Thursday, November 26, 2015

Butter double, toil and trouble.

Though we begged our friends to send us any issues or questions they had so we could Google the answers and pretend we know what we're doing, I honestly didn't think anyone would humor us. Luckily, someone did, and so the hour I spent making a special graphic was NOT a waste after all!

And so, our very first helpline request deals with adding too much fat to a baking recipe.  Check it out.

Dan from Kansas writes us to say-

Dear Fat Chicks, While making my traditional rum cake for the holiday, I accidentally doubled the amount of butter the recipe calls for!  It still creamed together well, so I didn't realize my mistake until it was too late!  My cake is already baked, but I'm worried about the flavor.  Any idea what I'm in store for?

Whoops!  I'd be lying if I didn't say I've had this issue before, myself.  Once, while making blondies with my kiddo, a bowl of melted butter was sloshed, baptizing the oven in a slippery mess.  We guesstimated how much butter we'd have to add, and as any amateur baker will tell you...baking is not kind to the eyeballing of key ingredients.  They. Were. TERRIBLE.  Even though we'd used unsalted butter, the bars were so soaked with butter that all we could taste was salt and sugar battling it out for the right to wow our palates. Salt won that fight, and we had to trash them.

So, the taste could be off, yes, but the rum might help offset! Expect a really moist cake...very in "It might fall apart" moist.  The purpose of fat in a baking recipe is to shorten the gluten strands, which is a fancy way of saying it controls how far the flour will expand, which determines how light and fluffy your cake will be.  In this case....not so light and fluffy. Additionally the water content of the butter has been doubled, which means the batter didn't get to form those stable little air bubble that help keep it...well....stable.

So, you could have a salty, moist, dense cake....or it could be fine, just a bit rich.  The best way to know for sure before serving it and watching in panic as the first bite is taken?  Try it.  (Since you used a bundt pan, just carefully take two tiny, even slices from opposite sides of the cake, and gently move back together.)  If it's edible but dense and falling apart, call it a twist on bread pudding and serve with ice cream or egg nog.

And if it's not edible?  Just show up with the rest of the rum, and I'm sure all will be forgiven.

In empathy,

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