10 Simple Tricks to Bake a Better Cake

Happy Labor Day! Hope you are able to relax some today, and enjoy time with your family. I will be busy baking cupcakes for a work cook-out tonight, that should be fun! We had some family come up yesterday, it was great to spend time with them.

Today I'm sharing another installment of my Cake Decorating Tricks and Tips series. The last two post have shared different items you can use to help with cake decorating. Each of these items saved you time and money! Today's topic is slightly different. In order to have a beautifully decorated cake, you first need to have a great looking (and tasting) cake.

I have compiled a list of 10 simple tricks you can do to help bake a better cake. A cake that is baked evenly (and tastes good) is the essential first step to cake decorating. I have done a lot of baking lately, and have gotten a ton of advice from other bakers. Some of these tricks might seem a little odd, but they help bake efficiently and evenly. Anything you do that I have left off?

Here are my 10 simple tricks to improve the quality and taste of your next cake:
  • Warm up cold ingredients (eggs, butter, milk) to room temperature. Simply put, these ingredients just combine better at room temperature and create a more evenly mixed batter. Now there are certain times when you want cold butter (baking biscuits, making pie crusts), but for cakes, it is best to have it at room temperature.
  • Look for recipes that use sour cream to create a more moist cake (for white cakes).  My favorite doctored white cake mix recipe basically replaces the cup of water with a cup of sour cream, the cake is so moist!
  • Make sure you follow your recipe and mix for the amount of time given. Both under mixing and over mixing can create issues in your cake. You want to mix until you have a creamy batter with everything incorporated and no lumps. Uneven cakes, cakes with a crater in the middle, or cakes with cracks can all be caused by over and under baking.
  • Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature at the center of the oven when the oven signals it is preheated. When preheating, a lot of times ovens will signal that they are at temperature, but only the location around the sensor is truly at that temperature. 
  • Spray the cake pan with LOTS of cooking spray! Keeping your cake in the pan too long is what can make it soggy, not too much cooking spray.  While you obviously don't want a pool of spray in the pan, a healthy coating will do wonders for getting the cake out unharmed.
  • Take the temp down 25 degrees if using a larger pan. This keeps the outside from baking too quickly, which can cause the outside to harden while the center is still doughy.
  • Use a heating core for large cakes (10 inch round or larger). This metal device is placed at the center of the cake, and will heat up in the oven (just like the pan does). This creates a more even baking, heating up from the outside AND the inside.  
  • Don't completely pull the cake out to check it, use a cake tester (or toothpick) with the cake still in the oven. When pulled completely out, the cake pan will immediately start losing heat and it will take longer to get back to temperature if it needs to bake longer.
  • Cool on a cooling rack. Placing the cake pan up on a cooling rack allows air to flow below the cake pan and more efficiently and quickly cool the cake.
  • Wait 10 minutes before removing cake from the pan.  There's something magical about that amount of time. If you try to transfer the cake from the pan to a cake board too much sooner, or later, you can have issues with the cake falling apart or getting stuck.
Hope these suggestions help you make a cake that tastes as good as it looks!

I am SO excited to announce a week long party I am hosting next week (Sept 8-14)! Since Fall is just around the corner, I am doing a week long tribute to my favorite fall flavor - apples. I'll have recipes I've made, recipes and crafts from Pinterest, and even a chance for you to share YOUR apple ideas. More detail will be coming, including the posting schedule. But, for now I'll leave you with my party button. Don't forget, it's coming September 8th! Follow me on social media, or follow my blog, to get the latest updates.

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