Layer cakes aren't just for birthdays anymore - they are popping up all over the place right now. And no matter what occasion you're baking for, we've got tips that will help you make a beautiful, delicious cake.
Correct Oven Temperature & Baking Times
- Always make sure the oven is heated to the correct temperature. Start preheating before you start mixing the batter.
- It's worth investing in an oven thermometer. Most ovens can be off by 25-75 degrees!
- Don't overbake (you don't want to end up with a dry cake), but definitely do not underbake. That's the most common reason for a cake to fall in the middle.
- Test with a toothpick in the center of the cake to see if it is done. If the toothpick comes out with a few crumbs sticking to it, the cake is done. If it comes out wet with batter, it's not quite ready yet.
Room Temperature Ingredients
- Having ingredients at room temperature helps ensure the cake will rise perfectly.
- Softening the butter helps aid in the mixing process. Set your butter on the counter at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Or, if you're in a hurry, cut the butter into chunks and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- To bring eggs to room temperature, place in a bowl of lukewarm water (not hot water) for 15 minutes.
- Always check the date marked on the carton to ensure freshness. You can also test the freshness of eggs by dropping them into a bowl of water. If the egg sinks, it's still fresh and okay to use. If it floats, it's time for new eggs.
- Using fresh baking powder and baking soda is essential in making sure your cake rises perfectly. To test each for freshness:
- Place ½ teaspoon baking powder in a small bowl. Add ¼ cup of hot water. If the mixture foams, the baking powder is still good. If it doesn't, it's time for a new box.
- Place 1½ teaspoons baking soda in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. If the mixture fizzes, the baking soda is still good. If it doesn't, replace it.
Correct Measuring Techniques
- Measuring flour accurately is essential for successful baking. The easiest way to make sure your measurements are accurate is to do the following:
- Stir the flour in the bag or canister with a large spoon to lighten it.
- Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level the top with a spatula or butter knife. Be careful not to tap or shake the measuring cup when measuring - this can pack down the flour and make your measurement inaccurate.