Useful tips and information to
keep in mind while baking a cake. Follow these instructions to get a perfectly
Baking a cake is quite similar to
performing an experiment in chemistry. You mix ingredients in a specific way that
it brings about reactions to give the desired product. The final output is
dependent, to a great extent, on the procedure and technique used. So, when
making a cake, be sure to follow the recipe accurately as your results will be
largely dependent on this.
Let me explain with a personal
experience. I had done everything the way the recipe had said, until I reached
the part where it said to fold in the flour gently. But, I was in a hurry and
mixed in the flour rather vigorously. The result – A dense and heavy cake that
everybody refused to eat!!
Some important factors to be kept
in mind while baking cakes have been discussed below.
1. Preheating the oven
Always preheat the oven before
putting the cake in. Preheating means heating the oven to the required
temperature before you put the cake in. This can be done by heating the oven
for 5-10 minutes at the same temperature at which the cake will be baked. Some
ovens have an inbuilt preheat function that you can make use of.
a proper cake tin
Choose a cake tin such that it
will provide sufficient room for the cake to expand. The size of the tin should
be such that it is only ½ or ¾ full. Otherwise the cake will crack on top
because it has no space to expand.
and flour the cake tin
Make sure to grease and flour the
cake tin properly to prevent the cake from sticking to the bottom. Alternatively
you can line the bottom of the tin with butter/wax paper. This will make cake
4. Use ingredients at room temperature
Before you start preparing the batter, ensure that all your ingredients are at room temperature. Cold ingredients may separate or curdle instead of mixing well and a broken batter means cake that does not rise well and is crumbly in nature.
5. Measure Ingredients carefully
The quantities of ingredients used are important in getting a properly baked cake. Too much flour or to little liquid can result in a heavy and dry cake and can cause problems such as a peaked cake or a cake with a badly cracked top. Too much liquid or too little flour can cause the cake to collapse.
the batter carefully
Prepare the batter as per the
directions in the recipe. The procedure to be followed varies depending on the
type of cake and will have a direct impact on the quality of the cake. An
undermixed batter could yield a lumpy cake, while too much or vigorous mixing
could result in a heavy and dense cake.
7. Watch the Baking powder/soda
Before using baking powder/soda,
check the manufacturing and best before date. It generally is effective for a
year only. To check the effectiveness, put ½ tsp in ½ a cup of water and check
for effervescence (appearance of bubbles). If no bubbles appear, it is
Also, use only the recommended
amount of baking powder/soda. Too much can
give a make the cake dry or cause it to sink, while too little can result in a
heavy and badly peaked cake.
patient during the baking process
Unless unavoidable, don’t open
the oven door for the first 15 minutes or at least until the cake has well
risen. This could lead to a sunken cake.
9. Check if the cake is done
Firstly, ensure that the cake has
left the sides of the tin. Lightly tap the top of the cake with a finger and if
it forms a depression, bake a little while longer. If it springs back, check if
it is done by inserting a knife, fork, a cocktail stick, a skewer or a toothpick
into the highest part. If it comes out dry the cake is done, otherwise bake for
5-10 minutes more.
10. Cool the cake before turning out
After taking the cake out of the
oven, cool it in the pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Once
completely cool, run a knife or narrow spatula around the edges, place a plate
on top of the pan and invert it. Gently tap the pan to release the cake.