Baking is a delicate art and things can easily turn into a disaster if things are not done properly.
We put together this list of 6 tips to help improve your baking experience and the quality of your baked goods.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but mistakes are often made in this regard. The difference between the success and failure of a recipe often lies in correct and accurate measurement.
Flour is the most common mismeasured ingredient. When measuring flour, do not scoop the flour out of the container/bag with your measuring cup. Instead, use a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup.
After you’ve spooned the flour into the measuring cup, use the back of a knife to level off the top of the measuring cup.
Understanding the correct measuring technique for every single ingredient guarantees better baking results.
Don’t Over-mix or Don’t Under-mix
Whether you’re mixing the batter with an electric mixer or by hand, make sure you mix the cake batter just until the ingredients are combined, not before and not after. Over-mixing batter, whether in preparation for cakes, cupcakes or loaves of bread tend to lead to your baked goods having a tough texture, because you’d be deflating all the air and over-developing the gluten.
Likewise, don’t under-mix. You don’t want one side a to be little too sweet and another not sweet at all. So be sure to mix until your batter is just right.
Use Parchment Paper Rounds
No matter what size or type of cake pan you use, ensure that it’s adequately prepared for use. Using parchment paper around the pan will greatly improve the quality of your baking. Try this technique below:
- Trace the bottom of the cake pan on a large piece of parchment paper.
- Cut out the parchment circle(s).
- Lightly grease the cake pans with butter or nonstick spray.
- Place the parchment round inside, then grease the parchment round too. Make sure to grease both the pan and the parchment. This will make sure your cake does not stick to the pan.
That’s how you make mess-free baked goods.
Learn Your Oven Etiquettes
Don’t open the oven too many times while baking. Opening the oven lets in cool air and the drastic temperature change causes your baking to deflate, crack or lose its shape. Instead, follow the baking time in whatever recipe you’re using and check only once or twice for doneness.
One tool that comes in very handy is an oven thermometer. If your oven is an older model, the temperature displayed is most likely not accurate. That means, if you set your oven to 350°F, for example, it might not be 350°F inside. An inaccurate oven can ruin your baked goods so you should consider purchasing an oven thermometer. This tool is fairly inexpensive and easy to use. Simply place it in your oven so you always know the actual temperature.
Test Doneness Without Opening Oven Too Often
One way to test that your baking is ready is by sticking a toothpick in the centre of the cake and checking to see if it comes out clean. If you don’t need to waste time fumbling around with a toothpick, you may want to try the bounce backtest.
The bounce backtest does not require any poking and thereby eliminates any chance of disfiguring your cake. To perform this test, you may remove the cake from the oven or leave it in if you please. Then you gently press down on the cake. If the cake bounces back completely, it’s ready, but if your finger leaves a dent in the cake, it needs some more time.
This little trick can be used on bread, muffins and cupcakes as well
Allow to Cool Completely in Pan
This sounds like a no-brainer, but we’re often too much in a rush to wait for baking to cool. You should note however that assembling and/or decorating cakes before they’re completely cool could lead to disastrous consequences. The flavour would most likely have not settled and your frosting will melt from the heat.
If you’re in a major rush, you can cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes. Then remove it from the pan and place it on a baking sheet inside the freezer for about 45 more minutes. Depending on the size of the cake, it could take about an hour or more to completely cool down. You can do the same for cupcakes, quick loaves of bread, muffins and more.
The most important tip, however, is to ensure that all your tools and instruments are thoroughly cleaned before use and that your baked products are properly stored if not consumed immediately. Stay safe and stay healthy.