ naturally set the batter on the perimeter faster than the rate at which the center batter is baking. Try to lower the temperature slightly to create a more even baking environment and if you want to try the bake even strips, by all means give it a go! *This is another reason why you may have heard the suggestion when baking cupcakes to start them off at a high temperature like 375°F or even 400°F for the first 10 minutes of baking to get them to “jump” (the edges will always set before the center- and once that batter has set, it is not going anywhere!)
The structure of the cake is too strong /tight causing the leavening gasses to be trapped inside and delayed where it can only escape towards the end of baking where it typically erupts through the top center giving that characteristic gorgeous domed top like in pound cake recipes. Again I cannot speak for other people’s recipes, but here at Gretchen’s Bakery I repeat I have more success in achieving doming with my creamed butter cakes and very flat results in my foamed sponge cakes. You can try to use cake flour if the recipe asks for all purpose (lightening up the structure)
Sometimes not enough leavening ingredients (baking powder and baking soda) will cause more doming that wanted, which is strange since you associate doming (rising) with leavening so one would think the opposite, however when the leavener starts to do “it’s thing” in the recipe, it is actually breaking through the structure of the gluten formation and trying to work it’s way through and out of the batter. So by adding about ¼ teaspoon more baking powder (or just a pinch more baking soda) can help this. But be warned adding too much will weaken the structure so much that you will have a cake that cannot hold itself up at all! (**See picture below!)
Now these are general suggestions, and you may need to do some experimentation depending on what recipe you are using, but hopefully you now have a better sense of what is actually happening inside your cake recipes, their structures and the functions of ingredients and mix methods as they pertain to the end result.
Consequently if you cakes are not doming enough you can try all those steps above in the opposite!
Since my experience is in high volume retail, hotel and catering production where you would never see hundreds of “bake even strips” or the wet towel method.
That system is just too laborious and in-efficient for a high volume bakery setting that is baking upwards of 100+ cakes day.
For the last 20 years of my career in 2 separate establishments (1 was my own bakery- the other a large catering facility) we used Fat Daddios Anodized Aluminum Pans for baking.
This is a direct quote from their website about the type of pans they manufacture: Anodized aluminum ensures that your cakes bake evenly, giving you a nice rise, and cool quickly preventing overbaking.
I do believe this to be true and why I only use their pans. For the serious baker I would recommend to start a set of them for yourself.
They last for years and years and years! I had my bakery for 10 years and they are still going strong! (this was not a paid endorsement! I just really think the pans are great!)
Custard is a delicate balance of eggs and dairy that require a less harsh heating environment, thus~ the water bath was born.
The heat must now travel through a layer of water before it gets to the actual item you are baking, thus creating a very mild, yet effective heating environment for those delicate egg and dairy proteins.
I am not exactly sure who invented the Springform pan (yea….that’s the level of disdain I have for whoever it was, that I cannot even give 2 minutes to “Wikipedia” the topic)
I want to believe it was some inane, egotistical person who just had to invent yet one more kitchen gadget that has only one purpose, and an inferior purpose at that.
Can ya feel my anger?!
It should be dubbed the “Spring-a-Leak Pan” since that’s all it really does (in my opinion)
Well….Ok ~ I won’t be so extremely harsh. I honestly have recommended the springform pan collar (no bottom) attached when making molded cakes such as the 7 Layer Ice Cream Cake, Chocolate Eclair Cake and the Death to Diets Cake, where if you don’t have a Ring Mold ~ a springform pan with no bottom inserted will do just fine.
But let’s not get too sentimental with the old Springform.
In my opinion it should have been retired long ago.
I just don’t have anything nice to say about it because there is a perfectly AWESOME substitute for baking cheesecakes and it is……………….. wait for it………….
That’s right. The same pan you already have in your cabinet that you use for all your regular cake baking.
What a let down right?
No! Not a let down! It’s a damn glorious moment when you realize your entire life is a lie, and you have been led to believe that the end all – be all of cheesecake baking starts and stops with the springform pan. It’s just not true.
Now I know I will get some flack from the die-hard springform pans lovers, but until I can get a reason why the springform pan is better (and a valid reason please, not some pipe dream of the lie that you have bought into)…I’m sticking to my cake pans.
And just for the record, there will be no reason because it doesn’t exist.
Now, I am not just talking “who-ha” out of my pie hole. I have had many years experience in the professional bakery industry and I have yet to encounter a single establishment that commissions a springform pan for cheesecake. (by the way – I was educated at the Culinary Institute of America~ no springform pans there mate!)
Once I was seasoned into this work environment and I happened to give a retrospective thought to the “retired springform from my youth” (yes…… My first cheesecake was baked in a spring form of course….as was all of yours I’m sure……) I realized how insane it would have been to actually use springforms in a high volume bakery setting.
First of all they are cumbersome.
When running a commercial bakery there are two things that matter.
