Here is a list of secrets that will encourage you to bake the cake at home.
Baking is as much a science as it is an art and if done correctly you can prepare things even better than your local bakery shop. Read on to know about 10 secrets of baking the cakes.
Mix the ingredients correctly. Preparing cakes is a lot like an experiment where things are added in a particular order to initiate the reaction. Butter cakes (pound, layered cake) should be prepared by first creaming fat with sugar and then add eggs, which is followed by incorporating the dry ingredient and the liquid source alternatively to get that soft and moist texture. Cakes such as an angel, sponge, chiffon have an airy texture where the egg or egg white is whipped until voluminous and then folded into the batter.
Use oven correctly. Use an oven thermometer to cook the cakes perfectly. You can either use a tooth pick or slightly press center of the cake to check its doneness. If the wooden tooth pick comes out clean or cake springs back upon pressing, then it is done.
Choose the correct baking pan. Cake increases in volume during baking and if an incorrect baking pan is used the cake would over flow. Dark or glass baking pans require a 25 degrees reduction in baking temperature as compared to the aluminum pans.
Pick the correct flour. Cake flour has least protein and results in an extra light texture as compared to the bread flour which has more protein/ gluten and results in a denser product.
Weigh the ingredients. Use a kitchen scale to accurately measure the flour because if the flour is tightly packed you can measure higher quantity in a cup than required.
Value the ingredients. Flour gives cake the structure and thickens the batter. Do not over mix it. Leavening agents like baking powder or soda produce carbon dioxide that gets trapped in the batter and expands during baking. Fat source provides moisture and controls gluten formation to give the cake a tender texture. Sugar also breaks the gluten, absorbs excess liquid, keeps the cake moist, caramelizes on baking, and enriches the cake flavors. Eggs help the cake to set as it firms up on cooking and egg yolk contains lecithin, which acts as an emulsifier and helps the fat and water to mix that gives the cake an even texture.
Cool the cakes. Cool cakes before removing them from the pan and then gently tap an inverted cake to release it.
Frost correctly. Put a little frosting at the center of the cake plate before placing the cake layer on it to restrict movement of cake while frosting it. Frost the cake twice as the first layer will hold the crumb coat. You should freeze the cake for 15 minutes before frosting it with the second layer.
Handle the fondant well. Fondant cakes look beautiful but they don’t taste very good and fondant should be used and handled carefully.
Geography matters. There is a low air pressure at high altitudes, which can make the cake to rise more and dry out quickly as the liquids in it evaporate faster. So, people living above 3500 feet should increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and liquids by 2 tablespoons for each cup measured. Decrease 1 tablespoon of sugar from each cup, baking time by 5 minutes, and 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder from each teaspoon used.