10 Biggest Cake Mistakes to Avoid
Baking a cake in your own home is one of life’s biggest pleasures, nonetheless if you do not take the extra time and care, then it could quickly go wrong. Unfortunately, you will most likely not notice that you have made a mistake until your cake is taken out of the oven. You can try a few things to fix the problem like cutting up a fallen cake and turning it into bars or spreading on extra frosting to try to hide the flaws. However, there really are not many ways you have to choose from to fix an error which you have made. Your aim is probably to try to understand what went wrong, so that you do not find yourself doing the same thing again. Here are the 10 biggest cake mistakes to avoid.
Do Not Bake in a Dry Cake Tray
Very often, the effort of greasing a cake tray can feel wearisome and pointless, particularly if you will be baking your cake in a non-stick pan. However, if you try to skip the step of greasing your pan you will be doing so at the risk of making a huge mistake with the bake of your cake. A cake will stick to the sides and particularly the corners of your cake tray without any grease being used. One and all recognize that bronzed outer layer of a cake is a wonderful thing, so you certainly do not wish to burn it.
So, to avoid the mistake of burning your cake, run over the side of your pan with butter before putting it in the oven to bake. Once you have lightly greased the bottom of your tin with butter, then add a layer of greaseproof paper to the base of your tin making sure that it precisely fits the bottom of the pan. You have to also line the sides of your cake tray if you are making light and airy sponges. Where your sponge cakes always have a crunchy outer layer, then this can be a sign that you are actually greasing your cake tins much too generously and are cooking the outside at a different speed to the rest of the cake.
Not Measuring Out Your Ingredients Before You Start
Being busy is a common thing in a family home so you might be tempted to rush in and just get on with baking your cake. You are busy looking through the cupboards for the flour and microwaving this, that and the other, while your cake batter is sitting there waiting for you to do something with it. Baking a cake can be a stressful activity, and so mistakes are easy to make.
So, what you really want to do is get very organized before you start. You should always measure out both dry and wet ingredients prior to adding anything to a mixing bowl. Stick to the recipes exactly and use a good pair of kitchen scales. Go to the trouble of cracking your eggs into a different bowl to your cake mix, so you will not be getting shells ruining your cake mix. When you have the whole lot ready to go pop it in the oven for a more organized bake.
Using the Wrong Sized Baking Tray
There are loads of types of cake trays to select from and they all come in different shapes and sizes. Most are determined by the inch and even using a 7-inch pan as a replacement for an 8-inch one will completely change the way your cake will bake. It needs some thought and you should not just be using any sized tin that you can lay your hands on. The size and style of the tray will affect all kinds of things like the cooking time of the cake and the thickness of the sponge.
If your tin is too small then your cake mix may burn or overflow from the pan, despite the fact that it is still raw inside. On the other hand, select a pan that is too big, and it may just turn out to be a thin, useless, dry, flat cake. Try to always use the exact sized baking tin as stated in your recipe. Before you start, read through your recipe prudently and ensure that you have the appropriate tin before you jump into baking your cake. Where you do not recognize a tin’s size, use a measure to work it out by measuring across the top of the pan.
Do Not Use Cold Ingredients to Make Cakes
It is often the case that a cake recipe requires you to use a multitude of ingredients, some that come from the fridge, some that come from kitchen cupboard. Different types of ingredients actually perform to different degrees at different temperatures. For example, room-temperature eggs naturally provide cake mixes with much more volume than cold eggs. If your butter is too cold it will never fluff up to the extent that you need when you come to mix it in with your sugar. As everyone knows, you need warm water to activate yeast, so temperature really does affect your bake.
Ingredients that are too cold will never cream appropriately and will even be more likely to make a cake mix curdle. You will then end up with a coarse-textured, slimy cake which will never rise properly for you. If you stay organised and plan ahead it will mean that you are able to get everything to room temperature by leaving them for a couple of hours prior to baking. If time is not on your side, then you may be able to get away with putting eggs in a bowl of warm water to get them to room temperature. You can place your butter in the microwave on the defrost setting to soften it up.
Scooping Your Flour Straight From the Bag
Flour is usually your key ingredient when you are baking. It can feel tempting to put a cup into a bag of flour and scoop out what you feel that you need but this technique is so inaccurate. It tends to pack down the flour in the cup making your measurement inexact and this will give you a very heavy cake.
