These tips, tricks and hacks will aid novices and experts alike in their journey towards being Star Baker and give them confidence in their cakes and bakes too.
Ingredients at room temp!
Always make sure your baking ingredients are at ROOM TEMPERATURE before you start! This will help them combine properly, avoid any curdling and ensure you achieve the best texture.
Working with buttercream or spreading icing?
Make sure that you clean off your knife between strokes. This will ensure a neater finish and avoid the icing from becoming stuck on your tools rather than gliding onto your cake surface.
Don’t forget to preheat your oven!
Putting your cake into the oven before it's preheated will affect how well your cake bakes, including the height, density, shape and texture.
Always factor in time for your cakes to cool!
Cooling time is really important. Never try to assemble or ice a cake even if it's slightly warm, as your icing will likely melt and become messy.
Always read and re-read a recipe fully before starting!
Often baking or cake making is simple but certain elements need a bit of planning, and reading the recipe carefully will save you from coming unstuck!
Good tips for lining cake tins!
- Cut a couple of inches off the end of a fresh roll of baking parchment before you use it – then you have a long strip of paper that you can use to wrap around any size tin and tear off as you need, rather than cutting lots of individual strips of paper to cover the sides of your tins. It makes it much quicker and you’ll still have enough left on the roll to cover large baking sheets.
- The other top tip for lining cake tins is to leave a slight excess of baking parchment, as this means you can lift your cake out of the tin super easily.
Looking to halve your eggs?
The easiest way is to whisk the whole egg together in a bowl then take out two tablespoons of the combined egg mix.
If you're slicing a cake horizontally, no matter how carefully you slice with a bread knife, or even a cake leveller – it will always be a little wonky! A great tip to avoid this is to slice a little nick in the side edge of the whole cake with a serrated knife before slicing in half, then, once you have filled it, when you put it together you can use that little cut mark as a guide to match up the two halves.
Trim any lumps off of the top of your cakes to make them flat and level if you're wanting to layer up sponges to create a showstopper cake. This will ensure you have a perfectly straight top. Any trimmings can be saved and used for trifles.
Keep the oven door closed!
Don’t forget – the secret to ensuring a good bake is to keep the oven door closed when baking! Try and limit the number of times you open the door to check on your cake as this can reduce heat fluctuations.
Bakes on the dry side?
Wrapping your cakes in cling film when they come out of the oven will ensure your sponges stay nice and moist!
Decorating with coloured icing
A great tip for decorating with coloured icings is to go for gel colours rather than liquid ones. This will ensure your colours are vibrant but don’t affect the consistency. Liquid colours often lead to runny icing, which leads to a messy finish that’s easily avoided.
When decorating, if you want to spin a cake around but you haven’t got a cake table, a favourite hack is using a microwave plate, complete with its ring/bearings! It’s a great cheat and really helpful!