Baking cakes is great fun and is something many of us love to do. Many of us fall into cake baking because we taste a cake from the coffee shop or even the supermarket and think to ourselves, “How hard can this be?” We then get down to baking and find that, actually it is quite difficult to make perfect cakes.
The reason? Usually, it is because there’s much more to baking than simply throwing some eggs and flour in a bowl with other ingredients and starting to mix them up. That may well be how you remember baking with Mum when you were a child, but you obviously didn’t see all the extra stuff that was done. Let’s face it, most of us just remember eating the mix out of the bowl once the cakes were baking in the oven!
Here are the simple yet must do tips that will help you to make perfect cakes.
Get Everything Out of the Fridge
Using butter at room temperature is a common top tip related to baking, but you should really be looking to use as much as you can at room temperature. This means eggs out of the fridge the night before you’re planning to bake, and potentially doing the same with milk, if it is to be used anywhere in your recipe.
If you forget to get the eggs out of the fridge, you can cheat a little by placing them in warm water for 15 minutes prior to baking. If you forget to do the same with the milk, however, you’re on your own!
Get Picky with Measuring
Heaped spoonfuls and tightly packed measuring spoons are the last thing you need when it comes to baking. Even a small amount too much and you’re looking at a stodgy, not particularly great tasting cake coming out of your oven.
The trick here is to take your time, and to carefully spoon flour, sugar, and other ingredients into the measuring cup or bowl, or into scales. This means you’ll get as close to perfect as possible based on the volumes listed in the recipe, and are more likely to create the perfect cake.
Place Pans in the Centre of the Oven
Okay, so this is admittedly a rather obvious tip, but you need to know what to do if you’re cramped for space but are trying to cook a bigger batch of cakes all at once.
The idea is to play a kind of baking tray jenga, keeping all pans as close as possible to the centre of the oven while also offsetting some slightly to allow for good air circulation around the oven and even cooking.
Ideally, you’ll avoid this by planning in advance and cooking in batches, but keep this in mind if you find yourself cooking several all at once.
Rotate During Baking
Even if you have the best oven in the world and are only baking one cake or using one tray at a time, you should still rotate your baking trays or cake pans to ensure a consistent and even bake. This doesn’t mean you should be interfering with the baking process every 10 minutes. Do it after at least half the cooking time has elapsed so you can be sure the cakes aren’t going to collapse and be ruined.
If you’re using more than one rack or shelf in the oven, swap them around while remembering the tips from the last point.
These four top tips will make it easy for you to get closer to baking the perfect cakes at home. Be sure to follow them for great tasting and beautifully textured cakes every time.