Here are some quick tips and tricks for baking cakes that I have found invaluable. These are by far not all the tips that I have so be sure to check the cake baking section for updates from time to time.
- Always line your cake tin, even if it is a non-stick material to make sure it doesn’t damage the cake when taking it out.
- Often you will need more than one cake mixture for the stipulated pan in the recipe. In order to make a professional cake, you will need to have a tall cake which requires more batter. Make sure the batter comes up to about 1.5cm short of the edge of the tin.
- Someone once told me that if you can smell the cake baking, it is ready. Only cooked cakes will give the ‘freshly baked cake’ smell – wet uncooked batter will not, so use your nose!
- Never open the oven door until at least halfway through the baking time. The cake will sink. I thought this was only an old wives tale until I tried it once – my cake literally sank from the centre outwards before my eyes for a good half hour after it came out of the oven. It still tasted good – but was useless for decorating!!
- Have a skewer handy to check the readiness of your cake. Check it just next to the centre of the cake. If it is dry right next to the dead centre, move toward the centre. If it is not completely cooked but seems to be mostly cooked from the middle of the cake down, I would recommend taking the cake out of the oven so it does not overcook. It will continue to cook once removed from the oven.
- If you want a really moist cake (particularly when making a mud cake), leave it in the tin for a while to cool. It will retain the moisture.
- When decorating any cake with either frosting, buttercream or fondant, it is best to have the cake baked the day before so it is not so crumbly.