It’s all about measuring when it comes to baking a cake. When prepping and mixing ingredients, precision is key to the success of the caking baking experience. Measuring is so critical that using the wrong amount of flour, for example, can cause the cake to fall flat, causing major frustration to the baker. First, you must measure the ingredient with the right tool. Liquids should be measured with a clear cup set on a flat, level surface and seen at eye level. For dry ingredients and solids such as flour or sugar, or shortening, use long handled metal or plastic cups.
Measuring Brown Sugar
When a recipe calls for “firmly packed” brown sugar, it should look compact. After it goes in the measuring cup, tap lightly with your fingertips so it is level with the top of the measuring cup. And, don’t be tempted to substitute with granulated brown sugar. This will have a different consistency.
Measuring Sifted Flour
Sifting incorporates air into flour which makes a fine textured cake. A tip to make it easier is to sift the flour onto a piece of parchment paper to avoid the messy process of pouring the dry ingredient from one bowl to another. Put a couple of drops of water on the counter and place the parchment over it to keep the parchment from sliding on the counter. Then sift the flour in a fine mesh strainer onto the parchment. Simply fold the parchment and let the flour slide into the mixing bowl.
Leveling a Measuring Cup
For an accurate measure, level a heaping cup of flour with a straightedge tool, such as an offset spatula. Don’t shake or tap the flour because this will cause it to become compressed and you will use too much flour.
Determining Mold Capacity
You may have certain cake molds that go unused because you do not know the capacity of the mold. In this case, simply fill the mold with water and then pour the water into a liquid measuring cup. Write the amount with a permanent marker on the bottom of the mold for easy reference.