Cake cooling starts in a pan, ends on the rack

FOOD FACTS

August 25, 1993|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Contributing Writer

Q: Some baking recipes say to cool in the pan; others say to cool on a wire rack. Which is better?

A: A method that combines both is usually recommended. As a rule of thumb, cakes and other baked goods should be left in their pans on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. If you try to remove a cake from its pan immediately after baking, it can stick or fall apart because it is so tender. By letting some baked products sit in the pan for a short period of time, the edges begin to cool and pull away from the sides, making removal easier. (Leaving a cake in the pan longer than recommended, however, is not a good idea since sometimes the cake will then stick and be more difficult to take out). Once you've removed the baked goods from the pan, leave them on a wire rack so air can circulate them, ensuring even cooling.

Q: What is the difference between salsa and picante sauce? They seem so similar.

A: Salsa and picante are very similar. According to Mark Miller, owner and chef of Red Sage, a Southwestern-style restaurant in Washington, both are Mexican uncooked sauces made primarily from tomatoes, tomato sauce and hot chilies. The picante sauce has more heat and a more watery consistency.

Q: What is the difference between creme fraiche and heavy whipping cream? I've noticed they both are sometimes used over fruit for desserts.

A: Unlike whipping cream, creme fraiche is a mature heavy cream that has been thickened by a natural bacteria, usually that buttermilk or sour cream. You can buy creme fraiche ready-made in some dairy sections, or you can make it quite easily at home. Take 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of buttermilk or sour cream. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours or until very thick. Then refrigerate. Creme fraiche is used not only on its own for dessert, but is often used to add richness and creaminess to savory sauces because, unlike sour cream, it will not separate when heated to high temperatures.

Send your questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, 21278. Although personal replies are not possible, questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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