#1 Bottom line (Defintion: the ultimate outcome in financial terms from a days work – all things considered)
and #2 how to get to the best most efficient bottom line while keeping the highest quality~ product since after all, customers only care about high quality bang for the buck~ and rightly so.
So imagine paying someone to put together the tops and bottoms of your springform pan menagerie (since commercial bakeries bake dozens of cheesecakes at a time! not 1!)
First of all he/she must FIND the tops and bottoms to put them in place, and then the infamous foil wrapping begins.
The greasing to be sure you get all the crevices (and crevices are a-plenty in springform pan world)
Not only does that foil cost a lot in terms of $$$ but the environmental impact of that wasted material makes me cringe! (OK green girl, enough outta you.)
But just that labor cost alone makes me want to re think the entire process……. and we should!
I know not many of you have commercial bakeries, so what I just explained may not be of importance, but let’s talk about LEAKAGE!
Yes, you all know what I am talking about.
Soggy bottoms from a leaky springform pan no matter how tightly you wrapped it with about 1 lb of tin foil. (wasteful~ tsk tsk.)
But this can all be avoided if you just trust me that a cake pan is superior.
I know….I know…it is difficult to change your thinking when you have been brainwashed to believe that the springform pan….the very same thing that was INVENTED for a sole purpose, could be anything less than perfect!
But I beg you to just try the cake pan method and you will be a believer!
Now the cake pan method is superior not only because it will not spring a leak, but in my opinion (combine my professional bakery pan grease & a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom) you will have a much better looking cheesecake once it is un-molded than any springform pan could dream of.
It may take a bit of practice on your first run, but heck so did the springform am I right??
I always use my trusty blowtorch but you can achieve the same results by simply dipping your pan into hot water to release the fats that cause the cheesecake to stick in the first place.
And let’s talk Pan Grease for a moment.
Well, not much to say except- USE THIS RECIPE for ALL your baking needs, you will thank me for the rest of your life.
Now back to the infamous un-molding of the cheesecake.
Watch the video below to see just how to first of all to bake a cheesecake properly and second of all un-mold a cheesecake that is NOT in a springform pan!
And well……I don’t know what else to say, except ditch that springform pan and you will never have soggy-crusted, dry, cracked cheesecake sorrows again!
If nothing else, clear some room in your cabinets from a one-tasker taking up way too much room than it is worth the space for!
With Thanksgiving in sight, I want to give you some tips on how to bake the perfect pie.
I remember one of my Chef instructors at the Culinary Institute of America once said: “No matter what you do, even if it is a boring old apple pie, be sure to do it the best you can do.”
This always stuck with me, but I want to elaborate on that “boring old apple pie” since to me, it’s not so boring.
I mean pie in general though.
Have you heard the term “easy as pie”?
Well, pie may not be so easy after all~ at least not until we can master some of their finicky behaviors; and depending on what type of pie you are making those behaviors can change like the wind!
There are 2 kinds of pies, 1 that we call “cold preparation” and one that we call “baked preparation”
I’m sure some of you can name dozens of them off the top of your head that fall into either category but for those who may not be familiar with what I mean by “cold prep” it is basically a pie that is not going to be baked.
For example: Chocolate Cream, Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, Lemon Meringue, or Key Lime Pie just to name a few.
This type of pie is where you are basically just pouring in an already cooked (or not cooked, in the case of the chocolate mousse pie) filling into a prebaked pie shell.
Now we are opening up a can of worms here, because now you have more choices for the actual pie shell!
Typically in cold prep pies I like to make cookie crusts rather than pie dough crusts but I have done them both ways of course.
To me there is nothing better than a crunchy Oreo cookie crust in a silky chocolate mousse pie!
These are your what’s known as the “easy as pie” varieties……or are they??
Here is the trouble with a pie like that.
Pouring filling into a raw pie shell and baking it altogether will often times leave you with a soggy bottom crust because all that heavy filling (and in the case of pumpkin pie or a coconut custard- the filling is LIQUID!) making it almost impossible to ever bake properly.
Now here’s the interesting thing about this.
When I owned my bakery many moons ago, I had what is called a “deck oven” more commonly referred to as a pizza oven.
You know, the kind the guys at the pizzeria use everyday and bake your pizza directly on the”deck” giving your pizza a nice browned crispy crust on the bottom.
Well, that kind of oven is superior for not just Pizza Pies, but bakery pies too!
Now of course we don’t have deck ovens in our homes, so I recently came up with an idea to simulate the professional bakery oven and that is: baking your pie on a pizza stone.
Get your oven preheated to whatever the recipe calls for WITH THE STONE IN THE OVEN to get it nice and hot!
Then bake your pie directly on the stone and you will have a nicely browned NON-soggy crust for all your pies!
Alternatively, for those who do not have a pizza stone, you can go the method of blind baking the crust first, but not all the way- just until it is starting to turn pale not even golden, then add the filling, top with your other pie crust (yes it stays in place even after that slight baking – watch my Peach Pie Video and I do exactly that!)