With every recipe I publish and tip I share, my goal is to assist you to become a far better baker. As a home baker turned cookbook author and recipe publisher, I’ve made THOUSANDS of mistakes within the kitchen, especially when it involves making the right cake. Let me share the cake baking tips I’ve learned over the years.
This useful information will help guarantee your next cake is the perfect cake.
1. Follow the Recipe
This sounds obvious, right? Following the recipe is that the most vital cake baking tip you’ll ever hear/read. It’s also the foremost ignored. we frequently substitute ingredients in recipes supported by what we’ve. Subbing out eggs, reducing sugar, using liquid sweetener rather than dry, all-purpose rather than cake flour, bicarbonate of soda for powder, egg whites rather than whole eggs, etc. I don’t recommend doing this unless the recipe suggests alternatives. Don’t sabotage some time, effort, and money. I’m guilty of this, too! Sometimes I’m during a rush and just not listening or I’m making a substitution because I ran out of an ingredient. But ingredients are needed for a reason and, more often than not, a cake fail is because the recipe wasn’t properly followed. I always recommend following a recipe the primary time you are trying it, then making changes as you see the fit subsequent time.
Likewise, confirm you’re using the acceptable size pan. Unless otherwise noted, don’t substitute a 6-inch cake pan for a 9-inch cake pan or a 9-inch round pan for a 9-inch square pan. you’ll *usually* escape with swapping 8-inch round cake pans for 9-inch round cake pans (and vice versa). 8-inch cakes will take longer since they’ll likely be thicker.
But to stop dense cakes, sunken cakes, overflowing cakes, and flimsy cakes, use the right size pan.
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This tip could get a touch long so let me direct you to my entire post on the topic. “Room temperature” isn’t listed next to ingredients for fun. There are science and the bonafide reason behind it. If a recipe involves temperature ingredients, use temperature ingredients like eggs, soured cream, butter, and milk.
To paint you an image, let’s specialize in temperature butter especially. Most cake recipes begin with creaming butter and sugar together. Butter is capable of holding air and therefore the creaming process is when butter traps that air. While baking, that trapped air expands from the warmth and produces a fluffy cake. Not only this, temperature ingredients bond together easier and quicker since they’re warmer– thus reducing over-mixing. Simply put, cold ingredients don’t emulsify together. Period.
Room temperature butter is about 65°F (18°C), which could be colder than your kitchen. It’s cool to the touch, not warm. If your cakes are dense, you’re probably softening the butter an excessive amount. Allow the butter to take a seat out on the counter for about 1-2 hours before beginning your recipe. to check it, poke the butter together with your finger. Your finger should make an indent without sinking or sliding down into the butter. The butter shouldn’t be shiny or greasy. it’ll be cool to the touch, not warm. Sometimes our schedules don’t allow 1-2 hours for softening butter before beginning a cake recipe. Don’t take a shortcut and microwave the butter because it’ll not heat evenly. But guess what? I even have a foolproof trick for softening butter quickly.
3. Measure Properly
This tip also seems like a no brainer, but it’s where we most frequently make mistakes. The difference between a recipe success and a recipe failure could lie within 1 mis-measured tablespoon of sugar. Measuring ingredients properly is imperative.
Flour is that the commonest mis-measured ingredient. When measuring flour, use the “spoon & level” method. don’t scoop the flour out of the container/bag together with your cup. In some cases, scooping the flour could offer you 150% of the right measurement. Disaster ensues. Rather, employing a spoon, scoop the flour into the cup. don’t pack the flour down and don’t tap the measuring cup– both cause the flour to settle within the cup. After you’ve spooned the flour into the cup, use the rear of a knife to level the highest of the cup. Now you’ve got a spoon & leveled flour.
Baking isn’t very forgiving. Understanding the right measuring technique for a specific ingredient will guarantee better baking results. See my post about the way to properly measure baking ingredients for a deeper dive into proper measuring practices.
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4. Cake Flour
The more cake baking experience I even have, the more often I reach for cake flour rather than all-purpose flour. You see, cake flour may be a low protein flour that’s finely milled into a fragile consistency. This soft, tender texture directly translates into your baked cake. However, some recipes simply cannot withstand fine cake flour. cake, for instance, already has cocoa powder— which may be a VERY fine dry ingredient. In my experience, the mixture of cake flour and chocolate leads to a flimsy cake. Likewise, cake, carrot cake, hummingbird cake, and banana cake contain additional wet ingredients (the fruits or veggies), so cake flour usually isn’t ideal.
These days, I stick with cake flour when making a vanilla cake, cake, red velvet cake, and other cakes where a fluffy texture is favorable. I’ve been successful in substituting cake flour for all-purpose flour to make softer pineapple skillet cake and confetti cake. Make a 1:1 substitution with no other changes to the recipe.
I’m not being paid to type this, but Swans Down and Softasilk are my preferred cake flour brands. i exploit unbleached once I can find it, otherwise, I just persist with bleached. Both brands provide consistent quality results for an honest price. you’ll find cake flour within the baking aisle next to the all-purpose flour. If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this cake flour substitute.
5. Don’t Over-mix, Don’t Under-mix
Whether a recipe involves mixing the batter with an electrical mixer or just employing a whisk, confirm you’re mixing the cake batter together *just until* the ingredients are combined. The over-mixing batter, whether that’s for cakes, cupcakes, bread, muffins, etc, lends a tough-textured baked good because you’re deflating all the air and over-developing the gluten.