Monday, 23 November 2015

Side-by-Side Baking - All in One 'v' Creaming in Method

A mini baking experiment looking at the differences between the creaming-in and all-in-one methods of making sponges.

Which is the better cupcake, all-in-one or creaming-in-

To bake using the all-in-one-method or not to bake using the all-in-one-method, that is the question. 

I have to admit that I have always baked my Victoria sponges using the creaming in method.  Always.   Ever since baking my first batch of cupcakes whilst stood on a chair at the work bench as a young child with my mum, the creaming in method has always been the way to go.  I clearly recall our home economics teacher at secondary school demonstrating how to make some basic Victoria Sandwich cupcakes using the traditional method with a little explanation as to why we treated each ingredient in a set way.  Beating the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Adding the eggs slowly and beating in.  Gently folding in the flour.    It worked and I stuck with the process.

Which is the better cupcake, all-in-one or creaming-in-


However, for some years now I have seen top celebratory chefs using the all-in-one-method!  "NO!",  I would shout at the TV screen.   Do tell me I'm not the only person who shouts at the TV over things they're passionate about!   For those who aren't familiar with the all-in-one method, as implied by the name, all the ingredients are simply put into the mixing bowl together and briefly mixed together.   There's no adding the egg gradually and no folding in the flour gently.  Even the queen of baking herself, Mary Berry, often demonstrates her GBBO Masterclass recipes using the all-in-one-method!  Surely it must work if Mary Berry herself regularly uses this apparently quick and no fuss method of baking.   So a couple of weeks ago I set about conducting one of my mini side-by-side baking experiments to look at how effective the all-in-one method is compared to the traditional creaming-in method when making a sponge.
 
Cupcakes using the all-in-one method

So how did I go about it?  I made two batches of Victoria Sponge cupcakes, one was made with the traditional creaming in method and the other utilising the all-in-one-method.   The ingredients were identical in both batches, in terms of  weight, quality of ingredients and temperature.  As the all-in-one method requires limited beating it was important to ensure the butter was ultra soft (in both batches) as over working the mixture could have resulted  in the batter becoming tough due to the gluten being activated in the flour.  Once a batter was made, it was weighed into the paper cases thus ensuring each cupcake was the same size.  Different patterned paper cases were used for the two batches, preventing them from being muddled up.   Both batches of cupcakes were baked at the same temperature, on the same oven shelf and for the same amount of time.    Once the first batch was out of the oven, the second batch was made which prevented that sponge from sitting around and potentially spoiling whilst the first batch baked.

Cupcakes using the creaming in method

And the results.  Well to start with, the cupcakes using the all-in-one method were certainly noticeably quicker to rustle up, requiring very little beating and no real specific technique.  Visually, the cupcakes using the all-in-one method seemed to rise a little more than those made with the traditional method which is quite remarkable given the limited beating they received.  This said, they did dome a little during the bake, thankfully this wasn't too severe so as to interfere with the water icing that I used to simply decorate them with .    

As for the eat, seven people, including myself, 'volunteered' their services in testing the cupcakes.  Only I knew which cupcake was which, so my taste testers sampled them blind, so to speak.  Four of the seven preferred the traditional creaming in method, including myself.  Two preferred the all-in-one-method.  One person found no difference between the two batches.  Although there wasn't a vast difference between the two batches in terms of the eat,  I found that the buns made with the creaming-in-method was ever so slightly lighter. Our retired chef neighbour also commented the same.   This said, I was pleasantly surprised by how light the all-in-one cupcakes were despite the limited beating given to the mixture.
Difference between the creaming-in-method and the al- in-one-method.

Difference between the creaming-in-method and the al- in-one-method.


Difference between the creaming-in-method and the al- in-one-method.


Difference between the creaming-in-method and the al- in-one-method.

Given the great results and similarity to the traditional method, I shall certainly be less sniffy about the all-in-method and will definitely be using it again especially when time is at a premium.


Which is your preferred method of making sponges, the all-in-one or the creaming-in-method?


So let's get to it and bake! 


Victoria Sponge Cupcakes decorated with a Water Icing and Toasted Coconut.     Yum

Yield: 6 muffin size cupcakes
Serves: 6
Difficulty: Easy 
Time: hands on time 20 minutes; plus 20 minutes bake time; cooling time 
Freezable: Yes, undecorated  

You will need:

Electric Hand Held Beater
Sieve
Spatula or large Metal Spoon
Muffin size Paper Cases
Muffin Baking Tray
Frying Pan

For the sponge mixture

90g Unsalted Butter, softened
45g Golden Caster Sugar
45g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
90g SR Flour, sieved
1 - 2 tbsp milk

For the Water Icing and toasted coconut

70g Icing Sugar
Water
1 - 2 handful of Desiccated Coconut

How to make them:

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 190c / Fan 170c / Gas 5. Place the muffin cases into the muffin tray.

2.  Make the sponge.  Use either the creaming-in-method OR the all-in-one method.
Creaming-in-Method: Place the softened butter and sugar into a good sized bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until pale and fluffy.  Gradually add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the milk.  Sieve the flour into the mixture.  Using a spatula or large metal spoon fold this in gently.
All-in-One Method:  Place the eggs into the bowl & lightly whip to break them up.  Add the very soft butter, sugar, milk and flour.  Use the beaters to blend the ingredients together.  Avoid over mixing.

