baking can be a challenge, especially for a beginner baker, that’s why in this
post I am sharing with you my top 10 cake baking tips for baking a perfect
cake. Take the frustration away and read
I remember the very first time that I tried baking from scratch. My aunt, who is a cake lady herself shared her recipe with me and this was a recipe that I’ve tasted and that I’ve really like.
Naturally, I was so excited to make it but it was also my first attempt in making a cake from scratch, so I just tried to put it together the way I understood it. (Let me add, this was more than 20 years ago and the Interwebs were not the same as it was today. I had very few resources back then.)
I was so eager to take the cake out of the oven, and oh wow, I have this beautiful golden cake right in front of me.
But then, it deflated right before my eyes. I was so devastated!
My family, bless their hearts, were nice enough to still eat the cake although it didn’t look good and the texture was way off.
So I’ve learned a few things over the years and
now I will share with you 10 things that you can do so that you will have good
results when baking a cake.
Try using a recipe that has been tried and tested to be good. Nowadays, there are recipe sites that people can leave a review about a recipe. Choose a recipe that has a lot of good reviews. I have a few cake recipes here in my website and you can be sure that all the recipes that I have posted there are tried and tested by me. You’re welcome ;)
I know this sounds so basic but it’s amazing how people don’t read the recipe. I have to call myself out on this because I am also guilty of skimming thru the recipe only to realize I missed a step. Sometimes I forgot to add the eggs or the sugar in. And this happened more than once.
Make sure you also understand the procedure and if you don’t you can always Google it or find it in Youtube. If it helps you, mentally rehearse the steps first before you actually start baking.
all the ingredients and the equipments that you need at hand before you start
baking. Imagine just when you started
mixing the cake and you realized you are missing an egg or baking powder. Not fun.
of baking powder make sure that you check your baking powder or baking soda
that it is still good and has not expired yet.
If you can’t remember when you bought it, it was probably too long ago. Your cakes won’t bake well if your leavening
agents are no good.
That flour smells a tad bit off? It could be rancid. So keep your flours fresh as well. Store flours in a cool dry place and if you think you won’t be using it for awhile, keep it in an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer.
It is best to have the ingredients at room temperature. Mixing the ingredients cold, can make the batter curdle and won’t give you the best results. So take the eggs, butter and other liquids out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to an hour and let it come at room temp. I like to cut up the butter in smaller pieces so that it will soften up faster. If really in a hurry, you can zap the butter in the microwave 10 seconds at a time until it’s soft. Keep an eye on it tho’ as 5 seconds too long might melt your butter.
Baking is all about precision and accuracy, so make sure you measure the ingredients very carefully as stated in the recipe. For more precise measurements of the dry ingredients, I like to use a digital scale and measure in grams.
If you don’t have a scale, you can also use a
measuring cup, although it won't be as precise as the scale. The best way to use it is to spoon the flour inside and sweep the top of the extra
flour with a flat knife. For liquid ingredients, it is best to use a liquid measuring cup.
can be a bit tricky. Follow what the
recipe states for the mixing time but also use your judgment. You don’t want to undermix the batter that
you can still see the ingredients as separate components. You also don’t want to over mix either. Overmixing agitates the gluten in the flour, creating
a tough, dense crumb. Check out this
very helpful post about overmixing batter.
Mix the batter until you see it nice and smooth, this usually takes
about 2-3 minutes.
Be sure to use the pan that the recipe calls for. Sometimes, you can get away with using a smaller pan but make sure you don’t overfill it. The last thing you want to do is clean up burnt cake drippings on your oven floor. Ask me how I know it. The batter should fill at least half the pan and not more than 2/3 of the pan, depending in the recipe. If you have extra batter, you can bake it up as cupcakes.
Some people like to grease their pan with butter and flour so that the cake will not stick to the pan. I personally like to line my pan with a piece of parchment paper the same size as the pan. I find that this method works almost 100 percent that the cake will not stick.
This is the part where you should know your oven, coz each oven is unique. Some ovens may bake hotter than others. Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature and calibrate if you have to.
Always bake in the center of the oven and resist
the urge to peek and opening the oven door. This might cause the cake to fall due to the
change of temperature and banging the oven door.
I once posted a recipe in a recipe website and it mostly got 5 stars and very good reviews. But one person gave it a 1 star and said that the cake was raw and blamed my recipe for it!
So, always set a timer so you know pretty much when the cake will be ready. I say pretty much because going back to tip number 9, your oven might be too hot or not enough hot. The amount of time in the recipe is just a guideline for baking times. Check at least 5-10 minutes before the specified time. If it is not ready yet put the cake back in the oven and set the timer again for about 5 to 10 minutes, check and repeat if necessary.
The cake is done when it springs back when you lightly touch it in the
center. You can also use a skewer or a
cake taster and poke the center of the cake, it should come out clean. Another good reason to use a timer is that
so you’re not forgetting that you have a cake in the oven. You don’t want to have an over baked cake, it
will be dry and crumbly.
So, there you have my stop ten cake baking tips and I hope you'll find this helpful.
Leave a comment below and share with me any cake baking frustrations or cake fails you have.