Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 (hopefully) helpful tips for cake baking!

Hello friends, I figured since my last post was mostly cake preoccupied, I might as well pass along some helpful notes about baking cakes...  Oh and show you this: 

I made that for one of my friend's mom's 50th birthday. It's one of my all-time favorite chocolate cake recipes with chocolate ganache and rich chocolate frosting. I garnished it with homemade whipped cream and toasted almonds. This is not my own recipe, it can be found at this place >>> 

That cake recipe IS a little bit more involved but it's TOTALLY worth it and is very extreme chocolatey goodness. 

Anyways... I know I've talked a lot about cake recently, so I'm gonna share some tips for baking cakes that I have found make the whole process lots easier. 

Ten tips for your average bear… er… cake baker:

1. To ensure wonderful taste, make your cake from scratch. HOWEVER, if you do not have the time, money or energy to put towards baking a "from-scratch" cake, then you may use a "doctored up" box mix. Yep, you can have the ease of making a cake from the box without the box taste! I follow three simple steps to ensure my box cakes have "homemade" quality. Add a small amount of vanilla extract to the batter, add more water than it calls for and bake for a little less time (regardless of how the lil toothpick looks when you stick it in the center). This never fails to make these box mixes taste just a little better!

2. In general, I find it's best to not cook any cake for as long as the recipe calls for. You never want your cake to dry out and the quickest way that happens is if it's in the oven for too long. So, always set your timer for about 5 minutes less than the recipe calls for and check your cake. If the toothpick/cake tester comes out with a few crumbles on it, you're golden. 

3. Don't panic! If one of your perfect layers decide to break in half, panicking doesn't help (been there, done that). Basically, you can fix pretty much every cake disaster with frosting and a wee bit of patience. 

4. ALWAYS use a crumb coat of frosting. What is a crumb coat, you ask? Well, a crumb coat is a very thin, fine layer of frosting that you want to spread all over your cake. This thin layer serves to seal in all the little ugly crumbs that would normally get stuck in your beautiful frosting. After administering a crumb coat, if you can stick your cake in the fridge for a few minutes, it will be perfect and ready for the "real" layer of frosting!

5. Try to use room-temperature ingredients. This includes things like eggs, butter, cream cheese etc. The more room temperature the ingredients are, the better they combine together and create delicious goodness. 

6. If you use whipped cream as a center frosting (for in between layers) be sure to let your cake set in the refrigerator for awhile or else the layers could fall off when the cream gets too soft. 

7. ALWAYS let your cake cool COMPLETELY before frosting. The absolute best solution for this is to make your cake the night before it needs to be served and stick it in the fridge or freezer overnight. Frozen cake layers are the easiest to work with. 

8. When a recipe says "grease and flour pans" be sure to do just that. The last thing you want is to deal with cake that won't come out of the pan. Be sure to get a nice even coat of flour all over the pans. For even easier removal, line the bottom of your cake pans with parchment paper. 

9. When it comes to removing the cakes from the pans, I always use a big plate that I rest on top of the cake pan, loosened cake underneath, then flip it over holding the edges of the pan and the plate together. This way, the cake gets a nice solid plate to land on and it makes it easier to transfer to the cooling racks.

10. If you are making a two or more layered cake, always place the top layer bottom side up. This side is less crumby and more conducive to frosting.  

And there you have it. 10 tips to help make some great tasting cakes. Happy baking! :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to copy and paste all these and print them if you dont mind :)
    I will most definetly try the box cake one, we always buy those when mom has a coupon. :)
    and i never ever ever thought of the crumb layer first! hmmmmm
    you gave me alot to think about. thanks.