Baking can be enjoyable but it is disappointing if your efforts don’t produce goodies that taste and look good. Here are a few tips to help get great results every time:
- Use good quality ingredients. Poor quality ingredients will always result in poor quality baked goods. If the recipe says butter, use butter. Margarine and low fat spread rarely give good results.
- Make sure the oven has come up to the correct temperature before putting in the cake mix.
- Don’t cram too much into the oven. Hot air won’t circulate around the cake tins as easily if there is too much in the oven.
- Electric ovens can cause cakes to be dry out. Try adding a dish of water to the bottom of the oven and top it up when it evaporates.
- If something needs to be turned or moved halfway through the bake time it is a good idea to set a timer. A timer is useful but only as a guide to the baking time. Bake time varies, depending on the oven, the temperature and dryness of the ingredients, the quantity in the oven and some people say the mood of the cook!
- Use cold ingredients for scones and bread. Don’t remove the butter and milk from the fridge until you are ready to use them.
- Line baking sheets with baking parchment to prevent sticking. This eliminates the need to flour the tin. I hate scones or bread with flour on the bottom of them.
- Heat the baking tray or tin before using (bread and scones only).
- Most cakes are best made from ingredients at room temperature (about 20°C/68°F). If eggs are too cold break them into a large dish and break up the yolk a little. Leaving them in a warm place even for 10 minutes will help.
- If other ingredients, like flour and dried fruit, are stored in a cold utility room, bring them into the kitchen for a while before using.
- Take butter out of the fridge in plenty of time to soften, preferably overnight.
- Line tins with baking parchment or preformed cake tin liners ensure perfect results every time.
- Cake release spray is a miracle. Bundt cakes and fiddly shaped cakes come out perfectly every time. Just make sure you get it into all the nooks and crannies. Don’t overspray or you will get a thicker crust on the cake from the excess spray.
- Covering scones or bread with a clean tea towel will prevent a hard crust from forming. If a maderia type cake is a little overbaked, covering it with a tea towel as soon as it comes out of the oven will help.
- Make sure to add all the ingredients!
- Have you ever wondered why a cake wasn’t as nice as the last time? Could you have forgotten to add an ingredient? Place your ingredients on the left and move to the right when you have added them (or right to left).
- You can tick off each ingredient in my recipes. See pic above. This can also be used as a shopping list.
- Use the correct sized tin. My recipes can be adjusted by clicking on the + or – in the ‘adjust serving’ section, on top of the ingredient list. This ensures the right quantity of ingredients for different sized baking tins.