Friday, 7 September 2012

6 Baking Tips for Flawless Cakes

It's so funny how long someone can bake, there are still several tips that you don't know about.

What's even funnier is after you read below, they really are no-brainers.  But... if you are a beginner baker like me, this article is perfect for you!

So here are 6 tips that will help you when baking cakes, cupcakes, muffins etc.

TIP #1:  Measure Flour Properly

Never scoop flour out directly from the bag.  It will become compacted and you will have more flour than you need for the recipe.
** I am so guilty of this.**
WHAT TO DO:  
Spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, then sweep off the excess with a knife just like you see in the picture below.

TIP #2:  Position the Pans as Close to the Center of the Oven as Possible

 This allows for even air circulation.
** For me this is easy to do if I am only baking one pan.  But what about during party/holiday season?  Placing them side-by-side would work better**

WHAT TO DO:  
Make sure that they are not touching each other or the oven walls, and that it is not too close to the direct heat of the oven -- this could burn the cake.

TIP #3:  Avoid Using Cold Eggs and Butter

If the eggs are cold then the mixture won't emulsify properly.
** I am even more guilty of this!!!  Literally thinking every time that a recipe calls for room temperature eggs, "Ya... OK."**

WHAT TO DO:
If you are short on time, then cut the butter up and heat in microwave in 5-second intervals.  With the eggs, place them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes.

TIP #4:  Cool Cakes Upside Down

This will flatten out the tops of the cakes, creating easy-to-stack disks for layer cakes.
** This I do all the time as well as us a knife to make it super even.  Go to:  http://www.bakersroyale.com/cakes/baking-basics-the-easy-way-to-cut-even-cake-layers/ for more tips on even cake layers.**

WHAT TO DO:
Simply turn over the cake, upside down on a cooling rack.  If the cakes cool and they are still too rounded, slice it off with a serrated knife.

TIP #5:  Use a Pastry Brush to Butter the Pans

You will get way better coverage this way.
** I have never used this technique.  What I do is put a glop of butter on a clean napkin or Ziploc bag and spread it that way.  It's super fast, easy, and it's no mess or clean-up.**
WHAT TO DO:
Wipe the brush over a tablespoon of very soft butter, then onto the pan or paper.

TIP #6:  Rotate the Pans During Baking 

This ensures even baking.
** I promise I promise I will do this from now on, Lol!  I haven't cared in the last two years because the oven in our rental house STINKS!  That will all change as soon as we move back home.**
WHAT TO DO:
Wait till the cake is set -- about 2/3 of the way through the baking time to prevent collapse.
If you are using more than one rack, this is also the time to swap the pans.
Go to RealSimple.com for more excellent tips.

for more tips on oven rack position.



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