Is there a secret to making great cake? Absolutely!
Also as a bonus i have also included 4 great tips on baking the perfect cupcake. Enjoy!
Baking has often been described as a science. Baking is an area of cookery that doesn’t take kindly to artistic licence. A cake is essentially a chemistry experiment—a series of ingredients mixed in a specific order to cause reactions that produce specific effects.
If you feel that all the measuring, sifting, and mixing involved in cake-baking seems more like science class than fun, then with this 10 tips to cake baking, you will conquer the cake, and have fun cake success doing it.
#Tip 1: Use A Good Recipe
It’s important to follow baking recipes to the exact measurement for guaranteed results so your cake will only ever be as good as the recipe you use. Start with a recipe from a source you have tried and tested and stick to it.
Most layer cakes, get their soft texture and moistness—called a crumb—by first creaming together fat and sugar, adding eggs, and slowly incorporating dry ingredients into the mixture while alternating with a milk. sponge cakes get their airy, textures when whole eggs or egg whites (depending on the cake) are whipped until voluminous, then folded into the batter. The air incorporated by whipping the eggs gives these cakes volume.
So whatever cake you’re making, be sure to follow the recipe instruction closely. The order and method described really counts when cake baking.
#Tip 2: Use the proper tin size stated in the recipe
Your recipe calls for two 9-inch round cake pans, but you only have 8-inch pans. What to do? Go get two 9-inch pans. Pan size is specified in recipes because a cake increases in volume 50 to 100 percent during baking; if your pan is too small, the cake could overflow. If you want to use a different one then you’ll need to adjust the cooking time.
Color of the cake tin is also important, too; glass or dark nonstick pans usually require a 25-degree reduction in baking temperature versus silver-colored aluminum pans.
For lining cake tins. Use Baking parchment for lining as it’s non-stick. Softened butter is good also. However, don’t use too much butter as this will fry the sides of the cake. If you’re cooking a cake for a long time (rich fruit cake, for example), it’s worth wrapping the outside of the tin too using brown paper and string to stop the edges from burning.
#Tip 3: Preheat The Oven
If you put a cake into an oven that’s not hot enough, it will affect the way it rises. Fan ovens can dry a cake slightly so for a longer shelf-life use the conventional setting.
To prevent an under- or overdone cake, get an oven thermometer—it’s the best way to be sure your oven is at the correct temperature. Bake the cake in the middle (too close to the top or bottom can cause over browning). Gently close the oven door—a hard slam can release air bubbles trapped in the batter.
To check for doneness, lightly press the center of the cake; if it springs back, it’s done. Or insert a toothpick; it should come out clean.
#Tip 4: Be accurate with weights and ingredients
Make sure you use the exact measurements and ingredients as stated in the recipe. You can’t just add more baking powder if you want your cake to rise more or substitute self-raising flour for plain. Use measuring spoons rather than regular cutlery to ensure accuracy.
#Tip 5: Make sure ingredients are the right temperature
The intimate chemistry among key ingredients delivers the foundation for good cake. Most recipes require the fat and eggs to be at room temperature. If you take the butter straight from the fridge it doesn’t cream well and cold eggs are liable to curdle the cake mixture.
Flour thickens the batter and provides gluten, a protein that gives the cake structure. It forms when flour is combined with a liquid and agitated. Don’t over mix, which can cause your cake to turn tough. Leaveners like baking soda or powder, produce carbon dioxide bubbles, which are trapped by the starch in the batter and expand during baking, causing the cake to rise.
Fats, like butter, shortening, or oil, help hinder gluten formation while providing moisture for the cake. This ensures a tender texture.
Sugar breaks up gluten, keeping the texture tender; it absorbs liquid, keeping the cake moist; and it caramelizes in baking, enriching flavors and helping the cake brown.
Eggs firm up when cooked, helping cake batters set in the oven. Egg yolks contain fat, as well as lecithin, an emulsifier that allows fats and water to mix smoothly and ensures even texture.
#Tip 6: Get as much air into the cake as you can
Cream butter and sugar until the mixture lightens in texture and colour. This increases the air and volume of the cake, giving you a lighter result.
Sift flour and other stated ingredients together to mix, add air and make them easier to fold in.Don’t be tempted to whisk vigorously as this will knock out the air and result in a heavy cake.
#Tip 7: Once the cake mixture is made put it straight into the oven
The raising agent will start working as soon as it comes into contact with any of the ‘wet’ ingredients so to ensure a good rise your cake mixture should go into the oven right away.
#Tip 8: Put the cake on the correct shelf and keep the oven door closed
Cakes are generally best placed on the middle shelf to ensure even cooking.
Once the cake is in, avoid opening the door until it’s almost cooked. If you allow cold air into the oven the cake is likely to collapse, you need to wait until it’s properly set before taking a peek. Similarly, when you’re putting the cake into the oven, don’t delay so as not to let all the heat out.
#Tip 9: Stick To Baking Times
If you’ve used the correct cake tin and you’ve got a good oven, the timings stated in the recipe should be accurate. As ovens do vary, check the cake just before the end of the cooking time.
A cake that is cooked through should feel the same if pressed around the edges or in the middle. Also, a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.
If your cake is not properly cooked in the centre but looking brown, a good tip is that you can cover it with a bit of dampened greaseproof paper.
#Tip 10: Cooling Cakes
Recipes will usually give instructions for cooling but as a general rule, most sponge cakes are best left for a few minutes and then turned onto a cooling rack.
Rich fruit cakes are better cooled in the tin. Cool cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pan.Once cooled, place a plate on top, invert the pan, and gently tap or shake it to release the cake. When it has cooled, run a narrow spatula around the edges, and release onto a plate.
BONUS- 4 TIPS FOR BAKING THE PERFECT CUPCAKE
1. USE A SCOOP TO FILL CUPCAKE LINERS
The easiest way to ensure a uniform baking time is to make sure you’re putting the exact same amount of batter in each cupcake case. The best way to ensure even batter distribution is to use a large ice cream scoop for standard-sized cupcakes and a small scoop for mini cupcakes.
2. DON’T LEAVE THE CUPCAKES IN THE PANS.
Let cupcakes cool for no more than a few minutes in their baking pans before you remove them to a wire rack and leave them there until they’ve cooled completely The heat from the pan can cause the cupcakes to overcook, which will dry them out.
Also don’t ice the cupcakes too soon because this will cause it to melt.
3. STORE CUPCAKES PROPERLY.
When cupcakes have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container so they retain their moisture. or, if you’re waiting to ice them, wrap them tightly in cling film.
Cupcakes will still retain their moisture at room temperature for a day or two, and after that it’s ok to store them in the fridge. Don’t worry, Cupcakes freeze well. When ready to ice, pop them out and leave to defrost.
4.FROST THE WHOLE CUPCAKE TO RETAIN MOISTURE
Cupcakes left out too long will dry out. When you ice cupcakes, it acts like a light seal to help the cupcakes retain moisture. Be sure to cover the entire exposed top of the cupcake with frosting as best you can, and your cupcakes will retain their moisture for longer.
For more tips and information about setting up your own cake business, make sure to check out my E-Course ‘The Baking Business School Cake E- Course‘. From the rules surrounding getting your business registered, marketing and business strategies as well as pricing guides including Templates, guides, Workbooks and checklists to help you build your cake passion business dream.
Lets make your cake dreams a reality
Talk to you next week.