Tips, Tricks & Ideas

11 Secrets to Successful Cakes

June 17, 2017
You don't have to be a baking pro to perfect a homemade cake. Follow these simple tips, and you'll wow your family and friends with your next cake creation.
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1. Use shiny metal pans.

Aluminum pans reflect heat away from the cake and give it a tender, light-brown crust. Dark pans can cause cakes to have a thick, dark crust.

2. Use the right-sized pan.

As tempting as it can be, be sure to use the exact-size pan that’s listed in the recipe. Otherwise, baking time and temp will be off, and your cake might be over- or under-baked.

3. Prep the pan according to recipe instructions.

Don't substitute butter and flour for baking spray, or vice versa. Check to see if the recipe specifies how far up the pan you should grease.

4. Heat the oven 10 to 15 minutes before baking.

This helps makes sure that every inch of the oven is all the way up to temperature when your cake goes in.

5. Measure ingredients accurately.

The absolute best way to measure ingredients is by weight using a food scale.

6. Don’t over- or under-beat the batter.

Pay close attention to how much the recipe says to beat the batter. An over- or under-beaten batter can cause a cake not to rise correctly or can create an unpleasant texture.

7. Fill pans halfway.

Overfilling pans can cause cakes to overflow or fall in the middle.

8. Give pans breathing room in the oven.

If you're baking more than one pan at a time, make sure there is enough space between them for the heat to circulate.

9. Cool cakes completely before layering, frosting, and decorating.

A warm cake is much more likely to crumble or fall.

10. Be serving-size savvy.

If you're baking for a group, here's a handy guide for knowing what size cake will serve the whole crowd.

 

Size of Cake Serves
8- or 9-inch square cake 6 to 9
8- or 9-inch layer cake 12 to 16
13x9-inch rectangular cake 12 to 16
10x4-inch tube cake 16 to 20
12-cup Bundt® cake* 16 to 20

* Bundt® is a registered trademark of Northland Aluminum Products, Inc.

11. Keep a close eye on your cake.

Check for doneness at the minimum baking time. Then check at one-minute intervals until the cake is done. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and when the top is rounded, smooth, and springs back when lightly touched in the center.

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Want to brush up your Vocabulary? Refer to our Baker's Glossary