How to Bake a Cake
A cake is often associated with celebrations. While birthdays, weddings, graduation celebrations, among other similar events are marked with a variety of foods and drinks, cakes remain a key component in such events. In fact, an event in which a cake is not cut is often deemed incomplete. But how is it prepared? It can either be purchased or made at home. As many people realize, nothing is sweeter than a cake that one makes for himself, in the kitchen. This process essay gives a step by step breakdown of how to bake a chocolate cake.
To bake a chocolate cake, you need the following ingredients:
- three eggs,
- a cup of sugar,
- one-half buttermilk,
- half teaspoon baking powder,
- about a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder,
- and an equal amount of room-temperature unsalted butter,
- a quarter teaspoon salt, and a three-quarter cup of cup flour.
For chocolate ice:
- 200 g of plain chocolate,
- 200 ml of double cream will also be needed.
It is necessary for these ingredients to be gathered and measured to exact sizes.
First, preheat the oven to a temperature of 350 degrees. Next, the standard pan has to be greased well with cooking spray. This will ensure that the bar does not stick to the pan during the baking process. After that, the eggs, sugar, butter, buttermilk, and some vanilla extract are placed in a large container, preferably a bowl. A hand mixer is used to blend them well. These form the wet ingredients. Instructions regarding the butter texture must be adhered to strictly. Adhere to the recipe instructions. Use of the wrong butter texture can easily ruin the quality. In most cases, the butter should be at room temperature and this can be achieved by setting it out early before starting with the other ingredients. This will give the butter adequate time to attain room temperature when the time for its use comes.
Next, the dry ingredients, including flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt are mixed in a different bowl. Stir the mixture slowly but continuously until the ingredients are fully mixed. It is at this point that the dry mixture will be added to the wet mixture. The cook will then need to beat the new mixture on low and this has to be done until the batter is smooth. The flour should be completely dissolved and no bits of flour should be visible.
By now, the baking process is halfway through. Pour proportionately equal amounts of batter into the pans. The pans need to be greased and floured. Wasting even little bits of the mixture is undesired hence the cook will scrape sides of the bowl and ensure that all of the batter bits are in the pan.
Once this is done, the next step is to place the pan in the oven and allow it to bake for between 30 and 35 minutes. Check on the progress every five minutes to ensure the cake does not burn. Test that it is ready using a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean with no batter coatings, it is ready. Once this is achieved, bake for 2 more minutes if needed. The cook will then remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in pans for about five minutes. The next step is to place the pieces most preferably on a wire rack so that they can cool completely.
The second last step involves decoration. This has to be done through either frosting or icing. To frost the cake, it must have cooled completely as any attempt to add frost to a warm bar will result in the frost melting. The chocolate block will go well with some chocolate buttercream frosting or any other type of frosting that will be deemed appropriate.
Alternatively, it can be iced. To prepare the icing, one needs to measure both the cream and chocolate and put them in a bowl. Carefully melt the cream and chocolate over a pan of hot water. This has to be done at a low heat. Whisk the mixture until it becomes smooth and thick. Stir it then set aside for 1-2 hours to cool and thicken up. A round-blade knife is passed through the inside of the tins to loosen the blocks. The pieces are then carefully removed from the tins and a little chocolate icing is spread over one of the cakes and another is placed on top of the first. Afterward, it is moved to a serving plate and is then iced all over using the chocolate icing.
It is eating time and everybody will enjoy!
By now, you will have become an expert in baking a chocolate block. It is also necessary to know how to bake the other varieties, including vanilla and apple cake. The process is, however, almost similar. The ingredients, ability to carefully monitor the various time elements, and of course, the desire are all one needs to prepare a sweet cake.
As the government begins its crackdown on essay mill websites, it’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days. But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to experts to get some simple techniques that will raise your writing game.
Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.
“There is a knack to it,” he says. “It took me until my second or third year at Cambridge to work it out. No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple.”
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The goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale.
“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays. “You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them. That’s where the marks lie.”
But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Squirrell, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”.
“That can be an intimidating idea,” he says. “You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?
“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’. That’s the difference between a 60-something essay and a 70-something essay.”
Critique your own arguments
Once you’ve cast a critical eye over the texts, you should turn it back on your own arguments. This may feel like going against the grain of what you’ve learned about writing academic essays, but it’s the key to drawing out developed points.
“We’re taught at an early age to present both sides of the argument,” Squirrell continues. “Then you get to university and you’re told to present one side of the argument and sustain it throughout the piece. But that’s not quite it: you need to figure out what the strongest objections to your own argument would be. Write them and try to respond to them, so you become aware of flaws in your reasoning. Every argument has its limits and if you can try and explore those, the markers will often reward that.”
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Fine, use Wikipedia then
The use of Wikipedia for research is a controversial topic among academics, with many advising their students to stay away from the site altogether.
“I genuinely disagree,” says Squirrell. “Those on the other side say that you can’t know who has written it, what they had in mind, what their biases are. But if you’re just trying to get a handle on a subject, or you want to find a scattering of secondary sources, it can be quite useful. I would only recommend it as either a primer or a last resort, but it does have its place.”
Focus your reading
Reading lists can be a hindrance as well as a help. They should be your first port of call for guidance, but they aren’t to-do lists. A book may be listed, but that doesn’t mean you need to absorb the whole thing.
Squirrell advises reading the introduction and conclusion and a relevant chapter but no more. “Otherwise you won’t actually get anything out of it because you’re trying to plough your way through a 300-page monograph,” he says.
You also need to store the information you’re gathering in a helpful, systematic way. Bryan Greetham recommends a digital update of his old-school “project box” approach.
“I have a box to catch all of those small things – a figure, a quotation, something interesting someone says – I’ll write them down and put them in the box so I don’t lose them. Then when I come to write, I have all of my material.”
There are a plenty of online offerings to help with this, such as the project management app Scrivener and referencing tool Zotero, and, for the procrastinators, there are productivity programmes like Self Control, which allow users to block certain websites from their computers for a set period.
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Look beyond the reading list
“This is comparatively easy to do,” says Squirrell. “Look at the citations used in the text, put them in Google Scholar, read the abstracts and decide whether they’re worth reading. Then you can look on Google Scholar at other papers that have cited the work you’re writing about – some of those will be useful. But quality matters more than quantity.”
And finally, the introduction
The old trick of dealing with your introduction last is common knowledge, but it seems few have really mastered the art of writing an effective opener.
“Introductions are the easiest things in the world to get right and nobody does it properly,” Squirrel says. “It should be ‘Here is the argument I am going to make, I am going to substantiate this with three or four strands of argumentation, drawing upon these theorists, who say these things, and I will conclude with some thoughts on this area and how it might clarify our understanding of this phenomenon.’ You should be able to encapsulate it in 100 words or so. That’s literally it.”
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