How do I cook the perfect cake? Check out our 2021 updated ultimate guide including 15 baking tips…
Baking has emerged as one of the most popular cooking methods across the world over the last few years. With TV shows and YouTube channels devoted to its craft, it is no longer viewed as old fashioned or a waste of time at home and some of the trendiest on the internet are devoted to that particular world.
Indeed, baking is now exciting. The pride you feel when you have been able to craft something as deliciously delicate as a cake can be absolutely immense and, like pretty much every meal, it tastes so much better knowing your blood, sweat and tears have gone into it.
Well, not like that, but you know what I mean…
Still, it can be a daunting task. Many people view baking as an overtly scientific process, thinking you need to read books upon books of food method but, honestly, you really don’t need to.
If you follow recipes exactly at the start of your journey and start to understand why you need certain things, coupled with some easy tips and tricks, you’ll be rivaling the best bakers in the world.
With that in mind, here are 15 baking tips for perfect cakes.
Table of Contents
1. Don’t Stray From The Recipe
Ok, so we’re not exactly trying to teach you rocket science here but SO many people (and I’m not joking) take their eyes off the recipe and try to go it alone.
Never, ever do that. Every part of the recipe is there for a reason and affects the balance of the cake, so don’t think you can swap between types of sugar or reduce the number of eggs involved.
If you do, the whole thing is likely to collapse. Take it seriously.
2. Make Sure You’re Using The Right Pan
Again, don’t think you can start using a 6-inch pan in a recipe for a 9-inch cake, and think you can drop a few ingredients in order to fit within its confines.
Your pan is your protection. If you treat it with respect, it’ll keep your cake in pristine condition and help you produce something absolutely mind-blowing.
I guess what we’re saying is, size really does matter.
3. Pre-heat The Oven
Ok, so we’ve all been in a rush before but, come on, why are you trying to bake if you’re in a rush?
Not pre-heating your oven can be a disaster. If it doesn’t get hot enough, the cake won’t rise to the desired effect and you’ll end up with some sad-looking desserts. Here’s another tip, try to use a conventional setting when cooking cakes too, as fan ovens can dry them out.
4. The Importance Of Room Temperature
Butter and eggs are delicate things to cook with so you need to coax them into playing ball, well unless you want curdled cakes for some strange reason.
Make sure you’re taking these out of the fridge as long before you starting baking as humanly possible. Honestly, it’ll make your life ten times easier and lead to much better results.
5. Pinpoint Accuracy
This sounds a lot like our first tip but that is for a reason.
You HAVE to be sure you’re using exactly the amount of flour, sugar, whatever the recipe calls for in order to get your desired end result. Invest a little in the perfect equipment and this is so easy. If you don’t, even the best baker in the world would struggle to make anything approaching appetizing.
Just think how nice your Instagram will be if you get it right time after time!
6. Cakes Need Air
Don’t we all, right?
When it comes to creaming your cake, use a large whisk or a good stand mixer in order to incorporate as much air into the butter and sugar as you can. This will make your cake much lighter and easier to enjoy while making sure it looks absolutely perfect once it’s out of the oven.
7. Use Cake Flour If Possible
Using cake flour will change your baking experience for the better. Lower in protein than the all-purpose stuff, it’s ideal for anything that doesn’t have wet ingredients (vegetables or fruit) and will give your cake a soft, tender bite to help you forget your problems…
8. Don’t Mess Around With Your Cake Mixture
Once the mixture is made, put it straight in your pre-heated oven.
By leaving it too long, you seriously risk the chances of an uneven rise, ruining the hard work you’ve put in until this point.
9. KEEP THAT OVEN DOOR SHUT !
Particularly when you first start baking, you’re going to be tempted to open the oven door. That is human nature my friends and the curiosity might get the better of you.
DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN.
By opening the door, you’re obviously letting cold air into the oven which can cause that cake you spent so long molding into something magic to collapse. As hard as it can be, you have to patient and wait until it’s set before peeking.
10. Choose The Correct Shelf
Generally, cakes are best suited to life on the middle shelf. Indeed, placing them there can help with even cooking, making sure everything develops at the same place.
There really is nothing worse than hot spots in cakes. Even if it looks nice, a cake cold in places will absolutely ruin your eating experience.
Always go in the middle.
11. Treat It Like A Steak
How do you know when a steak is cooked? By pressing against the meat and seeing it bounces back, judging how far it is along the process by the bounce-back it offers you.
So, it only makes sense we do something similar with cakes.
Obviously, these do get a lot hotter, so using a toothpick is the best way to go. If it comes out clean after piercing the top, it’s done.
12. Let It Cool
Like any feat of culinary genius, letting your dish cool before tucking in is absolutely essential. After all, you wouldn’t rush into a roast or a steak after spending time cooking them perfectly and a cake is absolutely no different.
You can speed this up by moving the pan it was cooked in until the fridge but DO NOT try and decorate your cake before it is completely cooled. That’s just a sure-fire to melt the frosting right away.
13. Cut Your Butter Up
To try and reduce the time it takes to allow butter to room temperature, cut it into smaller pieces so you can use it sooner.
14. Get To Know Your Oven
We all know ovens differ from house to house so it’s really important you get to know your oven as well as you can before attempting to bake. As we set out earlier, following the cooking time to the absolute letter is a key factor in baking to perfection and you simply cannot do that without knowing your oven and its individual quirks.
15. Let Fruity Cakes Sit Overnight
Basically, any cake with wet ingredients (looking at you, fruits and vegetables) needs to sit in the fridge overnight. While it might sound like a lot, this helps the flavors mold together and get to know each other, developing the taste for a much richer experience.
The taste is so much better.
Useful Products For Cooking Perfect Cakes
Hopefully, these tips get you to where you want to go and really help you on your journey towards mastering the art of baking.
It’s really important to keep all these things in mind which does seem rather daunting when you first start. Like anything though, it’ll seem like second nature after a few short attempts. Once you’re in that kind of routine, you’ll be thinking like a baker and these tips will roll off of your tongue.
Remember, do NOT open that oven whatever you do. If you take nothing else away from this article, make sure that that cardinal sin of baking is never committed on your watch.
Let us know if this was helpful for you by getting in touch!