When you bake regularly, you really ought to buy a digital scale. If you weigh your ingredients accurately, you ought to get the perfect cake mix. Although, if all you have is a cup, there are some simple ways to measure flour with cups. When measuring your flour, as it sits in the bag fluff it up, then take out bits at a time with a small spoon. Always use a knife to level off the flour in the cup so that it is smooth.
Beating Cake Batter Incorrectly
How you whip your batter mix really does make a difference to the resulting cake. Unwarranted beating of the mix will ultimately harden the cake, but then again if you under mix the batter then this may cause your cake to crumble.
They majority of cake recipes will require wet and dry ingredients to be beaten together as you cream the fat, so it is useful to pay attention on how to do this right. This can be a tedious technique, but it helps stop gluten from starting to show, which is why cakes become hard. As soon as all the ingredients are put into a suitably sized bowl, then continue to mix until they become lightly combined.
Baking in the Wrong Place
You may be under the impression that all racks are fashioned equally and that you can simply place your cake into your oven without needing to put though into it, but this is not the case. If you bake your cake on the wrong rack, then more often than not, this will lead to an unevenly cooked cake. When cakes do not rise or are covered in holes, this is because the cake mixture was not placed into the oven as soon as it should have been, which is a mistake that occurs often if you do not preheat your oven.
As soon as the raising agents inside a cake mix are activated, they will begin to bubble so the heat of the oven needs to be just right to make the most of this chemical reaction. These wonderful air bubbles add life to your cake mixture. Ensure your cake tin is organized, your oven has been preheated and that you have all ingredients ready to go.
You will be wanting the best bake, so you have to place your cake tin on the rack which puts it into the center of your oven. By doing this you should assist your mix to cook evenly throughout and avert any burning. Sometimes you may require the use of more than one rack, so when this is the case it is a great idea to alternate the trays halfway through your bake. This gives the bottom cake a well-rounded chance. Attempt likewise to rotate the tins halfway through baking putting them back to front.
Baking to Exact Times
Although following the recipe exactly is always recommended, baking can be a bit of a science. If you think that if you have set your timer, when it goes off you will have a perfect cake then that might not be the case. Most baking times will be influenced by other things are so are usually guidelines only. Things such as the quality of your ingredients, air temperature, age of oven, oven temperature and more will all influence the length of time it takes to cook your cake. Your cake may be done at a different time than the recipe recommends.
If you are opening your oven door too early, then you also may have a cake with a sunken centre. It is best to wait right to the end before opening the oven. Constant checking makes your oven lose all of the heat that it has built up and so this lengthens its cooking time. Just wait a further 5 minutes more. Equally, if your cake appears to be browning too rapidly while staying raw at the centre, then cover your pan with foil to slow down the cooking time.
Using a toothpick, check your cake to see if it is done five minutes earlier than the recipe’s baking time advises. Simply poke a tiny hole in the middle of your cake with a toothpick to see if it comes out completely clean.
Cutting Into a Still Warm Cake
A bake straight out of the oven smells amazing, and looks delicious so it can be almost intolerable to fight the urge to just dig in. This is one of the biggest cake mistakes to avoid, allow your bake cool down entirely. This is because your cake will still be baking after coming out of the oven. The final texture and size of your cake will be best if you allow it to cool.
Cool down your cakes on a specially designated wire rack, which permits air to circulate all around the cake, avoiding any moisture from making your cake base soggy.
Substituting Extra Ingredients
If you are a seasoned baker that is used adding to recipes then that can be fun, but if you are a beginner do not try to substitute ingredients. For instance, butter and oil are both fats, nevertheless they work in different ways so you must not substitute them for one another. The sort of sugar you pick also makes a difference. If your recipe stipulates you use caster sugar, but you use granulated instead, this give you a crunchy, denser cake.
Overall the biggest cake mistakes to avoid are using the wrong techniques or following the recipe incorrectly. If you attempt to use different quantities of a particular ingredient than stated in the recipe, then this may cause you a problem with your bake. Overall, have fun with practicing how to bake a wonderful cake.
- How to make cake: top 10 problems fixed – BBC Food