Is cake a pastry? This is one question that many people have asked themselves. The problem comes from the fact that there is no one specific answer to this question. Some believe that it is because it is sweet, others believe that it is because it contains flour, and still others believe that it must be rolled.
So Is cake a pastry? A cake is most certainly a pastry, and there is no way around it. The main ingredients in cakes are typically flour, eggs, sugar, and butter, the same core ingredients that make up most pastries.
Cake can be considered a pastry because of its structure. A cake is made up of layers which then get stacked together to form what we traditionally know as a cake.
Cake – a Pastry
Is cake a pastry? Yes, in fact, any baked good that contains flour is considered to be a pastry. This includes pies, cookies, brownies, and most other sweet confections. The crumb of nearly all baked goods is made up of four ingredients: sugar, flour, butter, and eggs.
Cake differs from most pastries in that it does not need to be rolled or folded when mixed together; however, both pie crusts and cookie dough must be rolled out when making them.
Cake shares many of the same characteristics with pastries, especially concerning the use of sugar. It goes through the initial baking stages before being cooked completely, where things like bread do not have this same requirement.
Once again, the cake is a pastry. There are hundreds of different types of pastries and cakes, which all contain flour as their primary ingredient.
Once the flour has been baked or steamed, it becomes what we know as a pastry.
What’s considered a pastry?
Basically, anything that has flour as its core ingredient and then has been cooked is considered a pastry. Here are what makes pastries so special:
- Flour – The main ingredient to any pastry is flour. Flour contains protein and this protein leavens the dough, making it soft and spongy.
- Sugar- Like cake, most pastries do contain sugar. Most but not all. For example, bagels don’t have any sugar in them. When heated, the sugar in the pastry caramelizes and helps to give the pastry its golden brown color.
- Eggs- Eggs are used for structure in pastries. Without eggs, there would be no lift, causing the pastry to fall flat.
- Butter- Butter is crucial in making a flaky pastry crust. This creates tender layers in the pastry, which are essential to any flaky pastry.
The best thing about pastry is that it can be filled with anything. For example, there are savory pastries like Cornish Pastries and sweet ones like Strawberry Turnovers.
What is a cake classified as?
A cake is classified as a sweet, baked flour confection that typically has a layered structure. The other major ingredient in cakes is eggs.
Cake can be considered a pastry because it shares many of the same characteristics concerning the use of sugar. It goes through initial baking stages before being cooked completely where things like bread do not have this same requirement.
Another reason cake is a pastry has to do with its planar structure. Cake can be sliced horizontally and layered together to form what we traditionally know as a cake.
On the other hand, a flan is not considered a pastry because it does not contain flour or sugar in most cases. It also does not need to be rolled or folded.
The cake does share similarities with pastry in that it has both baking powder and/or yeast as its leavening agent, eggs for structure, sugar for caramelization, and butter for tenderness just to name a few.
How do cake and pastry flours differ?
There are many types of flours that can be used in pastries, but they all share the same basic ingredients.
Cake flour is milled more finely than pastry flour, and cake flour contains less gluten than pastry flour due to its low protein content.
By definition, starch crystals compose pastry flour, making it easier for water molecules to separate their amylose chains during the baking process.
This is what creates air pockets in pastry dough which makes it flaky and crispy rather than chewy like bread.
The cake, however, has different structural properties because of its high starch content. Cake flour contains nearly all starch with negligible protein which gives cakes their crumbly texture after they are baked.
Can pastry flour be used for cakes?
Yes, pastry flour can be used for cakes. Since cake flour is milled more finely than pastry flour, it would make sense to use pastry flour when making a light and airy cake that requires a finer crumb structure.
Since the truth is that both cake and pastry flours have varying protein contents depending on the brand, and this amount can be adjusted by adding more or less flour, bakers can mix and match cake and pastry flours to achieve whatever results they are looking for.
For example, if one wanted a denser cake than angel food or sponge cakes but still wanted it light enough so that the layers wouldn’t fall flat after baking, they could use some pastry flour in their cake flour to create a nice crumb structure that is still light and airy.
For the record, it is not recommended that pastry chefs try using all cake flour in their pastries because doing such will result in dense pastries.
In conclusion, the cake is a pastry because it is composed of the same ingredients as a pastry and has similar characteristics such as an initial baking stage and layers. Cake flour is also milled finer than pastry flour.
If you have ever tried a pastry, then you have most certainly had a cake.
I think it sounds delicious!