Baking in your kitchen is not just a fad for the ones with extra time at hand. It can be a great therapeutic activity for people who love cooking. It has been shown that in activities like baking the learning curve is proven to have therapeutic effects on an individual. One thing I love about baking is that it always feels a little bit indulgent, a little bit unnecessary. I don’t have to bake anything, but when I do, it’s because I want to devote my time to making myself or someone else happy. Simply making that decision feels like a gift to myself.
What is Baking?
Baking, the process of cooking some food by dry heat, in some kind of oven. But can also be done in hot ashes, hot stones, etc. Baking is not only meant for cakes or loaves of bread. There are a number of foods cooked by baking like cookies, rolls, puffs, pastries, pizza and more. These popular items are known collectively as “baked goods” and are often sold at a bakery, which is a store that carries only baked goods. Rather than buying them from a store yourself, you can make it and enjoy the real taste of homemade baked food. But the first thing that comes to mind while we hear about baking is a cake.
Cake is often served as a celebratory dish on ceremonial occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. There are countless cake recipes; some are bread-like, some are rich and elaborate and many are centuries old.
Best Tips for Baking a Cake
Our goal is to help you become a better Baker. Everyone makes numerous mistakes in the kitchen, especially when it comes to making the perfect cake. Let me share some cake baking tips with you. This useful information will help guarantee that your next cake is the perfect cake.
1. Follow the Recipe
For guaranteed results, it’s important to follow baking recipes to the letter so that your cake will only ever be as good as the recipe you use. Start with a recipe from a source you trust.
2. Use the Right Utensils
If you want to use a tin different from the one the recipe calls for, then you’ll need to adjust the cooking time.
Baking parchment works really well for lining the dish as it is non-stick. Softened butter dusted with flour will also help. Don’t use too much fat though or you’ll fry the sides of the cake. If you’re cooking a cake for a long time (rich fruit cake, for example), it’s worth wrapping the outside of the tin too using brown paper and string to stop the edges from burning.
3. Preheat the Oven
If you put a cake into an oven that’s not hot enough, it will affect the way it rises. Fan ovens can dry a cake slightly. So, for a longer shelf-life, use the conventional setting.
4. Accurate weight of ingredients
Make sure you use the exact measurements and ingredients as stated in the recipe. You can’t just add more baking powder if you want your cake to rise more. Use measuring spoons rather than table wear to ensure accuracy.
5. Make Sure to Set the Right Temperatures
Most recipes require the fat and eggs to be at room temperature. If you take the butter straight from the fridge, it doesn’t cream well and cold eggs are liable to curdle the cake batter. Use the butter which is at room temperature and soft when you poke the butter with your fingers.
6. Proper Mixing
Allow air as much as possible into the batter while mixing the ingredients like cream, butter and sugar until the mixture lightens in texture and colour. This increases the air and volume of the cake, giving you a lighter result. A large balloon whisk is best for folding as it helps avoid lumps of flour but doesn’t overwork the mixture. Don’t be tempted to whisk vigorously as this will knock out the air and result in a heavy cake.
The cake raising agent will start working as soon as it comes into contact with any of the ‘wet’ ingredients. So, to ensure a good rise, your cake mixture should go into the oven straight away.
8. Keep the Doors Closed
Cakes are generally best placed on the middle rack of the oven to ensure even cooking. Once the cake is in, avoid opening the door until it’s almost cooked. If you allow cold air into the oven, the cake is likely to collapse. You need to wait until it’s properly set before taking a peek. Similarly, when you’re putting the cake into the oven, don’t hang about and let all the heat out.
9. Stick to Cooking Times
If you’ve used the right tin and you’ve got a good oven, the timings stated in the recipe should be accurate. As ovens do vary, check in on the cake just before the end of the cooking time. A cake that is cooked through should feel the same if pressed around the edges or in the middle. If your cake is not properly cooked but looks brown, you can cover it with a piece of dampened grease-proof paper.
10. Keep It Cool
Recipes will usually give instructions for cooling times as well, but as a general rule, most sponge cakes are best left for a few minutes and then turned onto a cooling rack to avoid soggy edges. Rich fruit cakes are better cooled in the tin, unless otherwise noted. Cakes taste best at room temperature. If you prepare cake a day in advance, you can bake and cool it, then cover it in an airtight container and keep at room temperature.
Must Have Equipment for Baking
Tools play an important role in Baking. As a beginner, it might be complex for you to know all the essential tools for baking. When you start developing a passion for baking, you may not be aware of different baking tools, equipment and their uses. If you wish somebody would give you a baking essential checklist and help you out, this is exactly what I will help you with. I will talk about the essential baking tools for beginners and help you create your baking kit.
