There is a wealth of new world bakeries that have popped up all around the city and I decided to visit a few to check them out. Some of these bakeries seem to be a spin-offs and knock-offs from the original Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village. I'm not a big fan of the Magnolia Bakery and cannot understand why people wait in line outside and up the street for a darn cupcake with frosting. I guess no one bakes at home anymore. I've had cake and cupcakes from the Magnolia a few times but haven't been impressed. Most of the cakes seems doughy without a lot of "crumb" texture. I am not a scientist but how the "Sugar Association" says a "tender crumb" is formed...
"During the mixing process, sugar acts as a tenderizing agent by absorbing water and slowing gluten development. During mixing of batters and doughs, flour proteins are hydrated forming gluten strands. The gluten forms thousands of small, balloon-like pockets that trap the gases produced during leavening. These gluten strands are highly elastic and allow the batter to stretch under expansion of gases. However, if too much gluten develops, the dough or batter becomes rigid and tough. Sugar competes with these gluten-forming proteins for water in the batter and prevents full hydration of the proteins during mixing. As a consequence, less gluten is allowed to "develop," preventing the elastic dough or batter from becoming rigid. With the correct proportion of sugar in the recipe, the gluten maintains optimum elasticity which allows for gases to be held within the dough matrix. These gases, from leavening agents and mixing, expand and allow the batter or dough to rise. By preventing the gluten development, sugar helps give the final baked product tender crumb texture and good volume."
How about that!