Secret to Better Cakes: 3 Common Baking Mistakes

We’re going to be talking about the 5 tips for making a better cake. These are tips that will help you get the perfect cake time and time again. 

What Are 5 Tips For Better Cakes?

The 5 tips for a better cake are

  1. Weigh all your ingredients and not by volume. 
  2. Double-check to make sure all your cake ingredients are at room temperature before you start making the cake batter.
  3. Don’t over-mix your batter
  4. When making a cake set enough time to bake it
  5. Put wet towels around the edges of the pan

Weigh all your ingredients 

Let’s just put this out there, we all have grown up with our moms in the kitchen using a volume-based measuring cup. But weighing your ingredients can make or break your recipe. when you measure just by volume you risk possibly adding more ingredients than you need which can affect the cake’s final result. Weigh your ingredients, especially the flour, and your taste buds will thank you.

Ingredients at room temperature

Before making your cake, look over your recipe to see if there are any ingredients that require it to be at room temperature. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve realized that the ingredients needed to be at room temperature too late. This is usually the eggs and butter, and milk. 

Putting cold butter in your batter can cause your batter to curdle and not combine well which can lead to your batter not having the right consistency and not rising properly.

Overmixing your batter.

Mixing your batter can cause your cake not to bake well, or to be uneven or the flavor to suffer. If you’re new at baking it’s suggested to do the reverse creaming method because it’s way easier to mix and it has a lot of give in allowing you to over-mix in case you do. Also using cake flour can help you get the perfect cake every time especially if you tend to over-mix. Because it has a lower count of protein it means that gluten doesn’t develop as much when you mix it.

Give enough time to bake your cake

What you don’t want to happen is not having time to complete the process and being left with extra batter to not have time to put it in the oven or just plan to leave it there while you do something else.

Leaving the cake batter out of the oven for too long can cause the leavening agents to lose their gases to rise in a mixed batter. By the time you put it in the oven, it won’t even rise or bake.

Use paper towels around the sides of the cake pan

If you wet the paper towel and then wrap it around a pan with foil it’s one of the best things you can do. It keeps the sides of the cake from browning really dark and maintains a light brown color. It also helps prevent a dome from shaping in the middle and keeps the cake top flat. This is great if doing a layer cake without having to cut the top. It also keeps the cake very moist. 

Check out this article about cake flour and why it might be better to use.

We’ll cover three things that should help you to bake your cake more successfully—and they’re all good.

What Are 3 Common Baking Mistakes?

  1. Mistaking the ingredients to be room temperature and it’s actually not.
  2. Unnecessarily overbaking the cake
  3. Mixing the batter a lot and underestimating the flour. 
  4. Not reading the recipe at least once before so you’re fully prepared
  5. Not understanding the ingredients and how they can help you have a better dessert 

Room Temperature Ingredients

The biggest mistake most people make is thinking that just leaving the butter out on the counter warrants that at room temperature. When in fact it’s not really just the environment but the temperature of the actual butter. If it’s cold outside and it’s colder in your house it may not be at the proper room temperature level to properly get your butter where it needs to be. Be fully aware of the environment and adjust accordingly. 

Overbaking The Cake 

Baking your cake or cookie batter for too long in the oven —  can be the reason why it becomes too dry or even hard once baking is completed.  If a recipe says to bake the cake for 20 minutes as an example you’re not going to keep the cake fully in the oven for 20 minutes. 

The key is you want to have the cake under-bake so that by the time you take it out it’s very moist because it is still cooking even when you take it out of the oven. Monitor what you’re baking and take it out just before it’s fully done. 

Mixing The Batter

Most home bakers use all-purpose flour not realizing that it tends to develop gluten very easily especially if mixed too much. This can lead to the batter being too thick or creating too much structure which leads to a very tough cake. 

One of the best things that you can do if you want to get a perfect cake every time is to use cake flour it will do wonders for your cake and make it really moist even if mixed too much.

Not Reading The Recipe Thoroughly 

Just starting to combine the ingredients can be one of the biggest mistakes you do especially if you’re not reading the recipe beforehand. It allows you to know if you need the oven to be on before you start, the ingredients to be at room temperature or the utensils you may need. 

The worst that can happen is you start mixing and realize you don’t do the steps correctly. Knowing the steps beforehand can make for a better experience when making your cake.

Differences In Ingredients 

Knowing the differences between sugars can make all the difference in the final outcome when baking. For example, when you use refined sugar in cookies it makes them crunchier. It has more structure. Whereas dark sugar has molasses adds flavor and makes the cookie chewier.

The same will be true for cakes if you replace white sugar with brown sugar and add it to your cake it will make the cake moist because of the molasses in the sugar. Sugar can have a huge impact on texture and different moisture when baking. Having knowledge of different ingredients and their properties can improve your baking.

What Makes Cake Rise Better?

Adding a leavening agent to your cake will help your cake rise better but also being accurate with the measurement of the ingredients and putting in the right amount will affect the rise. Using acidic ingredients works really well with baking soda to get a nice rise. 

For example, using too much sugar and fat in the recipe can cause too many gases to escape the batter and cause it not to create structure at all. Resulting in a low-volume cake that never rises. It’s important to use the right amount of each ingredient within a recipe once combined so the cake can rise correctly.

Also getting your cake mix in the oven as soon as possible plays a big factor in how well your cake will rise. Thin batter doesn’t hold gases as well as thick batter. This just means that it doesn’t hold the rise as well and will deflate more quickly and lose its structure the longer you have it out of the oven.

Adding acidic ingredients to your recipe specifically when using baking soda will help you get a good rise. Common ingredients are buttermilk, sour cream, brown sugar, and white sugar.  

What Are 3 Keys To Good Baking?

  1. Understanding the amount of batter to pan size ratio
  2. Using alternate ingredients instead of the norm such as oil, sour cream, cake flour, or buttermilk.
  3. Baking is not like cooking but it is a science.

Knowing exactly how much to make with your recipe and how much to increase or decrease your recipe can make all the difference in your batter and how much you have left over. It allows you to make just the right amount to fill the specific pan size.

 Refer to this article on how to make calculations to increase or decrease your recipe.

It’s very common to use butter, all-purpose flour, and regular milk. But just altering a recipe a bit if you’re feeling like testing can make your cake even better. For example, using oil will make your cake lighter than if you used butter. Sour cream or buttermilk would give your cake even more moisture than if you just used milk. 

Baking is a science

Baking will require you to use your intuition and look at the process and decide when it’s correct or not. For example, if the recipe calls for it to be in the oven for 20 minutes it’s your responsibility to look at what you’re baking and see if it’s done before that or if it’s the right consistency. 

Also being able to problem solve will go a long way so if you add a certain amount of ingredients and your batter is wet or too thick it’s also important to take account of your environment and how much humidity or cold is present. Sometimes outside factors will affect your mixture. 

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