3.  Fill the muffin cases.  Using a teaspoon, fill the cases with the batter mixture.  You're aiming for them to be half to two-thirds full.  You may decide to weigh each muffin to ensure equal sizes.  Each cupcake will weigh about 57g - 58g.

4.  Bake.  Place the muffin tray in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.  You may need to rotate the tray after 15 minutes of baking.   Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling tray.

5.  Toast the coconut.  Place the frying pan over a medium heat on the hob (no oil required).  Add 1-2 handfuls of the desiccated coconut.  Spread it out into an even layer.   Use a wooden spoon to regularly move the coconut around to avoid it burning.   Once the coconut is a lovely golden colour tip into a bowl and se aside to cool.

6.   Mix the water icing.  Place the icing sugar into a small bowl.  Add a teaspoon of water and mix together.   Add drips of water until a thick but spreadable paste is achieved.

7.  Decorate the cupcakes.  Place a teaspoonful of the icing onto a cupcake.  Use the back of the teaspoon to gently spread the water icing over the top of the cupcake.  Holding the cupcake around its sides, tip it upside down and gently dip the iced face into the toasted desiccated coconut.    Set aside to allow the water icing to firm up.  Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.

Enjoy!










 

This post has been shared with:


Fabulous Foodie Fridays hosted by Lucy at Play Bake Smile and Lauren at Create Bake Make.

CookBlogShare Link up your recipe of the weekCasa Costello Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com








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20 comments:

  1. I LOVE your experiments! I was really interested to see the findings. As a relatively new baker ive never really known enough about it to tell the difference so I tend to follow the instructions specific to each recipe. The creaming method feels more satisfying to make as it feels like it is being done 'properly' x

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    1. Aw thank you Rebecca, I have a list almost as long as my arm of side-by-side bakes planned, for my own curiosity but also to share here on Only Crumbs Remain. I totally agree, the creaming in method does feel as though the sponge is being made properly.
      Thanks for your lovely comments Rebecca & for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  2. This is fantastic! I have always wondered which way is best but doing a side by side is so helpful!! i've pinned this, thanks for sharing - in a pinch I tend to use the all in one (kids parties etc) but I much prefer the creaming method for feeling like i'm actually "making" something rather than throwing it all in :) #tastytuesdays

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    1. Thank you Charlotte :-) I'd totally agree with you there - I think the bake method needs to reflect the reason for the bake and the time your able to give to it. The creaming in method certainly does feel more like proper baking doesn't it.
      Angela x

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  3. Very interesting! I would probably prefer the all in one method if I'm making it as it's less hassle... but if someone else make it for me, I probably prefer the creaming in method as it's done in a way it should be, isn't it? Lovely post! Thanks for sharing! #tastytuesdays

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    1. Hahaha :-) Very true x
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  4. What a great experiment! Some times I use the all in one method and other times the creaming method. If I need to whip up a cake in a hurry the all in one method is ideal. But when I have more time I do like to bake the traditional creaming way. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    1. Thank you Kirsty. It's interesting how people seem to prefer the creaming-in method when they have more time to spend on a bake. I think it does make that bit of difference to the eat.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  5. I really enjoyed reading this! I love your scientific approach and it is something I have always wondered about!! I was taught the creaming method when I was about 3, by my Dad (he was the cake maker in our house growing up - and still is!) and it is the way I have made cakes ever since. I've never liked the idea of the all-in-one method as, for me, part of the joy of making cakes is doing it the old familiar way I was taught as a child and that I am now passing on to my children - I find it relaxing (well, when I'm doing it on my own - it's less relaxing doing it with a 5 year old and a 7 year old!!) but I do sometimes wonder what would happen if I made them using the all-in-one method...so thanks for answering that question! Eb x

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    1. You're welcome Eb :-) It's lovely to use those traditional methods isn't it, they bring back such fond memories. It sounds like your children may be starring on Junior Bake Off in the next few years with their keen baking skills. x
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  6. This is something I've often wondered about so I found this really interesting.

    I tend to use the all in one method for making a basic sponge, but I suspect that I do it because the first sponge I made was made that way and I stuck with it (just like you and your creaming).

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    1. Thank you Charlotte, I wondered about it for long time and decided I needed to give it a try especially as such big names in baking were using it regularly. Exactly, if it works for you then why change it x
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  7. Fab experiment! I would eat either! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

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    1. Hahaha, me too :-)
      Thanks for popping over and commenting Vicki,
      Angela x

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  8. I wonder if the difference would be more noticeable with a full sponge cake. I've always wanted to do a few side-by-side comparisons but have never got around to it. Sifting vs not sifting is one I've got on my list.

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    1. Ooh, that's an interesting thought Narelle, the only thing with making 2 cakes in one day, as there are only the two of us, so much of it would be given away. I have a list as long as my arm for forthcoming side by side comparisons.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  9. I LOVE this!!!! What a fantastic little experiment. Wow I can't believe how well the all in one method turned out! That's so interesting! Thanks for linking up with our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party! xx

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    1. Aw thank you Lucy. I was really surprised too, it just goes against the whole theory of making a classic sponge.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  10. What a great, and very thorough, experiment. I normally prefer the all-in-one method, because I'm often trying to get a batch of something into the oven while my toddler eats his lunch. I'm glad to know I haven't been doing myself too great a disservice by employing this little shortcut - thanks!

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    1. Thank you Robyn. I was pleasantly surprised by how similar it was too. I think because the All-in-One method still produces good results then it's simply a case of using the method which suits your situation as you are anyway.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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