Tricky Tuesday #18: Cake/Baking Tips & Tricks

Hello, fellow foodies and friends!

Sorry for not bring to post (under this series) for the last two weeks (?) because you know what happens when life gets in the way.

Anyway, I am back with some tips for bakers out there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

While taking a rest from work, I stumbled upon some amazing tricks in baking and below are my favorites:

Enhancers:

  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of meringue powder to your mix to help it rise a bit higher and make it a bit lighter in texture.
  • Add 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin to the batter, helps prevent the surface from splitting or cracking.
  • First add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the butter and sugar called for before mixing the rest of the ingredients. Helps make the cake lighter.
  • Take your time creaming the butter, beat/cream for at least 5 minutes to get lots of air into the butter. Add the sugar and beat/cream really well again.
  • Separate eggs firstโ€“beat yolks till golden and creamy then add to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat the egg whites until light and frothy before folding them into the butter mixture.

Moister:

  • Chocolate: Before adding the bicarb required, mix it with a teaspoon of vinegar.

Sifting:

  • Measure all ingredients to exact amounts first, then sift.

Prepping Tins:

Sample Homemade Magic Pan Grease: You can buy Magic Grease or make your own. This is used as a substitute to greasing then dusting with flour when directed to do so. Keep unused portion in an airtight container and refrigerate to use next time.

First Version: Mix 1 cup shortening (like Crisco), 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup vegetable oil and apply evenly with a pastry brush.

Second: 2 cups of Crisco and 1 cup of flour

More greasing tips:

  • Apply with a paper cupcake holder, a paper towel, a piece of wax paper, the butter wrapper paper or a plastic baggy. You could also use a pastry brush.
  • Try dusting the tins with a bit of the dry cake mix or cocoa (for chocolate) instead of flour.

Getting It Level:

  • Once youโ€™ve poured the batter in, wobble the pan sideways a bit so the batter reaches up along each side (with the middle being slightly lower). As it bakes the middle and edges will meet and rise more evenly.

Oven:

  • Preheat the oven first before starting, make sure the rack is in the center (unless directed differently) and keep tin in the center of the rack. If youโ€™re baking more than one at a time, keep them at least 2โ€ณ away from the walls of the oven and from each other.

Problems with Sticking To Tin:

  • Place a thick, clean towel in the kitchen sink and pour a kettle of boiling hot water over the towel to heat it (donโ€™t plug the sink to retain the water, allow it to drain out). Set the pan on the hot towel and leave it for a minute or two, the cake should turn out easily.
  • Turn pan over on a sheet of wax paper or a cooling rack. Place a clean, thin cotton towel on top and using a hot steam iron, heat the bottom for a few minutes. The tin should lift off cleanly.
  • Cool cakes completely in the pans before trying to remove them. Donโ€™t cool on the stove where thereโ€™s heat, theyโ€™re best cooled on a rack placed on the counter. Gently insert a knife between the outside of the cake and the inside of the tin. Run it along the edges to loosen things up before turning over.

Angel Food:

  • When done, take it directly from the oven and place it upside down on the neck of a bottle. This will help prevent the cake from falling as it cools. After 30 minutes, you can turn it over then remove from pan once cooled.

Frosting & Icing:

  • Donโ€™t attempt to ice it until itโ€™s completely cool. Dust the surface lightly with a pastry brush first, helps reduce crumbs in the icing.
  • First ice with a thin layer, then refrigerate (covered). After an hour you can do a complete frosting job. This helps keep the crumbs at bay and your outer frosting layer should be crumb free.
  • Have a bag of chocolate chips on hand? Just sit the whole bag in a bowl of very hot water, and mush the bag up every couple of minutes until all the chocolate has melted and there are no lumps. Snip the corner of the bag and squeeze out the melted chocolate directly onto the surface.
  • To help prevent a flaking or cracking, add a pinch of bicarb when mixing the frosting.
  • If icing is a bit too thin or runny, lightly dust the surface with flour then spread the icing. This will help hold it in place.
  • For single layers, turn upside down before icing so that the top is perfectly flat and even. When icing two rounds or squares, place a layer of frosting on one round, then place the other round upside down on top for a perfectly flat surface.

Keep Cut Slices Fresh:

Once you start slicing, the exposed or cut sides can dry out quickly. Hereโ€™s a way to keep things fresh:

  • Wrap the leftover cake with a few slices of apple or cubes of sugar or a slice of fresh bread set inside the pan (or in the open space of the plate). Make sure to store it in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap.

So what are your favorites? Leave them on the comments below. Itโ€™s fun to know if we share the same favorite(s). ๐Ÿ˜€

Click here for more and some possible reasons why a cake fails. ย 

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14 thoughts on “Tricky Tuesday #18: Cake/Baking Tips & Tricks

    1. I always have the spray one (store-bought, of course), but I may have to try the same trick as yours when it’s empty. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Julie. โค

    1. I have never heard of the same as well, Anjana. As what I have understood from the conversation I had with my BFF (Google), some others add it to the dry ingredients. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you heard about the Wilton Even Strips? It think that also helps. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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