Tips for Baking Cakes
Cake. Just the word makes me happy. I like very happy, which means I bake a lot of cakes, like the Old-Fashioned Chocolate Snacking Cake you see above.
Here are a few Tips for Baking Cakes of my choice tips for successful cake-baking!
Everything at room temperature.
That means the butter, eggs, milk—and everything. Creaming room temperature butter with sugar aerates it, giving your cake that very light texture. Adding cold milk or eggs will consolidate that creamed butter.
Cream butter and sugar thoroughly.
As in, mix the three for several minutes. The butter should very light in color and the mixture will be creamy.
Be careful substituting fats.
Some cakes call for butter or shortening. You can substitute one for the other, or use any combination, but don’t just directly substitute a liquid fat where a solid is called for.
Scrape the bowl.
As you mix cake batter, bits of flour or butter can “hide” on the bottom of the bowl. Occasionally, stopover the mixer and scrape the bowl with a silicone spatula.
Separate eggs when cold.
If your recipe calls for isolate eggs, do that before bringing them to room temperature. They separate simple when cold. Remember the post on separating eggs?
No matter the pan shape, grease, and flour the pans.
Grease one, then fit the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Place the paper in the full pan and grease the parchment. Add flour to the pan and tap until the bottom and sides are floured. Shake out excess. (Skip the parchment for Bundt cakes—that might be tricky.)
Is it weird that I love lining pans?
Grease pans with shortening.
If you’ve read The Help, you know that shortening can do just about anything. It’s complete for greasing pans. It’s not sticky and it works like a sweet charm.
Use a kitchen scale to divide the batter.
If making a layer cake, use the kitchen scale for even layers. (Please ignore my well-loved pans. Also, make this carrot cake.)
Smooth the tops with an offset spatula.
Smoothing the batter helps the cake to bake evenly. Although of course, a lop-sided cake still tastes great.
Check cakes early.
Set the timer for 8 minutes less than the recipe states. It’s very good to check early to avoid over baking. A cake that’s done will bounce back when very lightly pressed in the central.
Remove cakes from the pans to cool.
The cakes will continue to bake in the very hot pans. After removing from the oven, set the timer for 10 minutes. Invert the cake out of the pan and onto a wire rack to very cool completely.
Do you know what I’m craving right now? CAKE! Let’s all meet at The Merc for the very big slice. I bet Ree has some ready for us!