Baking a cake can be a challenging process. Even when you get the food chemistry correct, the results can be dry, tough, or crumbly.
There can even be times when your cake falls flat. When you know the secrets of baking one perfectly every time, then each slice is going to offer culinary bliss. These are the essential rules that you must follow.
Always grease the cake pan and line it with parchment paper. These actions ensure that the final product slides out cleanly after it cools. Spray coatings can be useful, but it can also impact your recipe. That’s why butter is usually the preferred option.
Let the oven preheat first. You need to start baking the cake at the correct temperature right away. There are no exceptions to this rule, which means zero shortcuts are available.
Bake the cake in the center of the oven. Some recipes will tell you to take a different approach, but you should use the center rack in the middle of your appliance if there aren’t instructions. Making a change will always alter the results you can achieve.
Use the correct cake pan for your recipe. If you don’t follow the instructions from the recipe precisely, then you’ll get an uneven baking process. That means your cake isn’t going to be done in the center when you pull it out – or it might end up being overcooked.
Fresh ingredients are your only option. It might be tempting to use the old baking soda from the back of your pantry, but that’s a recipe for disaster. Unless it is rated for more extended storage, anything over six months in age shouldn’t be used for your cake.
Don’t make substitutions. If your cake requires specific ingredients for its structure, then changing that item will have a direct impact on the recipe. The only exceptions to this rule are the spices and flavoring elements that you put into it.
Doubling or halving the recipe doesn’t work. A cake recipe is a sophisticated science. If you double the recipe to make a larger cake or split it for a smaller one, then the results aren’t going to be what you expect.
Recheck your ingredient measurements. Cakes that come out overly dense usually have too much sugar, not enough leavening, or more liquid than needed. Make sure that everything is measured appropriately as you mix it all together.
Properly mix your cake batter before baking. If you discover tunnels or holes in your cake, then that means it received too much mixing. You can cover up this mistake with a little extra frosting, but the issue can also cause structural problems that can make your efforts end up in failure.
Crumbs in the icing can be fixed with a thin “crumb coat.” If you place a very thin layer of icing on your cake first, then this effort will “glue” the crumbs to the surface. Chill your cake after applying it until the frosting becomes firm. Then you can complete the work without the result looking overly lumpy.