When it comes to baking cakes, there’s nothing easier than buying a boxed cake mix. But, there’s something special about making a homemade cake for a birthday, anniversary, or other momentous occasions. Yet, the idea of baking a cake can seem like a challenge. But, it doesn’t have to be. With a bit of preparation, planning, and the right kind of ingredients and baking supplies, you can be an ace of cakes without a low of know-how or effort. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of our best tips for baking success and get you started on your cake baking adventures.
From the moment you decide to bake a cake, how you plan, prepare, and present your cake can affect the overall results. And, cake baking can seem like a daunting task. But, with some basic tips, you can achieve baking perfection and wow your family and friends. Here are a few of our best tips for baking success.
When it comes to cake baking, the most important tip is to plan ahead. From deciding what cake recipe to make to purchasing and preparing your ingredients, planning ahead goes a long way when tackling a baking project. One good strategy for planning ahead is to make a checklist of things you need to do and prepare for before you start baking your cake.
Another important consideration when baking cakes is what recipe to make. If you’re not an experienced cake baker, look for recipes that are classic, simple, and easy-to-follow. If you’re a bit more experienced, you can go for more challenging recipes. The occasion that you’re baking for will also help you decide what cake recipe to use. A special occasion, for example, might not be the best time to experiment with a new recipe or one that requires more technical skills.
Whatever cake you decide to bake will also affect the various baking elements (like pans and ingredients) that you need and any other specific baking considerations you need to think about too.
Not sure where to start when looking for cake recipes? You’ll find lots of options online from websites like King Arthur Flour.
Just like choosing the right cake recipe, using the right kind of pan can make or break your baking success. The right kind of cake pan can help avoid baking disasters and ensures that your cake is properly cooked. If you’re baking a classic round cake, choose a basic metal cake pan for the best results. Of course, there are lots of other varieties of cake pan to choose from like bundt pans, angel food cake pans, and even sheet cake pans. Always double-check your recipe’s recommended cake pan if you’re not sure what pan you should use.
Once you’ve chosen the right pan for your cake, you still need to make sure your pan is properly prepped for the baking process. Cake pans can be lined with parchment paper or buttered or greased to avoid your cake from sticking to the pan once it’s been baked. Many recipes will also call for a bit of flour to be placed in the pan after it is buttered or greased too. No matter which method you choose, make sure you don’t skip this step. Many cakes have been easily ruined by not properly prepping your cake pan.
Cake flour. All-purpose flour. Pastry flour. There are countless different types of flours available for bakers to use -- each with their own unique benefits and limitations. But, how do you know which one to use when baking your cake? All-purpose flour tends to be an all-around good flour for most baking occasions, including cakes. And, cake flour is usually your best bet, because it helps make cakes light and moist. Which flour you use for a specific recipe really depends on the recipe itself. Always pay attention to the type of flour the recipe calls for. While you can sometimes substitute flours, your results may not be ideal, and it could cause a less than tasty result.
While it may seem like flours, baking powder, baking soda, and other shelf-stable ingredients can last a long time, they actually can lose their potency. And some ingredients, like flour, can go rancid. When in doubt, use fresh ingredients whenever possible and don’t keep certain baking ingredients longer than a year. You’ll also want to make sure you use fresh eggs, milk, and butter too.
One of the keys to baking success is to measure your ingredients with a scale. Measuring with a scale ensures that all of your measurements are precise and accurate -- something that’s much harder to do with measuring cups. If you have a recipe that is measured in weight, using a scale will also help reduce the headache of trying to convert the measurements too.
Temperature is a critical factor in baking. Have an oven that’s too hot or cold, and your cake will won’t bake evenly and runs the risk of being burnt or underdone. But, the temperature isn’t just for your oven. Make sure that you follow the proper temperature recommendations for your ingredients too. Eggs, butter, and milk are three ingredients, in particular, that should typically be at room temperature to achieve the ideal mix and avoid baking tragedies, like the grainy texture or uneven baking.
Before you get to icing and decorating, cool your cake completely. Using a wire rack or in the pan, it was baked, let your cake rest until it’s completely cool. Otherwise, your icing will spread or simply won’t stay on your cake.
No matter what cake recipe you decide to make, keeping it simple goes a long way. Whether this means choosing an easy to prepare a recipe or choosing a classic flavor, you can’t go wrong with simplicity. This also holds true for cake decorating. You don’t need to get fancy or elaborate to have a beautiful cake.
As you can see, baking cakes doesn’t have to be hard. Even the most novice of cake bakers can become cake bosses with a few strategies and plans to get them started. No matter what your baking skill level, taking the time to prep and prepare really goes a long way in making a delicious cake. And, cakes are the perfect way to make your special occasion even more special. Want to include a custom handwritten card to complement your homemade cake? Check out HeartSpace Cards for unique greeting cards that are the perfect accompaniment for your next special occasion.
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