Cake Ingredients

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Cakes are generally made with flour, eggs, sugar, and either butter or shortening. Eggs are 75% water and may provide all the moisture in a recipe; or various dairy products—milk, buttermilk, sour cream—may be included to provide moisture as well as richness and flavor. Because the sugar is used to incorporate air into the mix, the preferred form is finely granulated (“Extra-Fine,” “Superfine”) so as to maximize the numbers of small sharp edges that will cut into the fat or eggs. Because they’re filled with bubbles in the mixing process, cake recipes usually call either for no chemical leavening, or for less than other batter recipes do.