It is one of the most important baking equipment. Make a wise decision depending on your needs and family size. I recommend buying a little larger than what you think you would need. It comes in handy when you have guests at home.
● Weighing Scale
It is important to be as precise as possible when it comes to measuring the ingredients. A kitchen weighing scale helps you with accurate measurements.
● Measuring Cups and Spoons
Many recipes give ingredient measurements in cups/spoons and if you are following such recipes, then you would need a set of measuring cups and spoons. You may use a conversion table to convert cups into grams and grams into cups, but the conversion is not always accurate. It is always advisable to use a set of measuring cups with sturdy handles and easy to read measurements.
Stirring, mixing, scrapping or spreading, spatulas do wonders. I recommend using a silicone spatula of 9” to 12”. They are flexible and can be used at high temperatures too.
If you are a hobby baker and bake occasionally, then use the regular whisker. But if you are more into whisking cream for cakes etc., then I suggest you invest in an electric whisk.
● Baking Trays
Start with just 2 baking trays in the beginning. The heavier the bottom, the better it is for baking. Heavy bottom allows even distribution of the temperature and hence even baking of your dish. You will find a lot of cheap baking trays with compromised weight and material. I suggest investing in good and high quality tins and trays.
Pastry brush or silicon brushes have their own significance. These help you with a milk wash, Egg wash, Water wash and applying butter or oil without creating any mess. You can use silicon brushes at any temperature, hence I recommend using a silicone brush.
● Serrated Knife
Once you are done with baking, you need to slice your bakes. A serrated knife is what you need to get a perfect slice of your delicious baked items.
● Parchment Paper
It prevents your baked goodies from sticking to the walls or the bottom of the pan. Do not confuse butter paper with parchment paper. Lower quality of parchment paper will produce smoke or will partially burn in just one bake.
Essential Ingredients Used in Baking
When using eggs in cake preparation, you should warm the eggs either by placing them in hot water or by warming them along with the weighted sugar in gentle heat over a bain-marie. The reason for doing this is to produce a strong whisked foam which has the stability to withstand the additional mixing with other ingredients. Warming the eggs will also prevent the curdling of mixtures when fat, sugar and eggs are creamed together.
When preparing a sponge batter use castor sugar which is ready to dissolve in batter.
All cakes of a light nature need a weaker, soft flour to obtain a more crumbly result. If this type of flour is not available, all-purpose flour can be used with the addition of some corn-flour to make it softer.
4. Baking Powder
This is used to aerate the cake. Make sure that it is weighed correctly and sieved several times with the flour to ensure that the cake is not over or under aerated and the distribution is even throughout. Cake mixtures should be cooked immediately or the gases emitted from the baking powder will start to develop and break out of the batter.
Using butter is highly recommended. For creaming, the butter should be soft, not oily and the amount of fat that is added to a sponge batter will determine its texture. More the fat, the heavier the sponge will be.
Commercially prepared stabilizers are used in sponge batters to help keep the batter from breaking down, thus forming a perfect, light emulsion. It is available in powder forms or even in gel forms.
7. Flavouring Ingredients
Many other types of ingredients can be added to the sponge mixes, depending upon the usage that the sponge will be put to. For example, if the sponge is being made for a chocolate cake, then it is advisable to substitute 20 percent of the flour with cocoa powder to get a dark & rich chocolate-flavoured sponge.
Once you know all the basics of baking, all that’s left to do is to build on the recipes that you already have or create and experiment with new ingredients and flavour combinations.
Must Try Cake Flavours
One of the best things about cakes is that they come in such umpteen flavours. While some of us can’t get enough of the classic chocolate cake, others find exotic varieties such as tiramisu or strawberry shortcakes, irresistible.
So, let’s find out among all the lip-smacking types of cakes that the baking world has graced us with, which are the most popular cakes that people love to eat.
● Coffee Cake
We begin our countdown with coffee cakes. This cake comes as a perfect dessert for coffee lovers. They are delicious and are available in multiple coffee flavours such as Irish Coffee and Mocha.
● Banana Cake
The cake flavour that makes you go bananas is the banana cake. It has a moist texture and an incredibly strong taste.
● Funfetti Cake
Funfetti is a fun-filled and joyous cake that has garnered lots of love from people. Brimming with colourful sprinkles, inside and out, Funfetti is a great birthday cake.
● Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Pineapple is an excellent ingredient for desserts, and hence, the upside-down pineapple cake. The cake throws a refreshing taste into your mouth and it looks just as beautiful.
● Lemon Cake
A simple but all-time favourite, lemon cake. While we love icing lemon cakes with many fun ideas for birthdays and other celebrations, we also love having a few pieces of it at home with coffee.
