Cakenista Baking Tips
1. There are dry measuring cups and wet measuring cups. Measuring one in the other will MAY result in off measurements.
*This may be a myth! even I fell for this one. But in my defense, it's taught in culinary programs to stick wet ingredients with wet measuring cups and dry ingredients with dry measuring cups. In reality 1 cup = 1 cup. The BEST way to measure dry ingredients is by weight! You'll never go wrong.
2. Don't over mix. During the mixing process, gluten is being worked and the proteins in the batter begin to strengthen.
Always mix until just incorporated for a tender product unless the recipe states otherwise. Over-mixing causes "tunneling": small tunnels in the cake.
3. Parchment paper's great. But silicon mats are where it's at! Yes the old fashioned "butter then flour the pan" method works great, BUT with larger cakes I've had some disasters. I love cutting a large silicon mat into multiple mats to fit my cake pans.
I also spray the sides with nonstick spray. It works every time. See how I do this in this video!
4. Always have a timer on hand. We have cell phones, tablets and gadgets of all sorts. If you have one of these then there's no excuse to not have a timer.
Timing is everything when it comes to baking.
5. Make use of that freezer! One of the biggest tips to decorating a professional looking cake is utilizing that freezer! When the cakes cool down wrap them up and pop them in the freezer. This limits the opportunity of tender cakes breaking apart when trimming and stacking. After crumb coating, put the cake in the freezer for a few minutes. Then, when you finish your final frosting, leave it in the freezer to get hard. When the buttercream hardens is when I fix up any little mistakes I've made. By storing properly, loads can be done ahead of time.
6. Patience is a virtue. So many people complain of having their icing melt from frosting too soon. If you have to, follow tip #5- wrap it up and stick in the freezer for a while.
7. Read read read, then read some more. Knowing where you went wrong can prevent you from making that mistake again. Look for trouble shoot charts for cakes.
8. Flours. There's pastry flour, cake flour, all purpose flour, bleached flour, bread, rice and the list goes on. So which is best for your cake? Based off of my own experience, using cake flour really lightens up a cake and makes it considerably fluffier. I add both A.P flour and cake flour to my cakes. If you can't find cake flour, here's a recipe:
For every one cup of All purpose flour remove 2 tbsp and replace that with 2 tbsp of corn starch. Sift the flour about 6 times. If this is too much for you amazon.com has plenty to choose from.
9. Know your oven. The top and middle racks are usually preferred for baking (breads, cakes, cookies, etc).
The bottom rack can easily burn your precious delicacies, trust me.
10. Ingredients that will add a great bit of moisture to you cakes: applesauce (I prefer cinnamon flavored for carrot cakes), sour cream, buttermilk, butter, and avocado (yup avocado). This chart always comes in handy... -Couture in a Cupcake-