Cake breads can be sweet like pumpkin or zucchini bread or savory like a softly scented rosemary loaf meant to be served with soup, toasted for sandwiches or presented as a delicate base for soft cheeses. The main advantage to cake breads is that they take far less time than yeast breads, though their velvety texture is also a luscious selling point.
Cake Bread vs. Yeast Bread
Cake breads do not require kneading or rising time because they are not made with yeast. The denser and much sturdier structure of yeast breads is due to the formation's gluten, which gives yeast bread dough its elasticity. This takes time to develop, which is why yeast breads must be left to rise. Cake breads use baking soda and baking powder as leavening agents, and the fat and sugar in them helps slow the development of gluten, giving them their cakelike texture.
Sweet Cake Breads
Sweet cake breads are usually fruit- or vegetable-based, with the most common types being banana bread, carrot bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread and cinnamon-raisin bread. Some include nuts such as walnuts or pecans, and many call for dried fruits like, for example, raisins and cranberries. Most cake breads start as a batter rather than a dough and are poured into loaf pans instead of being baked. Sweet cake breads tend to be less sturdy than savory ones, and are best served as a breakfast, snack or dessert because they will rarely stand up to being used in making sandwiches.
Savory Cake Breads
Savory cake breads are prepared much the same way that sweet cake breads are, starting out as a batter rather than a dough. Savory cake breads may use less sugar and fat. This allows slightly more gluten to develop so that they have a sturdier structure, though they generally won't stand up to a truly assertive sandwich. You can achieve a sturdier cake bread by using a small amount of yeast and baking the bread in a covered container such as a heavy Dutch oven.
Cake Mix Breads
Cake mix breads are a super-quick way to make a cake bread when guests appear unannounced or you're craving something simple and sweet. Simply add mashed bananas; pureed pumpkin; baby food versions of any vegetable, or fruit, to a boxed cake mix in a complementary flavor and bake according to the directions on the box. This adds a rich, moist flavor without adding extra fat.
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