Thursday, February 25, 2010



I make the WORST cakes on the planet. It hasn't always been that way . . . . it has grown over the years of being rather indifferent when it comes to most cakes. I love pineapple upside down cake, carrot cake and "rotten fruit" cake. Of course I make those really well, if I may say so myself . . . and I do.

When it comes to making just regular yellow or chocolate cakes for birthdays . . . . . well let's just say Duncan Hines Moist Extra Cakes don't even stand a chance with me. Since I have a grandson who is soy and dairy intolerant, I get elected to make the birthday cakes. They are usually cute as all get out, boy . . . I do hold a record in the taste, texture and dry departments . . . not the kind that you want to!

So off to the internet I went, found a wonderful site with great, detailed tips & somehow managed to lose it before I got it copied and pasted onto a word document . . sorry. Back I went today so that I can get my one year old grandson's cake made today . . . and found these very worthy tips from the Better Homes & Garden website, HERE .

So here goes nothing, I will try to document as I go along and see if I can eliminate at least some of these bad qualities . . . as I read the list, I realized that my cakes usually have everyone of them!!! Such a gift >:- [

Everyone loves the flavor of a home-baked cake. Our tips reveal the secrets for creating and storing these popular desserts.

These rich cakes are tender but don't crumble when you slice them.

Proper prep. Have all of the ingredients at room temperature unless the recipe directs otherwise. (Eggs should only be left out about 30 minutes before using them.) This makes ingredients easier to combine and gives cakes better volume.

The right flour. If a recipe calls for cake flour, but you don't have any on hand, use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for each cup of cake flour. Some cake recipes call for cake flour because it produces a slightly more tender cake, but you'll find all-purpose flour makes a good cake, too.

Preheat, please. Be sure to preheat your oven before baking; otherwise your cakes won't rise properly.

Smack down. Once the batter is in the pan, tap the cake pan on a counter top to release any large air bubbles in the batter.

Testing for done. In general, a layer-type cake is done when its top is domed, it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and it springs back when lightly touched. To be sure a cake is baked, insert a toothpick near the cake center. It should come out free of wet batter.

Cool down. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely.

Storage tips. To freeze an unfrosted cake, place it on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer till firm. Then place the cake in a plastic freezer bag or an airtight container, seal, and return it to the freezer. Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for up to 6 months. Fruitcakes can be frozen for up to 12 months.

Solving cake problems

When your cakes consistently turn out less than perfect, its time for a little detective work. Here are some common problems and the solutions that make them disappear:

Coarse texture: It might be that you didn't beat the sugar and shortening, margarine, or butter long enough. For a fine, even cake texture, be sure to beat these ingredients together thoroughly.

Dense or compact cakes: Perhaps you didn't beat the sugar and shortening, margarine, or butter long enough. For a light texture, beat these ingredients together well.

Dryness: You might have overbaked the cake. Remember to check doneness after the minimum baking time. Or, you might have overbeaten the egg whites, if they were used. Stiffly beaten egg whites should stand in straight peaks but should look moist or glossy. When the egg whites have a "curdled" appearance, they are overbeaten. Start again with fresh egg whites instead of folding the overbeaten ones.

Elongated, irregular holes: You may have overmixed the batter when the flour was added. Mix until the ingredients are just combined.