Cake baking tips

Here are some essential cake baking tips.  Baking cakes is fun and there are lots of cake recipes for you to try.  We show you how to make a few different types of cake to give you a basic knowledge, from which you can make many sorts of cakes in much the same way.

  • In terms of cake baking tips, first, we have the creaming method, where the butter or margarine is creamed together with the sugar until light and fluffy and pale in colour. Liquid such as beaten egg is then slowly added, before folding in the flour and lastly the other ingredients. Examples of this method are rich fruit cake and Victoria sponge. If, when adding the egg to the mixture of creamed butter/margarine and sugar you find that the mixture begins to separate, add some of the flour that you have already weighed out for your cake, which should quickly bring the mixture back together. When making a cake that uses a lot of eggs, such as a rich fruit cake, it is worth putting a spoonful of flour into the mix whenever you add some egg as this should stop the mixture from separating.
  • There are other times when we whisk the eggs and sugar together to form a foam-type stuff (known as ribbon stage) and then very gently fold in the flour, trying hard to keep in as much air in the mixture as possible.  An example of this is Genoese sponge, which is used in many gateaux or a Swiss roll.
  • Another of the cake baking tips is the rubbing in method, where you rub the fat in to the flour, such as when making scones.
  • Another method of baking cakes is mixing the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl and then combining them together to form a batter-type mixture.  This is done when making muffins or gingerbread.
  • Then there are times when we need to use pastry.  Use a good short sweet pastry when making tarts, etc as it bakes nice and crisp like a biscuit, if rolled nice and thin.  Lined tart cases can be filled with all sorts of fillings, such as jam or lemon, or a mixture of ground almonds to form congress tarts.  Many cakes will be made with puff pastry (a very flaky pastry and quite rich), from which we can make cream horns, cream slices, Eccles cakes, etc, and choux pastry is used to make éclairs, which will be many people’s favourites.  Of course, not all pastries have to be sweet.  You will find many savoury recipes, such as sausage rolls and cheese straws.
  • Sometimes we don’t have to bake at all, such as when making truffles, when all the ingredients are mixed together to make a paste and rolled into different shapes and then rolled in a coating such as chocolate.
  • And don’t forget yeast goods, where we make a dough and kneed it to allow it to prove. From this we can make Chelsea buns, currant buns and lovely hot doughnuts.

So, you can imagine that, from a few basic cake baking tips and by adding different ingredients, we can make hundreds of different cakes.

There are a few things we can do to help ourselves with cake baking:

  • Ensure that the equipment such as bowls are whisks are clean.
  • Remember your mise en place before you start – you don’t want to get half way through making a cake, only to find you haven’t enough flour or something.
  • Really get to know your oven so you can trust it like an old friend, as every oven is different.
  • As with all those books, we can only give an approximate baking time.
  • Use good quality ingredients, such as good chocolate – they may cost a little extra but are worth it.
  • Try to use fresh eggs, especially when making meringues — we want egg whites that will whisk up in a few moments and give us lots of body, not watery old whites that take a long time to whisk
  • When baking for children, and no-one loves homemade cakes more than them, try to keep away from large nuts.

So, you see cakes can prove to be great fun.  Good luck with your cake baking and I hope these cake baking tips have been helpful!