Preheat the oven
Before you embark on your cake making journey, make sure you have a heated oven so your batter doesn’t have to rest once you’ve finished pouring it in your baking tin.
Invest in a mixer
Electric or stand mixers are your lifelines! Invest in a good one to whip up cakes easily.
Everything! Use measuring spoons and cups and do not guess-timate! Go a step further and invest in a weighing scale and convert all cup/spoon measurements to grams, ounces, pounds and litres (eg one cup of butter is 227g). Conversion tables are readily available online.
Grease your baking pans and line their bottoms with parchment sheets cut to size. This will ensure that your cakes come out of the tins smoothly once cooled.
Take out butter and eggs and let them come to room temperature—this will help with the mixing of the components.
If a recipe calls for butter and sugar, chances are they are using the creaming method. Whisk butter and sugar together for three to four minutes until they turn fluffy and lighten in colour.
Your bowl every now and again—best way to avoid lumps!
Your dry mix (flour/cocoa/baking powder/baking soda/salt) and your batter will be smooth. Unlike most pickup lines.
The pans once you’ve poured the batter in; this will evenly distribute the batter and smooth the tops.
Pans in the oven; this will ensure even baking.
Cakes in the pan you bake them in. Go around the edges with a knife once cooled and turn them upside down and cool further.
Use a candy thermometer
When making Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream.
Do a light crumb coat on your stacked cakes and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before doing a second crumb coat. This will ensure that no crumbs appear when you finish off the cake with another coat of buttercream!
Use an ice cream scoop
To measure out cupcakes; quick and easy!
If your cakes form a dome in the middle once out of the oven, wrap a wet cloth around the outside of the baking pan before you put layers in the oven to bake. If your cake sinks, it may be because it needs more baking time.
If your buttercream splits, it may be because of a difference in temperature of the butter added to the egg whites. If too cold, take a bit of buttercream, warm for five to 10 seconds in the microwave and add to the mix. If too warm, chill the buttercream in the mixing bowl for 30 minutes and rewhip when firm.
If your cake is stacked with many layers and you are unsure whether it will hold its shape or topple over, insert wooden dowels and chill. Make sure you cut the height of the dowels to the same height as your cake.
Hope all these tips and tricks were insightful. For further guidance there is always Google! Happy caking!
Saria Saguaro is the pastry chef and owner of The Flourist, an online cake studio located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She caters to private orders and her mini cakes can be found at Gourmet Bazaar daily