Ten baking tips for perfect cakes:
Baking is an art and science. It needs to be carefully done to get that fluffy, moist cake that has a perfect texture every time. Baking from scratch should not be frightening or difficult as it is usually thought. The goal of our ten baking tips for perfect cakes is to help you become a confident baker. By following these crucial steps, you will be able to make a perfect cake, just like a professional.
This may seem ordinary, but the first and foremost step is to select a good recipe that is not only cost-effective but manageable, simple and well formulated. The recipe should be carefully selected and read beforehand. Reading and understanding the recipe helps you to get that how, where, when and why certain ingredients need to be selected and added. Those few minutes will help you get the gist of the recipe and help save you from disasters. Mistakes sometimes happen because you failed to understand certain steps or didn’t realize what was coming ahead.
Once you got the hang of the recipe, stick to it. Rigidly follow all the instructions, ingredients choice, temperature, measurements etc. avoid making unnecessary substitutes unless specified. Because there is a reason why a certain ingredient is chosen, a certain temperature is maintained and why a specific baking pan needs to be utilized.
2-Room temperature butter:
The temperature and state in which butter is used in a particular recipe make a lot of difference. A lot of baked goods recipes start from folding the butter in some other ingredient. Its temperature and state significantly influence the texture of the baked goods. So it’s vital to have it prepared as the recipe proposes.
There are typically three unique textures of butter that most recipes use:
Molten butter is runny, liquid and slightly warm to touch. Too hot butter will cook the eggs in the mixture if any. And too cold will not mix properly.
Softened or room temperature butter is the same thing. This butter is actually cooler than you think. It isn’t warm, but it is soft. Pressing it with the finger will leave an impression. But finger shouldn’t sink down into it. It is ideal to leave the butter out at room temperature for at least one hour before using to get that perfect consistency.
Chilled or frozen:
scones, biscuits and pie crusts call for this type of butter for a crispy, flaky crust. Chill the butter well for 1, 2 hours in the freezer for such use.
Also, ingredients like eggs, yogurt, cream and butter blend much easier into the batter if kept at room temperature. They are able to hold more air in this way, and that is when creaming occurs, and the batter traps the air. This trapped air expands during baking from heat and helps produce a fluffy cake. Consider hard, cold butter. It’s difficult to blend cold butter into a creamy, soft consistency needed for certain recipes. Same is the case with the eggs–they considerably add more volume to the mixture when incorporated at room temperature. Last but not least, ingredients kept at room temperature bond easily and quickly thus prevent over mixing.
3-Measurement of baking materials:
Baking requires exact measurements. Get your ingredients measured before using them in baking. There is a little room for measurement related blunders if you go through the recipe first and get your ingredients prepared on the counter. It saves you from scrambling around and rushing here and there during the cooking process. A little kitchen scale is great in this regard. It is the most used and handy kitchen gadget used by the baker. It helps with precision. Cup measurements vary greatly and are inaccurate. Using gram measurements is a lifesaver. An ounce or a gram is consistently an ounce or a gram.
Consider flour. It is the most common and most widely measured ingredient. While making flour estimates, make use of the “spoon and level” method. Try not to scoop out the flour from the sack/container with the cup. Sometimes the due to compression, more flour occupies the cup volume, and you get a higher quantity than needed. Similarly, due to trapped air between cup and flour leads to a little measured quantity of flour than needed. The results can go disastrous this way. Do not force flour in the measuring cup, level the top surface with the help of a spatula or the knife back. In this way, you will have spooned and leveled flour which is relatively better measured.
4-Cake flour substitute:
Three types of flour are mostly used in baking.
Let’s have a look at the properties of each kind of flour. But first, remember that these are not exact substitutes of each other. They cannot be interchanged with each other at least without making a few adjustments.
Cake flour has a minimum amount of protein component in it. The result is a fluffier and softer cake because of less gluten formation. The reason is it takes in more quantity of sugar and liquid from the mixture and makes a more moist and delicious cake. Its texture is finer, and it also contains cornstarch.
It is the most widely used flour in cake baking. It is the most versatile and consists of a reasonable measure of protein content.
Self-rising flour is the least used flour for baking, but some recipes do call for it. This flour consists of flour plus salt and baking powder.
The key with mixing the batter is not to over blend and under blend. Regardless of whether a recipe needs to blend a mixture with a whisk or an electric mixer, ensure you’re combining the batter until ingredients are ‘just’ combined. An overmixed batter, regardless of whether that is for pieces of bread, cupcakes, cakes, muffins or cookies, leads to the hard textured baked item because all the air from the batter vanishes due to over formation of gluten. And an under mixed batter is likely to form clumps.
6-Use of paper rounds in baking:
To prevent the cooked and baked goods from sticking to molds, it is best to use paper rounds or parchment paper. First, use good quality cake pans.
Regardless of what brand and pan size you use, ensure you prepare it properly. Grease them liberally or use paper rounds. For that, on a large piece of paper round, place your cake pan on it and trace out its bottom. Cut out the round traced part. Now, lightly spray the base with baking spray or grease it with butter. Place the paper round and then grease/spray it again. That means greasing the pan plus parchment paper. Coconut oil or nonstick spray (also known as a baking spray) is best in this regard. The baking spray also has some flour content in it. This guarantees an ultra nonstick surface for the cake. Forget about sticking!
At the point as soon as the cake has cooled, by running a sharp knife blade around the edge, transfer it to your hand or counter by inverting and carefully pull away from the pan. Strip off the paper round and take the cake!
7-Opening of the oven during baking:
Temperature can ruin or make a cake. If you constantly open and close an oven’s door to peek inside, it will throw off the oven’s temperature. No doubt it’s fun to see your cake, rising, puffing and changing hue, but doing so lowers the inside temperature by letting cold air in. it hinders the cooking item from rising properly and cooking completely. Rely on oven thermometer and light feature to check for doneness. To test, quickly remove the cake from oven and shut the door to keep heat trapped inside. Insert a toothpick, test quickly and if needs additional baking time put it back. Avoid opening frequently.
It is very useful to possess an oven thermometer. Most ovens’ temperature is inaccurate unless yours is a new one or a regularly calibrated one.
8-Testing of baked items:
Doneness test can be done with a skewer or a toothpick. Force a toothpick in the middle of the cake and take it out. If it appears clean, it is completely cooked. This is a common testing technique. Another easy way is to check by gently pressing down cakes surface by your hand. Take it out of the oven if that is easier. If the cake comes back to its original position, it’s done. In case your hand leaves a gouge in the cake, it needs additional time. This way is simpler and does not need you to fumble around in search of toothpicks. This test can also be done for cupcakes and muffins.
9-How to cool baked items:
This may seem like an easy decision. However, very often we are in a hurry and rush towards decorating the cake because the icing will melt and flavor will not settle in completely. Cake decorating will get harder or impossible if the cake is hot. Either let it cool completely in the baking pan or remove it from the pan and transfer to wire rack after a while for cooling. If you are in a major rush, put it in the fridge after cooling outside for half an hour. But make sure it is properly covered before placing it in the fridge.
10-Storing of cakes:
Cakes need careful storage conditions; otherwise, they will harden or get weird odors from the fridge. Cover unfrosted cakes in cling film to protect them from absorbing moisture and smells and keep them from drying. Unwrap and warm a bit before serving.
To store frosted cakes, cool it uncovered in the fridge for fifteen minutes so that icing hardens and sets. After that cover it too and store for 2, 3 days.