We all love a well baked cake. Thinking about the cake my mother used to bake just makes me go into dream land. She wasn’t a professional baker, but knew the essentials to bake a cake. The edges would have burnt a bit, the awesome taste of butter, and the sweet vanilla fragrancing the house…it was irresistible. A friend of mine recently baked a cake and it tasted almost similar to what my mom used to make. I am yet to ask her for the recipe. Although I can’t guarantee you a cake that taste like my mom’s, there are a few secrets that you can follow to get your perfect cake.
Just make sure you have the basic baking tools at hand. So lets start…
- Get to know your oven – There are fan forced ovens and standard ones. If you have a fan forced oven, ideally you need to reduce the oven temperature by 10 – 20 degrees if the recipes doesn’t mention anything in particular about using one. Again, this is something that you need to experiment and adjust. For example, I use a fan forced oven and bake cakes at 160 degrees if the recipe asks for 180 degrees. Placing your cakes in the center shelf is ideal, but does not really matter in a fan forced oven as the air is distributed evenly unlike in a standard oven. When checking the cake, open and close the door very gently to avoid disturbing the air bubbles in the batter.
- Use good quality butter – I don’t mean expensive, but something that is mid range and tastes good. It is better to use butter at room temperature, as it will help you to cream butter and sugar easily, if the recipes calls for this. Also, adding flavor into butter while creaming is best, as butter helps disperse the flavor.
- Always try to weigh your ingredients – In some recipes I have seen they give both weights as well as measurements of the ingredients side by side. Try to stick to weighing your ingredients to get the perfect cake. If you measure your ingredients, level the scoop or cup with a spatula, unless the recipes says heaping tablespoon or cup.
- Mixing – Don’t over mix your batter, this will toughen the cake.
- Cooling – Allow your cake to cool down completely before you frost it.
- Frosting – Apply a thin layer of frosting on the cake and let it set before you apply buttercream or fondant. This is also called as crumb coating. It basically seals the crumbs in the frosting.
- Fondant – is a sugar paste. It is also known as RTR, i.e., ready to roll icing, in some countries. It mainly has sugar, glycerine and gelatin with some recipes that include cream or marshmallows. Once the frosting on the cake has set, roll out a thin layer of fondant and wrap it around the cake.
Follow all these instructions and I am sure you will be on you way to baking your perfect cakes.
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