Recipes @ Tips for Baking Cakes

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tips for Baking Cakes

Cake Baking Basics

So many people think they can't bake a homemade cake. But don't think you need to inherit special skills from you mother or grandmother. Here are my top three techniques for achieving perfect results:
  1. When a cake recipes instructs you to beat together butter and sugar, this is called creaming. Creaming creates air bubbles in the cake batter and yields a good cake texture. It takes about 3 minutes with a standing mixer and 5 to 7 with a portable mixer. You'll know you have sufficiently creamed the butter when the resulting mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Baking is a science. Measure your ingredients accurately. Adding too much flour or too little liquid ingredients can prevent your cakes from baking correctly. Remember to always use level measurements for dry ingredients like flour and sugar by using standard dry measuring cups; liquids are always measured using liquid measuring cups.
  3. If you're making a meringue cake (like Orange Meringue Cake), an angel-food food cake or chiffon cake, it is important that your bowl, beaters, and spatula be free of all fat or grease. Otherwise, the egg whites will not whip properly. Wash all utensils in hot, sudsy water and dry well.
Using Margarine for Baking

When using margarine for baking, choose one that contains no less than 60 percent vegetable oil, according to the Better Homes and Gardens test kitchen. Spreads that contain less vegetable oil and more water can affect the texture and overall quality of your baked goods, they say. For example, biscotti made with an extra light margarine or spread won't be as crisp as expected. When shopping for margarine or other spreads, the BH&G test kitchen recommends carefully reading package labels (especially the fine print) to see how much vegetable oil is in a product.

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