We all tend to learn from trial-and-error, so don’t be disappointed if your baking goes wrong at times .. we’ve all been there and done that! :). Here are a few things that i’ve learnt through my baking experiments! Hope they help! If there are any baking tips you would like to share too, then please do email us at thebakealogue@gmail.com.

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CAKE: 

Here’s a tip on what to do with leftover cake … make Cake Pops! I’ve included step-by-step pics to make it easier to follow. The only thing you need to be careful of is the kind of melted chocolate you use. Any chocolate won’t do for Cake Pops as it needs compound chocolate, in other words chocolate that will harden quickly (otherwise it will keep dripping) .. Aero Bubbles chocolate is my preferred choice to melt!

Cake Pops

Here are the 6 simple steps to follow:

1. Crumble your leftover cake in a food processor or just using your hands.
2. Add either jam or any frosting of your choice to the crumbled cake. Make sure you add a little at a time until the mixture is moist enough and can hold a round shape.
3. Shape equal-sized round cake balls. Insert the cake pop stick halfway through the cake ball and refrigerate for a few minutes.
4. Melt the compound chocolate using the double-boiler method. Always a good idea to use a deep sized bowl as it makes the dipping process easier.
5. Dip the cake ball in the melted chocolate until it is completely covered. Keep swirling until all the excess chocolate has dripped off.
6. Add sprinkles or any decor of your choice before the chocolate hardens. Enjoy!

DID YOU  KNOW? 

“To prevent your cookies from spreading too much, chill the dough for at least an hour prior to baking. Sometimes omitting baking powder from the recipe also helps!”

“To help keep your cake moist, mix some water or fruit syrup (1 cup) with sugar (1/2 cup) and allow the mixture to come to a boil. With the help of a skewer poke some holes in your cake and apply the syrup mixture over the cooled cake with the help of a pastry brush “

” To avoid the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the batter, always mix them with a little flour in a separate bowl and keep aside. When you are ready to give your batter the final mix, add the fruit then and fold lightly with the help of a spatula.”

“To prevent the tart base from going soggy, add a thin layer of apricot glaze over it, after it has baked and cooled. The base will then remain crispy even after the filling has been added.”

COMMON CAKE PROBLEMS: 

Cake got cracks on top or sank in the middle? 

I would say getting tiny cracks on top of the cake is quite normal which can of course be covered while levelling or icing the cake. But if you’re getting huge cracks, then you’re definitely doing something wrong. Here are a few reasons that can help solve the problem ….
  • Opening the oven door within the first 15-20 minutes to check on your cake. Just as beauty takes time, cakes are no different … let them bake in peace!
  • Over-mixing i.e beating the mixture too much after adding the flour. That is why it is always a good idea to use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold the mixture gently after adding the flour. That would prevent too much air getting into the batter.
  • Your butter and sugar was not creamed together properly. When I started out baking I used to make the same mistake of throwing in all the ingredients together and just mixing it. But if a recipe suggests a certain order in which to do things, then there must be a good reason behind it. 🙂
  • Under-baking the cake. We understand the wonderful baking aroma is hard to resist and we just want to eat it all up asap. But if a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake does not come out entirely clean, then the cake is not done being baked!
  • The baking powder you used has gone too old. Always best to use fresh ingredients for baking.
  • Never set your oven at a very high temperature. Always pre-heat your oven before you start baking.
  • It is essential to weigh out the cake ingredients accurately as every little amount matters.
Cake got stuck to the baking tin? 
I still remember the days when I started off baking and had this problem … my solution back then was to keep the cake tin base on and serve the cake! lol … Pleased to say i’ve advanced a lot from that stage now. If only I knew I was making such a small mistake that was causing it … *sigh* … oh well, in case you find  yourself in that frustrating zone as well, here are a few reasons of what you might be doing wrong ….
  • Your baking tin was not greased properly. Never forget to grease the bottom and sides of your cake tin, followed by flour which would then absorb the excess amount of oil.
  • Cooling the cake completely in the pan. You’ve allowed your cake to get too cosy if you’ve done that! 🙂 .. What I usually do is to leave the cake in the baking tin for 5 – 10 minutes to adapt to the new temperature. Then I run a butter knife around the cake tin to make sure the sides don’t stick to the tin. Turn the cake over on a wire rack, and very gently remove the cake tin base. Always keep the butter knife in hand in case the cake does stick in some places. Sometimes placing a hot tea towel on the base of the cake tin also helps.
  • Sometimes under-baking also results in the same problem as then the cake has not had enough time to set/firm properly.

BASIC TIPS: 

  • Invest in a proper weighing scale! Trust me, I’ve learnt this the hard way … if you want to get accurate baking results then you’re easier off just weighing out the ingredients rather than worrying about conversions as different recipes tend to use different metric units.
  • Your oven should always be pre-heated and the baking tin greased and ready to be used before starting any recipe.
  • Rising agents such as baking soda or baking powder act fast. Make sure you add them right at the end and put the mixture straight into the oven without long delays.
  • All ingredients must be at room temperature while baking (unless baking pastries where the recipe will specifically require you to use cold butter).
  • Get to know your oven a little! This would help a great deal in avoiding under-baked or overdone cakes. I tend to bake at 180 degrees unless the recipe specifically mentions otherwise.
  • When cooling biscuits, always transfer them to a wire rack. If you leave them on the baking tray or a plate then they would turn soggy.
  • Whenever you bake cookies, always chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour or in the freezer for 20 minutes if you’re in a rush. But remember, the more you chill the cookie dough, the lesser it would spread out at the time of rolling!
  • The cake should always be cooled completely before you start icing! Yes, it sounds like a ‘duhhh’ tip but sometimes a freshly baked cake in front of you can really test your patience … but remember, good things come to those who wait (and bake!) 🙂
  • When baking cupcakes, never fill the cases up to the top as this would result in over-flowing at the time of baking. Always fill the cases 3/4 full. Yes, it seems very little at the time, but that will change once the cupcake is done baking! 🙂

 

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Take your baking up a notch with our new ‘baking tips’ section … | The Bake-a-logue

  2. Pingback: Baking Tip of the Day! | The Bake-a-logue

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