To bake a cake that is delicious are just as important as decorating a cake. Without a delicious cake, your hard work in decorating the cake becomes null and void. If your cake is beautiful, but do not get that wow factor, you will lose a client forever.
All of us can bake a cake! You just grab the recipe book and start baking! Wrong! There are rules to follow to make a flawless cake. I have heard many times in my decorating classes, how their cakes collapse in the middle, why it does not rise properly and so much more. It is all because of the rules that were not followed.
A good example is the size of the eggs. If the recipe calls for four large eggs and you use four small eggs, you are actually changing the recipe. You will need to learn how to adjust the recipe without actually changing it. Sounds confusing right, but if you do not have large eggs, you will need to add two more eggs to make up for the fact that they are small.
The same applies to the cake flour. You can't use self-raising flour if the recipe asks for cake flour. Self-raising flour has other ingredients in them, which mean you might be adding more baking powder than you should.
Most recipes stipulate that when you bake a cake, you have to use room temperature eggs. Do not use eggs straight out of your fridge, there is a reason for that. The thing about recipes – it is actually a magic potion! You add ingredients in a certain way, whip it, mix it or fold it that secret way and right in front of your eyes the products together have a chemical reaction…It is Science!
Certain chemicals react in a certain way. Follow this rule. If your eggs are cold, put them in lukewarm water for a while before you use them. Even better, plan and take them out of your fridge with your butter at least an hour or two before you start baking.
A recipe can only be as good as the one following it to the last letter. If it stipulates to switch on the oven on 180 before you start – do that. If it asks for folding and not mixing – do that. Otherwise, you will set yourself up for failure.
There are plenty of things you can do to make sure a perfect cake:
- First, you follow the recipe. Read the complete recipe first.
- Get all your ingredients out and ready. Do not try to measure as you go through the recipe. Measure and plan ahead.
- Measure with a scale instead of cups. It is proven that it is more accurate with a digital scale.
- Ensure you sift the cake flour. You will not just save the flour but also make it light and fluffy. No joking, it is the truth.
- Buy the best ingredients, do not go for second best thinking you will save costs, you might but you will taste the cheaper version.
- Next is to invest in proper Aluminium Pans, not the Teflon coated pans or even stainless steel. You want the best cake, buy the best equipment.
- Line your pan on the bottom as well as on the inside around it. There are even baking strips available that you can wet and put around the pan. This can also be made at home.
- Also, invest in an oven thermometer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about cakes collapsing, due to oven’s own thermometer not working correctly.
- Make sure there is ample space between your cakes. It needs the warm air to go around freely to bake evenly.
- Last but not least, do not open the oven too earlier. Now you may ask. How do I know when is the right time to open – SMELL, the moment you can smell your cake, you can open and start checking.
- Use a wooden skewer or similar to test if baked. It will come out dry or will bounce back if you touch it softly
PS: If your cake still does not rise evenly – just check whether your oven is level, it might not be!