Nothing warms the soul like a thick, rich slice of freshly baked cake. Even if you've had problems baking in the past, there's no need to be intimidated by the process. Baking the perfect cake can be fun and simple if you follow these basic steps.
Start by reading the ingredient list and directions before you begin. It's important to have every ingredient you need ready to go. You don't want to be running to the grocery store during preparation. The final product can flop if a key ingredient is left out.
1. Prepare your cake pans.
Be sure to have the correct size or shape of the pan. Bundt cakes require bundt pans, while others can be baked in a variety of sizes. You can also refer to a cake pan size table.
Grease pans to avoid sticking. Use about a half of tablespoon of butter or vegetable shortening on a paper towel and rub the inside of the pan. Sprinkle about a tablespoon or two of flour on top. Flour the pans on the sides to help the cake adhere to the sides as it bakes. This will ensure that the top is flatter, which is important for layered cakes. Shake and dump out any excess flour and set the pans to the side
2. Have all ingredients at room temperature, unless the recipe directs otherwise. Key ingredients such as flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and water are typically stored at room temperature, while others such as butter and milk needs to be cold prior to using.
Double check the recipe concerning eggs, while many box mix cakes request cold, other recipes such as cheesecakes require eggs to be at room temperature. This is to avoid any curdling and affecting the cake texture.
Preheat the oven to the required temperature from the recipe
Measuring the Ingredients
1Measure ingredients as accurately as possible and add them in the order specified. Most cake recipes begin combining dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cocoa, etc.), then adding wet ingredients (eggs, oil, and milk). Be sure to take special prerequisites such as sifting, whisking or beating, and packing before adding to the main bowl.
Mixing the Ingredients
1. Mix the cake batter as specified on the recipe. Some recipes can be mixed with a stand or hand mixer. Be cautious as steps can instruct to fold in flour or other ingredients with a rubber spatula. While mixing, stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula or spoon to ensure that everything is mixed thoroughly.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Fill the pans 2/3 of the way full, as the cake will rise during baking. Gently tap the cake pan on the counter top to release any large air bubbles in the batter.
1. Place the pans on the center rack of the preheated oven. Do not allow pans to touch each other or the oven wall.
2. Close the oven door and immediately set a timer to the specified baking time. If there's a time range, use the median or middle number (bake it for 35 minutes for a range of 34 to 36 minutes or 53 minutes for a range of 50 to 55 minutes). Using the median will ensure that the cake won't under or over cook. Resist the urge to open the oven door during baking, as the heat will escape and may cause the cake to cook unevenly. If applicable, turn the oven light on and view through the oven window.
Check for cake doneness. Gently insert a toothpick or wooden skewer in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean or with a few small crumbs on it, the cake is done. If not, place it back in the oven for another 3-4 minutes. Keep testing for the same amount of time until you get the correct result.
1. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the pan edges to loosen the sides. Place the wire rack over the top of the pan, invert it, and tap it lightly to remove the cake.
Let it cool completely before decorating since the heat will melt frosting and icing. Frost and decorate as desired.
Knows How To
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