Is there anything better than a freshly baked cake? Well, there probably is, but let’s be honest, anticipation levels are always high when there is a cake baking in the oven. There are the lovely smells emanating from the kitchen, for starters, and then there’s the moment when you eat the fruit of your labors. Yummy! Of course, life isn’t simple and the final results of your efforts in the kitchen could be disastrous. From burnt cakes to buns that are flatter than they ought to be, all kinds of things can go wrong when baking. With this in mind then, consider the following. Whether you’re a dab hand in the kitchen already or if you’re just getting into baking, these are the baking mistakes you don’t want to make.
Mistake #1: Getting confused with your ingredients
When baking, you should always follow the recipe. Otherwise, it can be very easy to make baking mistakes, especially when you assume you should be using one ingredient over another. Using baking powder when you should be using baking soda is a big no-no, for example, as is using plain flour when you should be using self-raising flour. Your cake won’t appear as it should if you use the wrong ingredients, so stick to whatever it says on the page.
Mistake #2: Not using a measuring scale
You could use the cup method of measuring when sorting your ingredients, but it’s important to know that this isn’t always accurate. Some recipes call for a measuring scale because adding too much or too little of something could have consequences for the cake you are attempting to bake. Any type of measuring scale will do (for baking, not your weight), but these are considered to be the best measuring scales by some which will almost surely keep you from making baking mistakes.
Mistake #3: Not being adventurous
Don’t bore your family with your baking! Be creative and veer away from the usual cakes you bake in the kitchen. Learn new recipes, practice different techniques, and tempt your family with a little out of the norm. Of course, if you would rather stick to tried-and-tested recipes, you could still do something new with the cake after pulling it out of the oven. You could add sprinkles of pecan nuts or add a layer of fruit to the icing, for example. You might want to add cream cheese to your ermine frosting. Or you could coat your cake in syrup, strawberry sauce, or anything else that your family might enjoy.
Mistake #4: Not preheating the oven
Yes, we know it can be aggravating when it takes an age for the oven to warm up. However, wait you must, as putting the cake in the oven when it’s not at the right temperature will have consequences. The cake won’t rise or brown properly for one thing. And when you tuck into it later, you will discover that it hasn’t cooked properly when it doesn’t taste quite how it should. Remember the saying ‘patience is a virtue,’ especially when it comes to baking.
Mistake #5: Opening the oven door while the cake is baking
This is a mistake many of us are guilt of as we want to make sure all is going well within the oven. But here’s the thing. Every time the oven door is opened the temperature will go down, so the cake will take longer to cook. So, if you have ever uttered the words “the cake still doesn’t look cooked” when opening the oven door, it’s probably your own fault if you have been constantly checking!
Mistake #6: Decorating the cake when it is straight out of the oven
When you take the cake out of the oven, wait until it cools down before you start to do anything with it. Not only will you burn your fingers if you don’t wait, but you will make a mess of the frosting too as it will start to melt when applied. So, if you don’t want a gooey mess on the top of your cake – and let’s face it, you probably don’t – wait 2-3 hours before applying the icing.
Mistake #7: Forgetting to hide your baking away
And finally, after baking your cake, biscuits, buns, or whatever, don’t leave the finished product out on the side for all to see. You will know what we mean if you have kids in the house as, assuming your baking is a success, you might never get to taste the fruit of your labors if they get to your baking first! Hide your sweet treats away in a baking tin or put them where sticky fingers won’t be able to touch them!
Thanks for reading!