While store-bought, perfect cakes make a great accompaniment to an event or celebration, there’s nothing quite like a home-made cake. Whether it’s the extra love and care we put into them or the satisfaction of knowing that we made the perfect cake, home-made cakes are simply the best.
However, we haven’t all been blessed by the cake gods with exceptional cooking skills. So if you’re trying to make the perfect home-made cake, you’re in the right place. These 11 great tips for making the perfect cake are all you need.
Find the perfect recipe for your cake
Firstly, you need the right recipe. And there are a lot out there. The internet is full to the brim of recipes that claim to give you the perfect cake every time. But the true secret is so much more than the recipe itself. The recipe is the first step.
Most home-made cake recipes will follow a similar recipe each time, along the lines of:
- Wet ingredients go first into your bowl, usually by creaming together butter and sugar, then adding eggs and vanilla essence. Some recipes will use milk or oil to make the cake moister.
- Next go the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder)
- Any additional ingredients such as flavoring, fruit, or chocolate chips
So, as long as your recipe follows this rough process, then you can create a beautiful cake.
Use the best ingredients
According to rosalindmillercakes Your cake ingredients are equally as important as the recipe itself, for obvious reasons. It’s simple: the higher the quality ingredients you use, the better your cake will be. Like most other food, organic ingredients are the better option as they don’t contain pesticides or any other nasty chemicals.
Measure your ingredients out correctly
Unless you’re a bonafide baking extraordinaire, you’ll need to measure out your cake ingredients accurately. To get the best results, be as accurate as possible with your measurements. This also means ensuring that you have enough of each ingredient. While it may be tempting to skimp on some of your ingredients, it won’t be worth it in the end. If you are missing some flour, an egg, or the correct sugar, it’s best to go and buy some more before baking your cake.
Make sure your ingredients are at the right temperature
You may be tempted to simply grab everything from the fridge and get started with your cake, but this could actually jeopardize the end result! One of the lesser-known baking secrets is that your ingredients should be at room temperature before using them. Of course, with your cupboard ingredients like sugar, flour, and baking powder, this won’t be a problem. But with the ingredients that you find in the fridge, that must be left until they’re at room temperature. These include:
- Sour cream
When you leave the ingredients to reach room temperature before preparing your cake, your butter will be able to be creamed properly and your cake won’t be too cold before going in the oven, which can affect the density and cooking time of your cake.
Follow the steps of your recipe
This may seem like an obvious one, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t follow the steps of their recipe and end up with a misshapen cake. If your recipe says you should cream your butter and sugar for two minutes, then you should get mixing for two whole minutes.
Don’t substitute ingredients
This is another big no-no with a cake recipe. If you try to substitute ingredients, you could mess up the whole recipe. This is because cakes are all about balance. Each ingredient compliments the other to produce the right texture and taste in your cake. So unless you’re a professional baker, we’d recommend sticking to the recipe.
Grease the pan properly
There’s no worse feeling than getting your perfectly baked cake out of the oven to have it stick to the tin. To avoid all your hard work getting left in the baking tin, make sure you grease the pan properly before baking. Use butter and baking paper to make sure that each part of the baking tin is greased and covered so that your cake won’t stick.
Let your oven fully pre-heat
Another easy mistake to make is by not letting your oven pre-heat to the temperature needed to bake your cake. If you put your cake in the oven before it’s heating up properly then your cake won’t get the chance to cook properly. At the same time, if the oven is too hot then your cake will burn on the outside and be raw on the inside.
Bake in the center of the oven
You should let your cake bake in the middle of the oven because the heat distribution is best here. This means you’ll get a nice even cook throughout your cake, and it won’t be too hard on the top.
Let it cool properly before decorating
Before you delve into the decoration of your cake (which is by far the most fun part), you need to let your cake cool fully. If you do add icing or other decorations while your cake is still too warm, then they could melt and not set properly.
Decorate like a pro
After your cake is all cooked and cooled, it’s time to decorate! To create the perfect cake, you need to add your finishing touches. Icing and decorations can also add extra flavors and tastes to your cake too.
Here are a few of the latest trends in cake decorating that you might want to try your hand at:
- Mirror glaze – this is done by using gelatin (so not suitable for Muslims or vegetarians) in a liquid icing formula which is then poured over the cake. It creates a great mirror-effect and looks a lot more impressive than it is to do.
- Icing flowers – these can easily be made with buttercream icing and a piping bag, or roll-out icing that you can hand shape yourself.
Lastly, you need to practice practice practice! Like any other activity, practice really does make perfect. The more your bake, the more you learn and develop your cooking skills and intuition.