A cake with random ingredients, interesting… Baking is, rightly, considered by many as a difficult art form. But, does it have to be difficult? Could there be a way to create delicious cakes without any thought whatsoever? Let’s find out…
So, how are we going to be testing this hypothesis? (Using the term hypothesis very loosely here.)
Well, we’re going to be choosing random amounts of some basic cake building blocks, as well as some random flavourings.
We’ll then be using some easy well known techniques to mix the ingredients, and bake the cake!
While I would love to see a cake made with half a kilo of flour and only 1 egg, that’s not going to happen here.
Although this will be random, there will be some guidance as to the amounts of ingredients.
By this, I mean we will choose a random amount of each ingredient within a pre-defined range, so that we will actually have an edible cake at the end.
So, will we have a cake at the end? And will it be nice? Let’s start the baking!
As I said, there will be a few ingredients that we’re going to use, and then we’ll be randomly choosing two flavours.
The mandatory ingredients, and their range of amounts will be as follows:
Self-raising Flour: 100 – 200 grams
Baking Powder: 3 – 7 grams
Caster Sugar: 50 – 200 grams
Butter: 50 – 150 grams
Eggs: 2 – 4
We will also be having the following choices for flavourings:
Lavender, Almond, Chocolate and Coconut.
Choosing the Flavour
Right, onto the randomisation.
For this, we will be the RanInt button on a standard scientific calculator. If you don’t know what this does, have a look at this article.
So, the first step was to randomly choose my flavours by picking 2 random numbers between 1 and 4. I got chocolate and almond. Rather lucky I’d say.
Now I had to choose a range of amounts for each of these flavours:
Chocolate chips: 50 – 150 grams
Chocolate Flavouring: 1 – 5 drops
Ground Almond: 50 – 100g
Almond Flavouring: 1 – 5 drops
Ah, now that that initial setup’s out of the way, it’s time to randomly select how much of each ingredient we’ll be using.
For this, we’re going to use a calculator again, and select a random integer in between the set ranges.
When I did this, I got the following amounts:
Self-Raising Flour: 172g
Baking Powder: 5g = 1tsp
Caster Sugar: 61g
Chocolate Drops: 89g
Chocolate Flavouring: 4 drops
Ground Almond: 70g
Almond Flavouring: 3 drops
And there it is, our ingredients list. Now it’s time to put them all together in the cake!
If you actually want to bake a similar cake, then here’s how I did it.
If you’re only interested in the end result, then feel free to skip this part.
1. Pre-heat the Oven to 160 (140 fan) and Line a Tin
First thing to do is to pre-heat the oven; these temperatures are in Celsius.
Then, you’ll want to grease or line a tin.
I used a 2lb loaf tin, but you could use anything, like a more traditional circle.
Note, if you do use a different tin, you’ll have to adjust the temperature and timing slightly, so just be aware.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate drops in a pan
The first thing to do is put the butter and the chocolate together in a pan on a low heat.
As this starts to melt, be sure to keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Once all of the butter and chocolate has melted and combined, take the pan off the heat and leave for a few minutes to cool, all while stirring.
This is so that the eggs don’t scramble when you add this mixture to them.
3. Combine the Dry Ingredients
While the butter and chocolate is cooling, you can put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix them.
I used a machine to mix my ingredients, but a spoon will work just as well.
4. Beat the Eggs and Add the Chocolate
Crack the four eggs into a separate bowl and give them a quick beat. Make sure not to over-beat them though.
Then, pour the cooled chocolate and butter mixture into the bowl, and give it a quick, gentle mix.
5. Mix the Wet and Dry Ingredients
Pour the egg, butter and chocolate mixture into the main bowl, and mix until completely incorporated.
6. Pour the Mixture into the Tin and Bake for an Hour
Empty all of your mixture into your lined and/or greased tin.
You can use a spatula to make sure all of the mixture is emptied out.
Then, put the tin in the centre of the pre-heated oven for roughly an hour, but check after about 45 minutes to see if it’s been cooked through.
It’ll be cooked if you put a skewer all the way through and it comes out clean.
Well, here we are. The cake is done, so let’s have a look at how it turned out…
Wow, it actually looked delicious, and you could cut through it like butter. However…
It was quite dry, and the flavour a little lacking. Fortunately, I had some cream to hand to moisten it up.
I think if you actually wanted to cook this recipe, I would add some more chocolate chips and sugar, as well as a little milk to loosen the mixture.
I think we’ve proven that you can make a cake with random ingredients, and a fairly good one at that.
Nevertheless, I have to hand it to the chefs and bakers on this one. I’d say it takes some skill and intuition to make a cake that’s actually nice.
Well, thanks for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it; I actually had a lot of fun baking this cake.
If you have any suggestions, or maybe you even tried the same thing, let me know in the comments.
Also, as always, if you want to get in touch with me about anything at all, you can do so here.
I do have some ideas of similar things I could do, perhaps even involving some coding, so stay tuned, and if people liked this, then maybe I’ll try it.
If you did enjoy this, have a look around at my other posts, I’m sure you’ll find something you like.
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Sorry to keep rambling, but if you like stuff like this, then check out the science meets food blog for more food science stuff.