Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tips for the Novice Baker

Baking the Perfect Cake (From scratch or from a box mix)
  • I always use my No-Fail Cake Recipe. You would really have to try hard to mess this up. My cakes have always come out delicious.
  • If the recipe allows some flexibility, such as the No-Fail recipe or a box mix, always add instant pudding mix to the cake batter.
  • Two Words: Duncan Hines. My mom told me to never buy any other brand. It's the best.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Let the butter and eggs get to room temperature before adding them to the cake mix. For the eggs, you can sit them in lukewarm water too speed this up.
  • Make homemade cake release. This works way better than any non-stick spray or store-bought cake release. It's easy and I have never had an issue with a cake sticking to the pan. See recipe below.
  • Make cakes in advance and freeze them for up to three months. This is great if you know you have a busy week ahead.
Homemade Cake Release
Add equal parts Crisco, vegetable oil, and flour. Stir mixture and coat evenly onto baking pan. (For two cakes, I use 1 tbsp of each ingredients and always have enough. If you want to make a lot, you can store extra cake release in the pantry.)

Icing the Perfect Cake
  • Be Patient! This is the most important advice I will give you, but I often fail to do myself. Rushing this process will never result in anything good. For elaborate cakes, have a plan and a "cake blueprint." Here's an upcoming cake I have to make next week:
  • Even if you only want to make cupcakes or simple iced cakes, invest in a pastry bag and tips. It makes a huge difference!
You can take this...

 To this....
  • When icing a cake, never touch the knife or spatula to the cake!!! This is the reason you have crumbs in your frosting. Always use way too much frosting and remove the frosting as you go.
  • For a cake, ice it using THIN consistency icing. Add a tiny bit of water continuously until you have thin icing. This makes it easy for spreading. Also, never try to spread it when it's cold!
These are just a few tips that I find helpful. Do you have any suggestions of your own? Add them to the comment section to share!

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