I wanted to share a few tips that I have learned throughout my baking hobby… some might seem like common sense but others you might not have thought of! This blog post will mainly be talking about things related to baking cakes and other similar baked goods… The tips are not in any particular order…Here we go!
- You don’t have to set out your butter\eggs to reach room temperature. When ever you read a recipe for a cake or what have you, it always seems to tell you to let your butter and eggs reach room temperature before creaming them together. This step is merely a suggestion in my eyes because you can always heat up your butter quite easily, and the eggs beat up just fine straight out of the refrigerator. Don’t stress over this step
- Don’t use cooking spray to grease up your pans for flouring This one might seem like a no brainier, but there have been a few times where I was out of shortening and settled with cooking spray to grease up my pans before flouring them… This can work SOMETIMES but the few times I have tried this, the cakes are much harder to get out of the pan, and sometimes stick. If you find yourself out of shortening during this step, you can use butter or even coconut oil (it might change the flavor profile of your cake just a tad) Bonus tip… making a chocolate cake? Use coco-powder to flour your pans.
- You don’t have to beat your eggs one at a time when creaming them into your butter sugar mixture. Again, when reading recipes they always seem to tell you to add your eggs one at a time, beating well after each… I honestly don’t follow this step very frequently. You can easily get away with just beating your eggs in a little bowl with a fork then adding them to the butter\sugar mixture and beating again. 4. Need butter milk but don’t have any on hand? This tip is featured in many publications… and for good reason. Ever been making a cake and realize the recipe called for buttered milk just to find out you don’t have any? Yeah, it sucks… All you have to do is add 1 table spoon of vinegar or a citrus juice (lemon works best) to 1 cup of milk and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and presto… sour\butter milk! 5. You can use apple sauce as an oil substitute. Or any hearty fruit puree can be used. I would recommend not substituting all your oil for fruit puree but if you find yourself in a pinch and need some extra moisture to your recipe and you’ve run out of your oil of choice… this works quite nicely. I believe the ratio is 1 to 1. 6. The clean toothpick test is not the standard when checking if your cake is done cooking. Unless you like potentially overdone cakes… you should get this method out of your mind. For years I used this method to determine if my cakes were done or not, and wondered why some of my cakes were too done… then I found a recipe that showed me a new and better way to test the done-ness of my cakes… and it doesn’t deviate from the original method all that much. When poking your cake with a tooth pick… don’t look for a clean toothpick when pulling it out, look for a toothpick with moist crumbs on the sides… BAM, the cake is ready and will be moist after it cools. 7. Lastly, your oven might be operating 5 or 10 degrees hotter than the chosen temp. In my experience, this has been quite true a number of times. My own oven seems to run about 5 degrees hotter than what the temperature is set to, and I’ve baked with ovens that have had around a 10 degree difference.. No bueno! So, if you suspect your oven might be a little hot, just back off the required temperature to by 5 or 10 degrees… you just might find your cake cooks up much better! That about wraps it up, hope you learned a few things or if not… remembered some of these tips you might have forgotten! Happy Baking! Jonathan.