There’s nothing better than baking a cake from scratch. When it comes to baking the perfect cake, practice does make perfect. But even the most experienced bakers tend to make mistakes and if you’re baking a cake – for the first time or for the hundredth of times – ensure you avoid these 15 mistakes.
1. Picking The Wrong Pan
The most common mistake tends to be picking the wrong pan. One pan does not fit all and you need to ensure you understand what pan is required. You can find great tips for selecting the pan from this Chatelaine post.
2. Being Half-Hearted With Measurements
You can generally get away with eyeballing your ingredients when it comes to cooking, but baking often requires more precision. You shouldn’t just assume what your cups and spoons are, but carefully measure the ingredients as the recipes require.
3. Mixing Either Too Long Or Too Little
Mixing your batter is no easy feat. You need to ensure you properly mix all the ingredients, but that you don’t keep mixing it for too long. The right mixture can influence the consistency and even the taste. Keep an eye on the consistency and follow the specific mixing tips of the recipe.
4. Letting The Batter Sit For Too Long
While you shouldn’t rush cake baking, you also shouldn’t take too long when letting the batter sit. If you leave the rising agents out for too long, the batter will start deflating and you’ll end up with a flat cake.
5. Skipping The Greasing And Flouring
You might think you’re making a healthier choice or saving a bit of time, but greasing and flouring the pan can have a huge impact on the end product. It can help the cake bake appropriately and it makes cleaning up so much easier.
6. Not Sifting The Flour
If your recipe tells you to sift the flour, you better not cut corners. It might seem like a waste of time, but sifting reduces clumping and ensures the leavening is better incorporated into the batter.
7. Holding On To The Air Bubbles
Too many air bubbles in your cake batter can create holes and cracks in your cake. Ensure a smooth finish by tapping the pan on the counter a few times before putting it in the oven. It’ll get rid of the air bubbles and helps even the cake.
8. Using Ingredients That Aren’t The Right Temperature
Forgot to take the eggs out of the fridge? Stop your baking process and wait for them to get to room temperature if that’s what the recipe says. Using ingredients that are either too hot or too cold can drastically change the consistency of your cake.
9. Separating Egg Whites From The Yolk The Wrong Way
You’re probably one of the many bakers who separate egg whites from the yolk by tipping the yolk back and forth between the shells. Stop doing this, as it can take more time and end up in a mess. Instead, use the rubbery end of a turkey baster for sucking up the yolks from the whites.
10. Baking At The Wrong Temperature
As well as ensuring your ingredients are the right temperature, you also need to ensure the oven is just right. Temperature is among the most influential elements in baking. For this to succeed, you also need to know the type of oven you have – fan assisted ovens require different heats to those without a fan.
Furthermore, if your recipe doesn’t state the temperature for some reason, keep these tips in mind: sugary cakes tend to require temperatures from 325F to 350F, yeasted breads around 400F, and yeasted treats about 375F.
11. Using Old Products
While you probably aren’t baking a cake with flour, butter or eggs that have gone bad, way too many people use leaveners that have. Baking soda and baking powder can last a long time, but you definitely need to check the expiry date to ensure it hasn’t been too long!
Remember, if you have old baking soda in the cupboards, you can use it as a cleaning detergent for a lot of household things!
12. Peeking Inside The Oven During Baking
Opening the oven door while your cake’s baking can be problematic. Ovens are sensitive and peeking this way can cause the temperature to fluctuate, causing your cake to bake unevenly. Only start checking once the minimum time stated has passed.
13. Not Rotating The Cake
The only exception to the above rule is the rotation period. You should generally rotate your cake tin around about halfway through the baking process. Do this unless you’re certain the oven cooks evenly!
14. Taking The Cake Out Of The Oven Too Soon
If your cakes tend to collapse in the middle, the problem might be that you’re taking them out too soon. You don’t want the cake to burn, but you also need to ensure it has that golden finish and that it’s properly cooked all over before taking it off.
15. Placing Your Cakes In Airtight Containers
Once you’re done baking, you might eat some of your treats and leave some for later. How do you store the cakes? Hopefully, you didn’t answer in an airtight container, as the lack of air and extra moisture can cause the cake to become soggy and sticky.
Instead get proper cake containers with air holes from retailers like John Lewis and Vitacost. You can save big on your new baking equipment from these sites by using OZCodes vouchers.
If you avoid these mistakes, you’ll be on your way to victory. Now you just need the perfect recipes to get started.