Category Archives: Ingredients

What is red velvet?

The term “red velvet” gets tossed around a lot these days.  It is  – arguably – the hottest cake flavor out there if you watch food focused TV programming where all the presenters go ga-ga over a slice of the cake. But for every time I hear the praises of red velvet cake sung, I also hear someone complain about a bland cake, a cake ... Read More »

What is cake flour?

Box of Cake Flour

All purpose flour is the standard flour for home baking, but a glance down a well equipped grocery store baking aisle is enough to tell you that there are many other types of flour available for baking. Cake flour is one of them and, if you like to bake, it should be a staple in your kitchen. Cake flour is a low protein flour that ... Read More »

What is coffee cake?

Coffee cake is a moist, tender cake that is usually topped with some kind of streusel topping and served alongside coffee or tea at breakfast. Coffee cakes stand apart from other cakes because of their streusel topping and because, although they might have a little glaze drizzled on top, they are not frosted. Some have a swirl of streusel in them, and others are filled ... Read More »

What is white whole wheat flour?

White Whole Wheat Flour

White whole wheat flour almost sounds like a misnomer. Whole grain flours, and baked goods made with them, are supposed to be brown and noticeably darker than baked goods made with processed white flour, right? White whole wheat flour has been becoming steadily more popular over the past few years as interest in whole grains and whole grain baking continues to rise. It has gone ... Read More »

How to use fresh ginger

Fresh ginger

Fresh ginger is not as friendly looking as powdered ginger, which comes in a neat little canister along with all of the other dried spices. It goes into baked goods along with dry ingredients and requires no prep time. Fresh ginger, on the other hand, looks a little alien by comparison. The bulbous root is firm and it’s not obvious how to use it – ... Read More »

What is coarse salt?

Maldon sea salt

There are lots of recipes that call for coarse salt these days. Coarse salt refers to sea salt or kosher salt, salt that has a much larger grain to it than common table salt – hence the name “coarse” salt. The reason that coarse salt is so popular is not that it is saltier or more flavorful than regular salt, but because it has a ... Read More »

What is vanilla bean paste?

Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla extract appears in so many sweet recipes that it’s almost automatic to add it in when you’re making cookies or cakes, so when you see the words “vanilla extract” replaced with “vanilla bean paste” you might have to do a double take before you realize that these are quite the same thing. Vanilla extract is made by infusing vanilla into alcohol , which bakes ... Read More »

What is chiffon cake?

Chiffon Cake

Cakes go through trends just like everything else, and while chiffon cakes were hugely popular just a few decades ago, these days they tend to get upstaged by butter cakes and don’t get served quite as often. Chiffon cakes are foam cakes, cakes that are leavened primarily with beaten egg whites, just like angel food cakes are. In fact, they are very similar in appearance ... Read More »

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