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Re: tofu in cakes

> Is there
>something special you should do when using tofu in a cake recipe?  Can
>you use tofu in a cake recipe?

I use whipped silken tofu in most of the cakes I make. I also taste-test
all my recipies on non-vegans, and only consider a recipe successful if my
non-vegan taster wants to take the remainder of the test-object home with
them. When I've done side-by side blind-taste-tests of all the various
vegan egg replacers, tofu or flax gloop has always won.

I personally would worry about the mayo. Miracle Whip is full of little air
pockets, which would help raise the cake, kinda like when you fold beaten
egg whites into a regular cake, or when a non-ff baker does a good job of
creaming the butt*r & sugar, so it resembles whipped cre*m. Mayo, on the
other hand, is kind of heavy and airless, and would do absolutely no good
for raising a cake. I think people use mayo in cakes when they want more of
a dense pudding-cake effect (or when in a moment of insanity they aquired a
honkin' big jar of it el-cheapo at the local ware-mart).

Here comes the food-science/professional baking lore: Incorporation of tiny
air-pockets is vital in making non-yeasted baked goods. In muffins & quick
breads, you achieve it by barely mixing the ingredients & getting the stuff
into the oven ASAP, so that you incorporate both air from the flour and the
first release of gas from your baking powder, which happens as soon as it's
moistened and dissipates within 15 minutes. Cakes get more mixing, since
they ideally have a finer grain than muffins, so you need some other means
of getting that air in. In a professional baking setting, that means that
something somwhere is getting whipped at high speed for quite a while,
whether it's egg whites, f*t & sugar, or f*t & flour (high-ratio cakes) --
thus your ff Miracle Whip, which was whipped in the factory.  Vegans can
also incorporate tiny-air-pockets by folding in beaten ener-g egg replacer
or beated flax-gloop as if they were egg-whites.  When I use tofu as my egg
replacer in something that I want to rise a lot, I use my wheat free cake
flour (described below) and whip in the mixer with the tofu, to incorporate
air. Since the wheat-free cake flour has minimal gluten, this mixing
doesn't make the cake tough.

This isn't as important in yeasted breads, since bread is a context in
which you encourage gluten to form, so the sheets of gluten make rubbery
little balloons which trap the gasses given off by the yeast. Also, you
give the yeast a good long time to do it's work puffing those balloons;
thus the many rises. In a cake or muffins, where gluten makes things
unpleasantly chewy, you can't use those resilient little gluten balloons to
inflate things. Instead, you need to carefully capture and treasure little
air bubbles, so that there are places for the gasses released by the baking
powder to collect. All professional baking texts emphasize this.

And my usual suggestion for all baking: use the right flour for the job.
Ok, I was a professional baker and I'm kinda uptight about this kind of
thing, but the only things I've found all-purpose flour to be good for is
cookies and pie crust (*not* a fatfree item).  If you're making bread,  it
doesn't have enough gluten to do a good job of making gluten-balloons for
you, unlike bread or hard wheat flour which has plenty. OTOH, all-purpose
flour has too much gluten for cakey stuff, and it makes them chewy; you
want pastry or cake flour instead. For whole-grain, non-heavy,
great-tasting cakes and muffins, try this wheat-free cake flour: 3 parts
barley flour, 2 parts brown rice flour, and 1 part tapioca flour ( I think
it tastes *vastly* preferable to ww pastry flour).  The almost gluten-free
quality of this flour mix is of particular interest in FF baking, since one
of the roles of f*t in cakes is to prevent the development of gluten; for
example, there is a method of professional cake-making where you cream
short*ning & flour to achieve this end. So that's probably another reason
to avoid all-purpose flour in FF baking.