Do you like cake? Who doesn’t like cake?! (Okay, I think I know one person…You know who you are.) When it comes to making a cake from scratch the pressure can be enormous – especially if you don’t have time to mess one batch up and make another.
The first lesson I received on how to make a cake from scratch was from my grandmother. She stated that all you have to do is read carefully, and be precise in measuring. I would add there are a few techniques that she learned from her mom, and she passed on to mine, which made it’s way to me. However, if this wisdom wasn’t passed down to you for whatever reason, no worries! I’ve got you covered, with a five key pointers when baking a cake from scratch below.
- Use real butter to coat your pans, and sprinkle with flour. Even if your pans are non-stick, trust me – after a cake has baked in it, you will need the extra insurance butter and some flour give you. This is especially true for moist cakes.
- Make sure the baking soda, and baking powder haven’t expired. Yes, it goes bad! (I learned this the hard way once…) If you use these old ingredients your cake will not rise, and won’t be the right texture.
- Let the cake cool off in the pan(s) for 20 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Many recipes don’t tell you this, and it is the biggest offender for a cake that has chunks missing. To determine if the cake will freely release from the pans by just looking at it, see if it has pulled away from the sides of the pan and left a small gap between the pan and the cake. If you have buttered and floured the pans, it will help this process.
- ALWAYS crack raw eggs into a small bowl before adding to the batter. This prevents the practice of fishing egg-shells out the batter, and ensures that you won’t accidentally dump a bad egg into the cake batter.
- Know thy oven. If your oven runs warm, check in on your cake 10-5 minutes early, and if it is cooler, simply keep your cake in longer checking it every 5 minutes or so. DO NOT increase or decrease the temperature. Varying the temperature will result in an uneven baking process, and can result in varying texture throughout your cake.
There you go! Five pointers for making a perfect cake from scratch the first time. Also, if your cake doesn’t turn out that great, try another recipe next time. It can be difficult to find a really good cake recipe, and even the humidity where you live can affect your recipes, so don’t feel bad about it if the first one doesn’t turn out. 🙂
Speaking of great recipes – recently, I made a chocolate cake from scratch for my husband’s birthday (pictured above on this post). It was super delicious! If you want to try the recipe, click here to visit Food&Wine’s website for a generation tested recipe. These types of time-tested recipes are my favorite. I hope you can pluck up the courage and maybe try it out this weekend.
Have a happy weekend, friends!