We’ve compiled baking tips and Answers to your common baking questions. Learn how to bake cakes, cupcakes, and muffins and be perfect every time. Create something special that your family will love by learning a few tips and tricks. We’ll talk about measuring, tools, ingredients, and shortcuts that will make baking easier and more fun.
- Pour batter into baking tins the “no-mess” way by pouring batter into a large re-sealable plastic bag and snip off one corner to squeeze the batter into the tin. It’s quick and easy.
- For mixing batter for muffins, use a wire whisk instead of an electric mixer for stirring to prevent over mixing.
- Make batter ahead of time and freeze in paper muffin cups. When you are ready for a treat, take them right from the freezer and bake adding 10 minutes to cook time.
- Another time saver is to mix the dry ingredients together the night before and store in a plastic bag. Premeasure the other ingredients. The next day, stir the batter together and bake.
- Always preheat the oven about 15 minutes before baking for best results.
- When beating egg whites, take care that the bowl is free from any oil residue or yolks. Otherwise, the whites will not reach full volume.
- Invest in an oven thermometer. Accuracy in baking temperature is very important, especially when baking cheesecakes as they crack easily at oven temperatures that are too high.
- If you are using a glass pan, reduce baking temperature by 20 degrees.
- Start with all ingredients at room temperature. If you are in a hurry, use the “soften” option on your microwave to get butter to room temperature quicker.
- Cool cakes completely before frosting. Let cakes cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Seal crumbs by adding a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Then apply a thick layer of frosting.
- Rotate pans halfway through baking (not sooner) for more even baking.
- When baking a chocolate cake, use cocoa powder instead of flour to dust the cake pans (after buttering). This way, you won’t see traces of flour on the cake after baking.
- When a recipe calls for parchment paper lined pans, butter the pan, add the parchment paper, and butter the paper. Then sprinkle with flour and tap our the excess flour.
- To level a cake before icing, us a serrated knife while slowly rotating the cake (preferably with a turntable).
- Test a cake for doneness using a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done and should be removed from the oven.
Cake Baking Tips and FAQS
How do I check the size of my pan?
Measure from the inside edge to the other inside edge for proper dimensions. A pan that is larger than what the recipe calls for will yield a flat, over baked cake.
Can a cake be frozen and if so, how long?
Yes, an unfrosted cake can be frozen for 2-3 months. Simply wrap in plastic wrap or in a resealable plastic freezer bag.
Are cakes made from scratch really better?
Yes, fresh ingredients will deliver a superior flavor and tender texture.
Is it really important to measure ingredients accurately?
The success of you cake baking depends a great deal on accurate measuring of all ingredients. Follow the recipe exactly as it is written. If the ratio of ingredients is changed even slightly, your cake can fall or crack.
I don’t really like icing. Is there another way to decorate a cake?
Lay a pretty stencil or paper doilie on top of the cake and sprinkle powdered sugar over it for a pretty design. This works especially well on a chocolate or spice cake.
What is the best way to remove a cake from the pan?
A cake should be cooled about 10 minutes before removing from the pan, but not much longer. Otherwise, it may be more difficult to remove.
How to Freeze a Cake
After every get-together or party, there always seems to be so much food left over, especially in the cake department. One of our best baking tips for this issue is don’t throw out those cake slices or halves. Freeze them instead. This even works great when baking cakes and making extra just to have on hand for impromptu parties or dinners.
The cake should be wrapped with a moisture proof paper. Types of these are plastic wrap along with a bottom layer of aluminum foil. Or, use plastic airtight, moisture proof baggies or a tin made of metal that has a tight seal around it.
The types of cakes to be frozen are also important because some are not as freezer friendly as others. Frosted cakes that do not have eggs, heavy cream or creamed cheese in the ingredients are fine to be frozen, while frosted cakes with butter creams will last about 2 months in the freezer. Frosting that contain candy should only be frozen for about 1 month and cakes that are not iced or separate in layers will last much longer if wrapped and stored properly.
Specialty cakes such as wedding, anniversary or holiday cakes can be frozen, as long as the frosting consists of confectioner’s sugar. These delightful treats can be kept in your freezer for several months. Many times a bride will keep the cake frozen till her 1st wedding anniversary, and then take it out of freezer and thaw for that special 1st anniversary celebration.
Cakes that are made with cream fillings are not advisable to freeze, they do not keep well.
You can even make up cake batter ahead of time and freeze until needed. This is a great baking tip for those occasions when someone drops in unexpectedly, or you have to quickly plan an impromptu party. Use a container that is completely air tight to place the batter or a tin made of metal to store it in for best results.
Thawing is simple. For iced cake place in the refrigerator, simply remove and unwrap. For cakes that are not iced, place the cake on a rack in your kitchen for approximately 1 ½ hours at room temperature. Freezing a cake is easy and helps make life a little easier when planning a party. This is one of our favorite baking tips.
History of Cake Baking
Do you know that the first cakes were baked by the Egyptians of Ancient Egypt? The Greeks and Romans followed suit shortly thereafter. These first baked cakes were more like breads than cakes; they were made with ingredients such as nuts, dried fruits, honey, butter and currants to give them a sweeter taste when bitten into.
Cakes within Britain’s fourteenth centuries were consumed and baked mostly for wealthier people of that era. Immensely structured and decorated cakes were served frequently at the banquets of the townspeople’s wealthiest. Baking cakes of this nature included the use of butter, flour spices, cream, honey, currants and eggs to give it a more dessert like taste. They were all well prepared by hand and made into circular round shapes.
Hoops for cake baking were introduced into use within the seventeenth century and crafted from either tin or wood to ensure a perfect roundness to the cakes.
Cakes have been used within rituals and styles of worship throughout the ages as well all over the world. The Russians baked thin cakes called the Blini for tribute to their Gods, whereas the Celts would roll tasty cakes downhill on springs first sun in appreciation to the sun for reappearing.
Around the late nineteenth century, cake baking took on a few new tastes and looks as well as an improved version of powder for baking was invented using soda, an acid and bicarbonate, which helped baking cakes and breads involve less work as this product heightened rising times and cut down on cooking times.
The 1950’s and 1960’s were a time when cakes were being baked everyday for no special reason. Housewives of these eras would bake the most delicious and beautifully frosted cakes you have ever seen, this was a virtue every woman had instilled with growing up in mother’s or grandmother’s kitchens. Baking could be seen every night in every home across America.