Whether it’s for a birthday party, get-together with friends, or just a Sunday dinner at home with your special someone, nothing beats a perfectly layered cake for dessert. Apparently, baking a cake is not difficult. The challenge is how to make it as perfect as possible. You’re in the right page. Here are 10 cake baking tips you should know to make sure you serve the best cake possible:
10 Cake Baking Tips for the Perfect Cake
Get Your Essential Baking Tools Ready
Knowing how to bake a cake is just one-half of the job. The other half calls for having the right tools and knowing how to use them properly.
The truth is you don’t need fancy, expensive baking tools to make the perfect bake. Here’s what you really need:
- Hand or stand mixer
- Cake pans, which could range from round, tube, Bundt, or loaf
- Silicon or rubber spatula
- Metal spatula for frosting
- Cake tester, although toothpicks will do
- Wire cooling racks
- Measuring tools
- Paring knife to remove the cake from the pan
Now that you have your tools ready, you can start with the other half of the process, which you will learn in the next sections.
Read and Follow Instructions Carefully
It sounds easy, but baking a cake is actually a chemistry experiment. Ingredients are mixed in specific order to produce specific reactions and effects. This is why it is important to pay attention to the instructions since different types of cakes call for different reactions.
Before you start with the process, take time to read through the recipe. Follow the order and method accordingly and this will ensure success and a perfect cake too.
Know the Right Temperature for Your Ingredients
Since baking a cake is an experiment, you need to make sure that your ingredients’ consistency and temperature are according to the requirements. This is because the temperature of your ingredients can either improve or destroy the texture of your cake.
Cold eggs are a big no-no since they won’t emulsify the mixture properly. Most recipes call for softened butter to keep the cake flat or dense, so make sure you take it out 45 minutes before you start baking.
Don’t Forget the Pans
You might think they’re just pans, but the truth is, they contribute so much in the success of your cake. This means if the recipe calls for two 8-inch pans, don’t use 9-inch ones since that’s what you have.
You might ask why.
Recipes specify pan sizes since cake increases in volume by as much as 100 percent during baking. This means if your pans are small, it could overflow and ruin the shape of your cake.
Pan’s color also matters. If you are using dark non-stick or glass pan, reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees and stick to the recommended temperature if you are using silver aluminum pans.
Measure Ingredients Properly
This is the difference between baking and cooking: accuracy. Exact measurements are required if you want to make a perfect cake.
Therefore, get your measuring tools ready and follow the measurements accordingly. Don’t go less or more to keep your cake perfect. Too much baking powder may cause the cake not to rise while more flour could make the cake dry. The key is to spoon, not scoop, then sweep the excess back.
Preheating is a Must
Most cake recipes will have this in the first line of instruction: “preheat the oven.” There is a reason why.
If you put the cake in an oven that is not hot enough, it could affect the way it rises. Therefore, preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes as you work on your recipe.
If you are ready to bake, here are some reminders:
- Position the pans close to the center of the oven.
- Rotate the pans during baking to make sure the batter is cooked evenly.
- Avoid opening the oven door too often.
There are two types of ingredients: dry and wet. Before you place them in your oven, folding them together is a must.
Here’s the thing: it’s not as simple as mixing them together. The best way is to fold, not stir. To do this, use a silicone spatula and drag it as if an oar is moving through water. Mix the ingredients evenly by turning the bowl regularly. Don’t over-mix too, since this could lead to tough cakes.
Let It Cool
This step is essential and should never be taken for granted. Make sure you give it at least 20 minutes to cool down. Place the cake pan upside down in the wine rack and once it is cooled, shake the pan gently to release the cake.
It is important to keep the cake cool before removing it from the pan since gravity plays a crucial role in maintaining the cake’s volume.
This can be tricky and messy. When making layers, make sure to use a serrated knife and run it lightly around the perimeter of the cake. Cut the cake according to your desired number of layers with gentle sawing motion.
Don’t forget to place the thicker layer at the bottom in case the layers didn’t come out even.
Frosting Like a Pro
Now that your cake is cool enough and you’re done cutting it into layers, it’s time for finishing touches, aka the frosting.
Here’s how to do it like a pro:
- Place on layer of cake then add a dollop of frosting in the center.
- Use an offset spatula then spread the cake evenly.
- Add the next layer then place another dollop of frosting in the center and spread. Coat the sides thinly as well.
- Do the same for the next layers, depending on how much layers you intend to have.
- Freeze the cake for 15 minutes to keep the loose crumbs in place.
- Frost the whole cake starting on the center then work your way down to the sides.
With these 10 cake baking tips in mind, are you ready to bake a cake? You can do it.
Photo by James E. Petts