● Black Forest Cake
Black forest cake is a variety which is full of all the best ingredients. This cake has chocolate, is sweet and it has cherries on the top. Black forest cake looks appealing to the eyes and tastes pleasing to the tongue.
Cheesecake is loved for being so creamy and yummy. When made well & mixed with the right flavours, cheesecake can easily delight even the most delicate taste bud of your mouth.
● Vanilla Cake
Believe it or not, vanilla is the most popular and liked cake flavour. It is versatile and easily complements so many other ingredients, for instance, chocolate, lemon, and strawberry. Besides, vanilla cake is the cake that we all turn to when we are bored with everything else. Isn’t it?
● Red Velvet Cake
The most popular cake is the gorgeous-looking red velvet cake. The delightful colour combination coupled with a fantastic taste makes red velvet a cake flavour which is a treat to both eyes and tongue.
● Chocolate Cake
The chocolate cake was a very obvious choice. A classic like already said; one can hardly find a person who doesn’t enjoy chocolate. Also, did you know that January 27th is celebrated as the National Chocolate Cake Day?
Are you interested in Baking? Want to turn your hobby into your profession? Apart from all the designing courses, Hamstech also provides a Baking Course for the cake-lovers out there. Hamstech, with its experience of over 28 years in the field of creative education, is known as one of the best institutes to learn Baking. With our carefully-curated professional Cake Baking courses, you will master this artistic field. Our course is perfect for beginners or if you want to improve your Baking, icing or food styling abilities.
Here’s What You Can Learn with Our Baking Course
Baking and Pastry arts education may be required for entry-level positions as a baker, pastry chef or related culinary arts professionals in restaurants, commercial bakeries, hotels, resorts and specialty bakeries.
1. Principles of Baking
This is typically the first baking class a student learns in any baking-related degree program and is a required class. The combination of classroom and kitchen lab learning in this course gives students an overview of standard kitchen practices, culinary vocabulary and baking techniques. Students are introduced to both everyday and specialized kitchen tools and equipment, commonly used ingredients and their properties. They also learn professional standards of personal hygiene, workstation sanitation and general kitchen safety.
2. Sanitation and Safety
This class, mandatory in most programs, is completed early in a course of study. Instructors teach the fundamentals of maintaining a clean and safe work environment. Minimum standards of personal hygiene are covered in this class. Students also learn how to prepare and store ingredients and finished baked goods safely. Students will learn how to avoid cross-contamination of different ingredients as well as some of the possible resulting dangers of poor sanitation and safety.
3. Cake Decoration and Design
This baking class focuses on how to bake, fill, ice and decorate cakes. Coursework includes overviews of special occasions and wedding cakes. Students are introduced to a variety of decorating methods using royal icing, marzipan, gum paste and fondant, using techniques like airbrushing, piping and more. The principles and techniques needed to create tiered cakes are covered in both classroom study and hands-on kitchen learning.
4. European Cakes and Tortes
Most baking programs require a class in classical European cakes and tortes. Through lectures and kitchen lab work, students practice baking traditional and modern classics like Linzer and Sacher tortes and Black Forest cakes. Students learn how to assemble these specialty baked goods. A unit on filling, icing, glazing and decorating skills appropriate to specific baked goods rounds out student’s skills in this area.
5. Specialty Breads
In this required class where students receive an overview of specialty and artisan bread-making, from preparation methods to finishing techniques. Coursework introduces students to working with various flours, like whole wheat and rye. Students learn to prepare sourdough starters and bake loaves of sourdough bread. Students study the recipes used to make common artisan breads like focaccia and also learn how to modify established recipes to make them their own.
An internship or co-op is usually a requirement in baking programs. Some programs require students to complete more than one. This hands-on work experience is usually completed either on-campus, in a school-run bakery or restaurant or off-campus in a working kitchen that’s a part of a bakery, resort or any related hospitality setting. Students typically practice purchasing, baking, decorating and other essential professional skills.
With the right kind of Baking courses, you will learn to bake over 50 recipes of cakes, pastries, doughnuts and so much more. To become a successful baker, from baking a different variety of these delicious delicacies to styling it and making it look appealing – you have to ace it all. Hamstech provides you with a list of classes with the course duration of only 3 months.
By pursuing the baking courses in Hamstech, one can have the best career as a
- Home Baker
- Cake Stylist
- Dessert Specialist
- Artisan Bread Specialist
- Confectionary Baker
- Patisserie Specialist
Make your hobby of Baking your profession and start your own business. This is only possible through the baking courses offered by Hamstech. Making you master in Baking is our priority. So why wait? Enrol now!!