Bake your cake and eat it too! Don’t be intimidated to bake a birthday, anniversary or that I-deserve-a-treat cake. Take out your spatula, throw on your apron and use these foolproof tips to ace your best bake yet.
1. Prep your pans properly
The number one rule of baking has nothing to do with the cake batter. Always grease your pans before spooning in your batter to make sure your cake does not crumble when unmolding it. Although it’s an annoying step, it beats finding chunks of crumb sticking to the bottom of your pan. A pro tip is to use a pastry brush (or your fingers) and butter to coat the inside of the pan. Swipe the brush over soft butter to coat the insides, then dust the pan lightly with flour. Plus, the brush-butter method makes greasing parchment paper a breeze. After baking, your beautiful bake will slide out of the pan – mess-free!
2. All your ingredients should be room temperature
Does it really matter if your eggs are cold, and your butter is solid? Yes, it does! Bring your fridge ingredients to room temperature if the recipe calls for it. Not only will it give your cake the lightness you desire, but it will give your batter an even texture. If you’re in a hurry, grate your butter to warm it up faster, or heat it in the microwave in 5-second intervals. What about eggs? Fill a bowl with warm water and leave them submerged for up to 15 minutes.
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Struggling to decipher fancy cooking and baking terms? Learn about the jargon to improve your cooking experience.
3. Don’t overmix the batter
Overmixing can be the ultimate baking offence. It’s possible to make this mistake at multiple stages of the baking process. If you overmix your cake batter, you run the risk of incorporating too much air, resulting in (gasp) a dry cake. To avoid this, fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients only until traces of flour disappear.
@how.to.cake.it Drop the mixer and put your hands where we can seem them! 👮♀️✋ We’re here to put a stop to tough and dried out cakes. The culprit? Over mixing! Over-mixing develops gluten in the batter (up until this point gluten could do no wrong in our eyes), which results in those dense, dried crumbs we’re trying to avoid when baking! The key to mixing batter is to mix until “just combined”, meaning as soon as you can’t see the ingredient that you just added. 🕵️♀️ 2 telltale signs your batter is over-mixed: 👉Cake batter is “gloopy” (AKA thick and dense instead of light and airy) 👉Hard to spread in the pan. (Batter doesn’t naturally fall when poured into the pan and is resistant when spreading with a spatula.) All clear? Carry on! #cakemaking #cakemixhack #caketips #cake #cakesoftiktok ♬ Dandelions – The Young Ebenezers
4. Check that the centre of the cake is baked through
When you finally hear the timer go off (after your family has been asking if the cake is ready for the past 40 minutes), don’t switch off the oven just yet. First, do the ‘touch test’ to see if your cake is cooked in the middle. Lightly press on the top of the cake in the centre. If it springs back, then you know it’s ready. Or insert a toothpick (or paring knife) into the middle, and if it comes out gummy, it needs more time in the oven.
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Impress your friends with this delicious rooibos cake with whipped coconut cream.