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Old 12-11-2003, 06:35 AM
Alex Rast
 
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Default Difference between bread and cake?

at Tue, 11 Nov 2003 12:30:55 GMT in
,
(Ben) wrote :

Hi. My wife and I got into a discussion last night about the
difference between bread and cake. She's European and says 1/2 of the
stuff Americans call bread is cake (eg. Banana Bread). Is there a
definative difference between bread and cake like ingredients, baking,
etc?


Like most non-technical words, there is at least some ambiguity. First, I
will dismiss a few special cases.

Preceded by "short-" both words change meaning from the standard.
Shortbread is a type of cookie, shortcake is a type of scone. (Humorously,
I have to resort to the American "cookie" and the British "scone" because
in Britain, a cookie is called a biscuit, where in America, a scone is
called a biscuit. So depending on one's POV, *both* shortbread and
shortcake are "biscuits"!)

"Cake" in a non-baking context can refer to any food that's been compressed
into a solid block, usually with one definitely smallest dimension. Thus we
have rice cakes, yeast cakes, etc.

But generally, at least by my way of looking at it, the difference between
bread and cake is that in cake, the amount of eggs is sufficient to
contribute substantially to the *structure*, not just the *texture*. That,
I realize, is a very vague point in itself, although in general cakes will
be less dense than breads because once eggs start to have an impact on the
structure, that impact is to make it lighter. In fact, a cake doesn't have
to have any flour at all, thanks to the structure contribution of eggs, for
example flourless chocolate cake. However, a cake must have some other
contributor to structure besides eggs, otherwise things like souffle would
be a cake. It's all quite fuzzy and the boundaries overlap to some extent.
But this is at least a close approximation to the way I see things being
named.


--
Alex Rast

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