It takes time to perfect any craft, and baking is no exception.
However, knowing what mistakes to avoid is always helpful in speeding up the learning process. Cake-baking mistakes are not confined to beginners alone; professional bakers end up making small errors which leave their creations below their baking standards.
Cake fell flat? Did it not rise at all? Does is taste wrong? It is possible that the reason for a huge setback is a very simple mistake.
Take a look at these 7 common mistakes of cake baking:
1. You are using cold ingredients
Let’s get one misconception erased: cold ingredients are only great when you are making a pie, or basically working with pastry. Cakes on the other hand, require ingredients at room temperature. Unless your recipe calls for it, use all ingredients—butter, eggs, milk—once they are at room temperature. This allows the baking powder/soda to actively form those air pockets inside that makes your cake light and fluffy.
2. You do not measure your ingredients
Baking is not a task based on assumptions. There’s reason why professional bakers are required to own a set of measuring cups and spoons; adding accurate amounts of ingredients is imperative. The reason why your cake becomes too hard or too mushy, or too bland or too sweet, is because you did not adhere to the correct measurements of ingredients.
3. You added expired leavening agents
Yes, baking soda and baking powders have an expiration date.
Using leaveners which are past their expiration date will keep your cakes from rising to their maximum level. Make sure you check the expiration date on the packaging before you use baking powder/soda.
It is quite possible, if you open it up often, that your leavening agent expires early.
4. You are choosing the wrong baking tin
Whatever pan you choose to bake your cake, make sure it is the right material and the right size. Baking a cake is not a one-size-fits-all process; the type of tin depends of type of cake.
- For standard round layered cakes, use an aluminum pan. The width and height of the pan depends on what size you want, but it is best to choose a 9″ diameter tin.
- For cheesecakes, use a spring form pan. These have a clasp that allows you to release the bottom, removing the cheesecake smoothly.
- Banana breads and other fruit breads, and pound cakes require a loaf tin.
- If you are making brownies, a square-shaped aluminum baking tin will give you proportionate dessert pieces.
5. You forgot to grease and dust the baking pan
Ever took your cakes out of the oven to release they are stuck to bottom? Even though the cake is not burnt, it refuses to detach from the base and even the sides of the pan. More often, this is because did not add a greasing layer, topped off with flour dusting, before you poured in your batter.
To make sure your cake comes out of the pan without breaking apart, do not dismiss this step.
6. You left your batter out for too long
Once the leavening agents are incorporated in your batter, they activate and start reacting with the ingredients. At this point, it is best to transfer your batter to the tin, and into the oven as soon as possible. Leave it out and your batter will start to deflate, resulting in flat cakes.
7. You check the baking cake to often
Frequently opening the oven door to check the cake and stick in a knife in is a huge mistake most bakers end up making.
This is one of the main reasons why your cake did not rise well.
Baking is a methodical process; determine the time and temperature before hand, keep the cake checking to a minimum.
Of course, the foundation of an amazing cake is determined by the quality of its ingredients.