The soft, spongy bakery cakes covered with delicious frosting are an irresistible treat. They make the perfect centrepieces for your dessert table and a delectable culmination to your celebrations. However, if you want to recreate the ideal bakery-style cake at home but feel intimidated by the idea, we have got you covered.
Baking cakes is a form of science that requires a few core ingredients combined in the correct sequence to create a homogenous mixture. When done right, the end result is a crumbly texture that feels moist on the palette.
You need quality ingredients, the essential baking tools and equipment, a decent oven, and a great recipe. As long as you’ve covered the essentials, you should be able to make a mouthwatering cake at home.
Here are a few baking tips and rules to follow:
Follow the recipe
When baking a cake, you cannot adjust the recipe according to your preference. Instead, you must follow the recipe meticulously since slight variations or substituting ingredients can drastically change the final product. In addition, you can only use alternative ingredients if they are recommended in the recipe and are tried and tested.
Moreover, choose a recipe from a reliable source for a perfect cake every time. There are millions of recipes online, but not all of them yield delicious results. If you are unsure, read the reviews under the recipe to better understand people’s experience with it.
Use the correct baking pans
Bakeries use high-quality baking pans since they affect the baking time, crust, texture, and look of the cake. Next, you want a pan size as close to the one used in the recipe as possible. If the pan is too big, your cake will be denser, while a smaller pan increases baking time, making the exterior hard.
Before you begin mixing your ingredients, prepare the baking pan by lining it with parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan. You can also brush it with softened butter or oil, followed by a light flour dusting. However, use the fat sparingly to avoid burning the cake’s bottom.
Allow ingredients to come to room temperature
Most recipes call for ingredients at room temperature because using products straight from the fridge can prevent the cake from living up to its potential. Cold ingredients also do not emulsify quickly, increasing the chances of over mixing and affecting the cake texture. On the other hand, room temperature ingredients gel together seamlessly, creating an evenly baked texture.
Moreover, creaming room temperature butter and sugar trap air later expand during baking, making the cake soft and fluffy. Similarly, the protein in the eggs at room temperature can trap air bubbles better than cold eggs that might curdle the fat resulting in a lumpy batter.
Measure the ingredients accurately
It is imperative to measure the ingredients down to the last gram or millilitre, as slight deviance from the recipe can end in a disaster. Therefore, use a measuring scale, measuring cups, and measuring spoons for accuracy.
Avoid packing in ingredients like flour, sugar, and baking powder in the measuring utensils and level the contents using the back of the knife before dumping them into your mixing bowl. The correct quantities guarantee a perfect cake consistently.
Prepare the batter gently
When you incorporate air in the batter, it results in a soft, crumbly, fluffy texture. Therefore, take your time creaming the butter and sugar until the mixture looks airy and lightened in colour. Sift your dry ingredients a couple of time to add air to them, making it easier to fold them with the wet ingredients.
Mix your ingredients gently and just until they are combined. Overworking the batter and vigorous mixing over-develops the gluten and knocks out all the air, simultaneously, resulting in heavy, hardened cakes, cupcakes, and muffins.
Maintain the oven temperature
Make sure to preheat your oven for around twenty minutes before placing your cake inside. Preheating ensures that your cake is cooked correctly. Conversely, if the range is not hot enough, it will affect how your cake rises and its texture.
Once you have popped the cake inside, do not open the oven door since it lets in the cool air causing the rising cake to collapse. Only open the oven door at the end of the baking time to check for doneness and remove the cake.
Invest in an oven thermometer to ensure the accuracy of the inside temperature. Then, when your oven is at the right temperature, you are bound to consistently have a perfect, bakery-style cake texture.
Make sure the cake is baked
Once the stated baking time has elapsed, open the oven and insert the skewer in the centre. If it comes out clean with only a few crumbs, your cake is ready to be taken out of the oven. You can also gently press down on the cake to see if it is baked thoroughly. If your finger leaves a dent, the cake needs a few more minutes in the oven, but if it bounces back, you can remove it.
Decorate your cake
Allow your cake to cool down completely in the pan on a wire rack before you begin decorating it, or else it will melt your frosting ending in a disaster. The key to a perfect looking cake, frosted to perfection, is the right equipment. First, invest in a high-quality cake turntable that rotates smoothly and an offset spatula for scooping and smoothing the frosting onto the cake. Next, line the cake’s bottom with strips of waxed paper. When you are done frosting, you can remove the strips for clean edges.
Making bakery-style cakes is all about using the right tools, perfect technique, quality ingredients, and a reliable recipe. High-standard baking tools and equipment make your job far more accessible and more sensible. Moreover, take your time measuring, creaming, and mixing the ingredients as rushing through the recipe will be evident in your final product. If you follow the recipe methodically, your cake will turn out soft, moist, and delicious every time.