Cake Baking Tips
If you follow the rules and techniques of cake making and use a few tried-and-true cake baking tips, your cakes will turn out moist, tender and light every time. To be successful in making cakes you have to measure accurately, use the right method to mix the cake and bake it for the right length of time at the correct temperature.
There are three kinds of cakes: shortening or butter cakes, cakes with no shortening or butter and a combination of the previous two. The three kinds of cakes are different in the ingredients, mixing methods and the final baked product, but most of the cake baking rules applies to all of them.
You must use good ingredients in your cake if you want a good finished product. Use good, proven brands of sugar, flour, fats and flavorings. Make sure your eggs and leavening agents arent old; they wont work correctly if their potency is gone; keep them rotated and replace with fresh when they expire. Have all your ingredients at room temperature before starting. Cake flour is best for delicate cakes such as angel food and sponge cakes.
Turn on your oven to preheat before you start mixing your cake; the oven will be at the correct temperature by the time youre ready to bake your cake. To be on the safe side, use the type and size of pan that's specified in the recipe. Try to place your pans as near to the center of the oven as possible and dont let the pans touch each other. Stagger the pans on two shelves if you have to.
Most recipes will tell you that the cake is done when it starts to shrink away from the sides of the pan; I try to get mine out of the oven just before they start to shrink away from the sides-in my opinion theyre overdone if theyre shrinking from the sides.
Also, using a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake will tell you if its done. The tester should come out clean with no raw batter on it.
Some bakers use the finger test to see if the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. The finger test doesnt always work for me, so I test the center with a toothpick most of the time. As you become more proficient at cake baking youll even start to notice that the cake has a certain smell when its about ready to come out of the oven. Use your nose the next time you bake a cake and see if you can guess when its about ready. (Always use a timer, also.)
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