How to Make Your Own Cake - Basic Tips
You have grown up hearing how your grandmother could bake a cake without ever using a recipe, the story may even claim she never measured anything. However if we ordinary humans want to successfully make a cake we need to follow a recipe and measure carefully.
When you are going to make a cake, preparation is absolutely vital. It is very important to preheat the oven in order to ensure that baking times will be accurate. Use a thermometer.
You also need to properly prepare the pans you will be using. Most baked items require a pan to either be greased or greased and floured.
To grease a pan, use a paper towel or pastry brush to apply a thin even covering. Grease generously only if the recipe calls for it. Try using solid vegetable shortening, it won’t add flavor to your cake. You can also use a cooking spray specifically for baking.
If a recipe calls for greasing and flouring a pan, grease the pan as usual and then shake the pan to coat all surfaces. Turn the pan upside down to get rid of the excess flour.
Before you start to make a cake, make sure you have everything you need. Check to be sure you have all of the ingredients the recipe lists. Do you have the right size cake pan?
Don’t substitute ingredients unless the recipe lists alternatives. When you are a little more experienced then you can play with your recipes. Especially with a cake, if a recipe calls for butter, use it.
You also need to measure carefully. A cup of liquid does not have the same volume as a cup of dry ingredients. So if you use a dry measure for liquids, you will have less, you will only have 2/3 cup when you need 1 cup. On the other hand, if you use a liquid measure for dry ingredients, you will be adding extra and your baked goods may be too dry.
It is best to use a clear standard liquid measuring cup. Place the cup on a level surface and fill to the desired mark. Check it at eye level for accuracy.
With dry ingredients, lightly spoon the ingredients into the proper cup and level it off with a spatula or knife.
When measuring solid fats and brown sugar, firmly press the ingredient into a standard dry measure cup and level it off with a knife or spatula.
Measuring margarine or butter is easy, as the wrapped sticks are marked for each tbsp. and ¼, 1/3, and ½ cup marks.
Dry measure cups are also used for sour cream, yogurt or whipped cream.
Along with liquid and dry measuring cups, you need a set of measuring spoons. Most sets have four spoons for ¼, ½, 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon. Fill the spoon with dry ingredients and level it off with a spatula or knife. Liquids can also be measured in these spoons. Just fill the spoon to the top.
Another necessity for successful baking is a good basic cookbook.
You can go on line and find charts that will show you the metric and imperial equivalents of both liquid and dry measures.
There are also instructions for how to halve or double a recipe and oven temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius scales.
High altitude baking requires adjustments in temperature liquids baking powder and sugar, there are also charts that can give you these adjustments. Cakes, biscuits and muffins, cookies, yeast dough and quick breads all have their own altitude adjustments.
These tips are actually making a couple of cakes will soon turn you into an expert.
About the Author: Nina Romanov
Would you like to learn more about cake decorating? Do you need wedding cake ideas, pictures, cake toppers or other supplies? Visit Dream Cakes Made Easy
Nina is an expert freelance writer. She has been a cake decorator for the most part of her life in Europe, Australia, and North America. Later on she graduated from NHC Montreal as a certified naturopath. Presently she is happily RV-ing with her husband.