Baking Tips

Going through the recipes in this challenge; I’ve come across and shared many tips and hints to help people when baking.  Yet, even I have managed to forget some of them after I’ve posted it. So I’ve started up this page as a place to list all the tips I have come across so far.  Enjoy.

GENERAL BAKING:

  • Buy a reliable set of measuring scales
  • Don’t over mix the batter or keep opening the oven door when cakes are in the oven, this can lead to the cakes sinking.
  • Preparing cake tins: For tins with removable bits and bobs, cut a piece of greaseproof paper in the shape of the bottom and grease the sides.  For those that don’t, grease well and dust with plain flour.
  • Wait until the cake has completely cooled before attempting to take it out of the tin.
  • If you’re cake breaks apart, DON’T PANIC (especially if you’re icing it).  Put it back together, let it cool.  Then when icing, put a layer of softer icing over the cake as glue and shape the cake into what it was meant to look like.  Let this set and continue icing normally.

CHEESECAKES:

  • When baking a cheesecake in the oven, the recipe will always say to put it in a waterbath.  However this can lead to the water leaking into the tin and all sorts of mess.  Best tip for this is to put the waterbath at the bottom of the oven and the cheesecake on a level thats just above.
  • As soon as you take the cheesecake out of the oven, go around the tin with a palette knife to seperate the cake from the tin.  This will hopefully reduce the chance of the cupcake cracking.

CUPCAKES:

  • Use an icecream scoop as a measure to fill cases 2/3 full
  • Don’t use muffin cases in cupcake tins unless you know exactly how much to put in without the batter rising and cases not being able to support it. (Sound silly? Read Cupcakes Fit For A King and Queen)

COOKIES:

  • Use an icecream scoop (or cookie scoop if you’re lucky enough to have one) to measure out equal amounts for each cookie.
  • Roll each amount into a squished ball to get a nice even shape.
  • When cookies come out the oven they may seem very gooey still; they still cook once they’re out so trust the recipe and let them cool.  Once cooled they’ll be beautifully moist.

ICING & DECORATING:

  • Cover the mixing bowl with kitchen foil and make a hole in the middle for the whisk; this will reduce the amount of icing sugar that covers your kitchen after whisking.
  • When dusting with icing sugar/cocoa powder or whatever else that is powdery; put a small amount into a sieve and practice over a plate to get the hang of the best way to ‘shake’ without resulting in sporadic bursts of ‘dusting’ over your cake.
  • If you’re using a piping nozzle, make sure the icing is light enough to actually go through the nozzle.
  • DON’T use fondant icing for small decorations etc. if you have a topping that is very soft i.e. won’t harden over time.  It just makes the fondant melt and the colour to seep.
  • DON’T use a piping nozzle if you’re using icing with bits in e.g. lemon zest (yes, yes, I did make that mistake!)
  • When icing a layer cake: once you’ve put all your layers together, start by covering the whole cake in a crumb coat.  This is a thin layer of icing spread all over the cake, which is allowed to set a bit before adding a second, final layer. Doing this will make your icing come out a lot smoother and won’t have any crumbs peeking through.
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