15 Cake Baking Tips for Beginners
Cake, the holy grail of baked goods and desserts. It’s usually the first thing that comes to our minds when anyone talks about baking. Many young and old have a great liking of this dessert. Due to its popularity, people around the world are keen on learning how to bake a cake either from home by watching internet videos, reading cookbooks and articles, watching cooking shows on TV or taking up cake baking courses for beginners.
The traditional cake cutting ceremony has become a signature sign of celebrating something which has influenced a lot of cultural and social events nowadays. There always seems to be a cake for almost every occasion – whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, wedding or even a bridal shower. Cakes are always there as a must item to light up any celebration. With its growing popularity day by day in many cultures, cakes have now become one of the biggest desserts Industry. People now have started taking up cake baking as a professional cooking career and even cake baking as an art form as well. Creating innovative or art inspired cake structures and eye catching decorative cake presentations that is giving more meaning to this dessert than just simply baking a cake was.
If all this information has motivated to get a cake of your own, then why not bake one for yourself? If you’re baking beginner, then we have a few tips for you to get started on your cake baking path:
1. Do Your Research
Before you dive head first into making that chocolate cake recipe you saw in videos on the internet, make sure to do a little research on this popular dessert beforehand. Get to know a little bit about the key Ingredients and varieties. Read the cake glossary to learn about the terminology given in the recipes, to help in understanding the process of baking a cake. This process will build your confidence in baking a cake for the first time.
2. Varieties of Cake
Cakes can come in many varieties of flavors, layers, icings, textures, sizes, and shapes, for example, ice cream cake, malt cake, cheesecake, fondant cake, 3-tier cake, etc. The most common types of cake bases include butter cake, sponge cake, chiffon cake, chocolate cake, coffee cake, baked flour less cakes (e.g.: cheesecake) and butter or oil-based cakes (e.g.: devil food cake and carrot cake). Knowing the structure and qualities of certain cakes will help with the process of baking as well as encouraging to make more types or simpler varieties.
3. Setting It Up
After you’re done searching, analyzing and selecting the recipe you want to make, Now it’s time to get into action! Make a list of all the ingredients you need to buy and make sure you stick to ingredients as well as the methods in the recipe. Ones you have assembled all the things needed for the recipe, get started on that baking.
4. Choosing the Right Tools to Bake
When it comes to baking, precision, measurements, and timing are everything. So make sure you have the right tools for this job. From measuring spoons and cups, right size of a cake pan, metal whisks, perfectly working oven and a hand beater is all you need to start baking on a cake. If you’re not aware of all the tools used for baking, you can always research on cake baking courses for beginners and take a few classes to learn more about the different tools that can help you.
5. Mixing the Cake: Folding or Beating
When all your ingredients are mixed together in a bowl, you are required to mix with either a beating or folding method. Anyone of these methods can be used but keep in mind that both of them give out different results with respect to the cake moisture and texture. The folding method is done through hand mixing with a plastic spatula and the beating method is done through an electric beater.
6. Preheat your Oven
This is one step that a beginner usually tends to forget. This also happens to be one of the most important steps that needs to be taken before you start baking as preheating an oven takes time. Doing this beforehand saves you your precious baking & serving time.
7. Choosing the Right Pan
Make sure you invest in a non-stick pan. Bakeware pans come in many varieties and shapes. Using high quality, non-stick or a silicone pans can help a lot with easy cake pullout as well as distributing heat evenly when the cake is baking.
8. Know your Flour
There are many types of flours, but for baking all-purpose flour is used most of the times. But make sure to use “Cake flour”. This flour is specially made for cake baking (hence the name). This helps to create texture, moistness and give rise to the cake.
9. Melting the Chocolate
If you’re thinking of making a chocolate cake or cake pops on which you want to drizzle heavenly chocolate ganache, there’s a specific method you have to follow to melt the chocolate.. Chocolate can be melted in many ways, you can either do it using a microwave oven, double boiling method, putting in hot cream or (if not tempered chocolate) leave it at room temperature. You can also join cake baking courses for beginners to learn more from experts about the different ways to melt chocolate.
10. Filling the Pans
Before pouring the cakes gooey goodness in the pan make sure to fill ⅔ of pan with batter. This way, your cake can have room to rise without bursting over the edges.
11. The Toothpick Test
This method is used to determine whether your cake is ready or not. Stick a toothpick in the middle (or all around) the cake when it’s done baking. If the bottom of the toothpick is wet with cake batter then the cake needs to go back in the oven and if the toothpick comes out clean then your cake is ready.
12. Cake Layering
The process of cutting and layering the cake perfectly can be a challenging task, as this process requires that you have a steady hand and enough practice. In case you lack in both these departments, there are few tricks and tips you can use to get that perfect cut.
- Use the toothpick method by aligning toothpicks around the side of the cake to slice the middle of the cake horizontally in an even manner.
- Cut cardboard to any shape you want the cake to have.
- Place the shaped cardboard on top of the separated cake layers and cut out the excess edges.
- Spread the filling onto the separated slices and arrange these sliced layers on top of each other.
- Finally, spread icing all over the cake.
13. Frosting your Cake
Finally done with baking? Now comes the fun and tricky part, the frosting. To get a fine coat of frosting all around your cake, make sure you first apply the “crumb coat” and leave it in the freezer for a few hours so it sets. Once it is set, you can apply the remaining frosting and icing without the cake falling apart.
14. Muffins, Cupcakes and Brownies
Muffins, cupcakes, and brownies can’t be called cakes, but they all have the common ingredients. The only difference is that they follow simpler methods than baking a cake. Each of these things have their own identity and charm in the dessert and baking world. While cake might be more of a celebratory or elaborate dessert, these three can be eaten or made any day due to their baking methods being easier. However, you still need to follow proper guidelines and measurements even when making brownies, muffins or cupcakes.
15. Storing Baking Products
When you are finally done with the task of making your first cake, make sure to safely store the remaining ingredients in a tight, sealed jar. Label the jar with their name and expiry date so that you can easily identify and dispose off the expired ones later on.
Hope these tips and tricks helped you with your initial baking exercise. If you want to improve your baking skills with the help of a professional guide then check out our Dessert MasterClass with Chef Zain and enhance your baking skills to perfection in our hands-on workshop.
You can also join our cake baking courses for beginners if you’re just starting out as an amateur baker.
And lastly, keep trying new baking recipes, as you know what they say “practice makes perfect!”.