So, I love to cook. Almost as much as I love to eat. If you’re reading this, I’m hoping that you love one of those things just as much as I do.
I’m going to be sharing quite a few recipes with you, and I want to cover the basics before we get started. That way, no matter how much experience you have, you’ll be able to make delicious cakes everytime. If you already are a pro baker, let me know in the comments below, what tips and tricks do you use for baking? I want to learn from you guys! But if that’s not you, just keep reading.
So before we get into these 8 tips, I must tell you that I am not a trained chef, or pastry chef. However, I have baked quite a few cakes in my day, and not to toot my own horn, but my cakes are good. Really good. So without further ado these are the tips that always work for me. Let’s begin.
1. Sift the dry ingredients
When you’re baking, all the the ingredients can be classified as wet or dry. The wet ingredients are your eggs, oil, butter etc. Anything that’s, well, wet. The dry ingredients are your flour, baking soda, salt, etc. The dry ingredients are the only ones that get sifted. You always want to do this, like I’ve shown below. Measure first, and then sift, unless the recipe tells you otherwise.
2. Bake with a pan of water
I got this from an older relative of mine. One who used to make amazing cakes. I don’t know the science behind it, but it makes sense when you think about it. The water in the pan will turn to steam, so instead of your cake cooking with dry air, the moisture is being infused into it. I’ll have to do a comparison between using water, and not, one day. But for now, I use this way, and I like it.
3. Check your cake about 8 minutes before the recipe suggests
Ovens vary, elevations vary, almost everything varies. So err on the side of caution. I’d say about 65% of the time when I check my cake 8 minutes before the recipe says, it’s done. Also, when you take the cake out, with that hot pan, it’s still cooking. The last thing you want is a dry cake. No cake crackers here!
4. Make sure your cold ingredients are room temperature
This is your eggs, and your butter. Let them come to room temperature before combining with other ingredients, unless the recipe tells you otherwise.
5. Cream butter and sugar until they become foam like
Quite often, a recipe will start off by having you cream butter and sugar. This is the one time, more mixing is better. I like to combine my butter and sugar until they are almost cloud like. (see picture below)
6. Always add your eggs last
You really don’t want to overmix your eggs, if you want your cake to be nice and fluffy give your eggs a break (see what I did there?).
7. Don’t overmix
This goes back to what I said above. Once all of your ingredients are combined (including the eggs), mix only until combined. Less really is more here.
8. If using cake mix, don’t add water
Let me clarify. Nothing bad is going to happen if you add water to a cake mix, but your cake will take on a whole new life if you use something else. Buttermilk is a good sub, milk, or even a juice if you’re using a flavored cake. Keep in mind, normally very little water is required (1/4 cup), so that small kick is all you need to liven things up a bit.
And guys, that’s it. These are the tips that can turn a cake from ‘blah’ to ‘say whaaa’ 🙂 But seriously, I think this is all you need to get started, now you have to tools you need to get in there and bake some great cakes. Are there any tips you use that I missed? Any other questions you have? Let me know below.
As always, make life sweet, and learn all that you can!
P.S. If you would be interested in a beginners baking, or cooking series, let me know!