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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Five Tips For Top Cakes

(Pictures illustrated copied by Dylla)

Are you tired of baking cakes that don't quite come out right? Heavy consistencies, cracked tops, sticky tops, crumbs in your frosting - these problems are all too common, but entirely preventable. Follow these five easy tips which can help you bake cakes you'll be proud to serve, every time.

1. If your cake sticks to the pan when you try to remove it, place a thick towel in the sink and pour a kettle of boiling hot water over the towel to heat it. Set the cake pan on the hot towel and leave it for a minute or two, and then try to remove the cake - it should disengage from the pan in a snap. Alternatively, you can turn the cake pan over on a sheet of wax paper or a cooling rack, and place a cotton towel on top of the cake pan. Use a hot steam iron to heat the bottom of the pan for a few minutes before trying to remove it from the cake. It should lift away cleanly. Before you try to remove the cake from the pan, carefully run a knife between the outside of the cake and the inside of the pan. This will help loosen the cake.

2. To reduce the chance that your cake will come out with a sort of rounded "hump" on the top, make sure you fill the cake pan no more than two thirds full. After the batter is in the pan, gently rotate the pan sideways very slightly on all sides, so that the batter reaches up along each side. The middle and edges will meet during baking and rise more evenly. If the cake rose high and "humped" in the middle, no need to panic. Simply slice a bit off across the top before removing the cake from the pan, using the sides of the pan as a level guide for your knife. It helps to use a long, sharp knife.

3. If you want to be sure your cake will be very moist, you can substitute half the oil in the recipe with unsweetened applesauce or plain yogurt. This not only makes cakes more moist, but cuts the fat and calories in the recipe back a bit, too. When you're making a dense cake, like a fruit cake or a poundcake, place a pan filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven during baking. Add more water to the pan as needed. When making a chocolate cake, combine the baking soda with a teaspoon of vinegar before you add it to the batter.

4. Lots of things can go wrong when frosting a cake, but if you follow these tips, your cakes will be frosted beautifully, every time. Never try to ice a cake until it's completely cool. Before you begin, brush the cake lightly with a pastry brush to remove any excess crumbs. Instead of trying to ice the cake all at once, start by coating it with a thin layer of frosting, then placing it in the refrigerator for an hour. When you get it out to complete the frosting, you'll notice that crumbs are fully contained. If your icing is a bit too thin, use a pastry brush to dust the top of the cake very lightly with flour before frosting to help the icing hold onto the cake.

5. If cracking or consistency are a problem, try these suggestions. Adding an envelope of unflavored gelatin to the cake batter will help keep the top of the cake from splitting. For the lightest, fluffiest cake, cream a teaspoon of lemon juice into the butter and sugar before mixing in the rest of the ingredients. When creaming the butter, be thorough about it. Run the mixer for at least five minutes before adding the sugar, and then cream them together for a few minutes more.

If you enjoyed this article, check out my post on Acoustitone Pro Hearing Aids.

Virginia Butters - EzineArticles Expert Author

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