You love to bake! Who doesn’t? All those delicious cakes make you and your friends so happy. But sometimes things don’t seem to come out quite right. We’ve got some timely tips to help you work past some of the most common mistakes that every baker makes in the beginning.
I forgot to turn on the oven: Yep, you noticed your cake wasn’t cooking because you forgot to hit start on the oven.Not to worry. Take your cake pans out of the oven and wait for it to reach temperature, and start the baking time over. If you leave the batter in the oven while it heats up, you may burn or undercook your cake.
I tried to ice a warm cake: Most icing will simply melt and disappear into the cake or run off the sides if you try to apply frosting before the cake is completely cool. You may be able to save the cake by removing as much of the melted icing as possible, mix a new batch of frosting and let the cake cool. Apply a second layer of new icing for a finished look.Your cake will look fine and simply have extra flavor from the melted frosting inside.
Woops! I put in a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon: Depending on the added ingredient, this may not be a deal breaker. The easiest fix is to increase the rest of the recipe to match the extra baking soda or salt.Yes, you will end up with two cakes worth of batter, but hey! the Cake is good. If you proceed without making adjustments, you may end up with a bitter cake that rose too much in the pan and is dry.
I forgot to grease and flour the cake pan: The good news is…this won’t affect the flavor or rise of your cake. If you realized the mistake before you put the cake into the oven, pour the batter back into the mixing bowl and wash and dry the pan, and apply grease and flour as needed according to the recipe. If the deed is done, be prepared to cut the cool cake out of the pan as it will stick and apply an extra layer of stabilizing icing to reduce crumb loss during decoration.
I only have all-purpose instead of cake flour: Cake flour has a lower gluten content compared to all-purpose flour, so it bakes into a fluffier structure.If you don’t have any cake flour in the cupboard, you can make your own using all-purpose flour and cornstarch. For every cup of AP flour, take out two tablespoons of flour and replace it with corn starch.Problem solved and your cake will still come out fluffy, moist, and delicious.
It looked great when I opened the oven, now it’s flat: Unfortunately you just made the rookie mistake of checking on your cake before its structure set during the baking process. There is no fix. It’s going to be a flat cake. During the first half of the baking process, the batter expands creating that attractive rise.When you open the oven door, heat and steam escapes which can cause that unstable cake to collapse.Use the window and light to check on your bake until the last five minutes, when you might need to test for doneness.
I ran out of eggs: Unless you are baking an angel cake that entirely depends on whipped egg whites for its structure, you can substitute a 1/4 cup applesauce, bananas or oil to replace an egg in many recipes. If you’re attempting a centerpiece cake for a fancy dinner, you’re better off making a run to the store, but for a quick cake, try out these simple substitutes.
The cake didn’t come out even: This happens to many bakers when they use a new oven for the first time. If your oven isn’t level, your cake layers won’t bake flat.However, there’s nothing that says you can’t use a knife to cut the uneven bits off your layers to create a nice flat surface.Or you can apply extra icing in the middle to create a more level surface for the top layer.Remember, your frosting can hide all those structural sins, and you can get the oven leveled for the next baking session.
The icing is way too runny: Many quick recipes will tell you to add more confectioners sugar to tighten up a runny icing.It’s fine if your icing is made mostly with confectioners. If you are making a butter cream icing adding more sugar will turn it into a fudgy lump.Instead, cream up extra butter or margarine and add to the runny icing.Once mixed, place it in the fridge for a few minutes to help it set.Whip it again if it’s too tight once cool.
There are way too many nuts in the cake: If you are working on a recipe that includes chopped nuts, it may say, “Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts,” or “1/4 cup nuts, chopped.”They are not the same. “1/4 cup nuts, chopped,” means that you measure out 1/4 cup whole or halved nuts and then chop them. You end up with a much lower volume of the extra filling.Read carefully!
There are all these crumbs in my icing: Many delicate cakes will crumble when you start applying icing. You may need to apply a stabilizing layer of quick, thin icing than place the cake in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes so it sets up.Now you should be able to work your finish coat of icing without all those crumbs showing up in the final product.
My meringue just won’t build enough volume: Egg whites are rather finicky to work with. You must start with an absolutely clean and dry mixing bowl.Any tiny amount of grease or other ingredients can prevent it from achieving those beautiful stiff peaks.Wash the bowl and thoroughly dry it with a paper towel before beginning your meringue.