Not everyone shares the same sentiments, but some people find that baking is almost like therapy for them.
There’s something relaxing about having to measure with precision each ingredient, sifting the dry ones, stirring all of them together in a mixing bowl, transferring the batter to a cake mould or baking tray, putting it inside the oven, and waiting for the oven to ring so they can finally sink their teeth into the confectionery delight they have created.
As a culinary art, baking requires meticulous attention regarding measurements, ingredients, temperature, and tools, to name a few. These can be intimidating to some. However, anyone motivated enough to learn how to become a better baker can do so at home!
All they need is the right ingredients, the recipe, baking tools and equipment, and knowledge of proper techniques and skills. If you want to bake cakes and pastries that will impress, read on as we elaborate on the baking techniques and skills you need.
Softening the butter
Just like cooking, butter is an essential ingredient in baking. A common rookie mistake is not taking the butter out of the fridge ahead of time to let it warm before using it. Instead, they take a shortcut by putting the butter inside the microwave.
If you want to soften your butter the right way, you should take it out of the fridge first and store it at room temperature so it wouldn’t curdle. Batter curdling happens when the butter that you use is too warm. However, if you don’t have the luxury of waiting for it to soften, you can speed up the warming process by manually grating the stick into the bowl.
Melting the chocolate
Some people believe that the tastiness of your pastries depends on the type of chocolate you used in baking them. That’s why instead of chopping your bar of chocolate finely, you should try melting it using the bain-marie method. To do this, you should place your chocolate inside a bowl. Then, fill a saucepan halfway with water, which you need to simmer. Once the water is simmering, carefully place your bowl of chocolate to melt over the saucepan.
Pro Tip: Do not let the bowl come in contact with the water so that you wouldn’t overheat it.
Sifting the flour
If you want to avoid clunky pastry sponges (and you should), make sure to sift your flour three times so that you can make sure that you’re able to filter out the coarse ones. Also, use a large metal spoon when folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients – wooden spoons remove air from the mixture, making the end result clunky.
If you have baking instructions on hand, you would know that you need to always pre-heat your oven 20 minutes before putting your batter inside it. Also, you should check if the rack is in the centre of the even so that heat can be distributed evenly.
If possible, use a conventional oven that is generally used for baking cakes and other pastries. However, if you have a fan-forced oven, decrease the temperature by 20 degrees Celsius so that it’ll be similar to a conventional oven.
Cooling the cake
Another rookie mistake most people make is transferring the cake immediately to a wire rack after taking it out of the oven. This should not be done because not only will you run the risk of burning your finger, but you can also break some parts of the cake.
Instead, always leave the cake in its container for an additional 5 minutes before transferring it. This will allow the cake some time to separate from the tin by itself so that when you take it out, it comes out as a whole.
Keeping it fresh for a longer time
Generally, cakes are meant to be stored in the chiller. However, if the one you baked hasn’t been frosted or cut, you can safely wrap it with plastic and place it inside your freezer. Doing so can make it last for as long as 3 months!
Nevertheless, if you don’t want to freeze it, lather on some frosting on top so that you can protect it from moisture and air and store your cake for another day. Do note that frostings can only keep a cake fresh for at most 4 days.
To bake the perfect cake, you should avoid common mistakes by applying the abovementioned techniques in this article. Baking can be fun, but it’s also time-consuming for those who are just starting to get their hands on it.
If you’re throwing a gathering that needs some desserts but don’t have the time to bake, you can try and buy pastries online in Singapore.
As an online bakery in Singapore, Polar Puffs & Cakes is ready to help out with delivering any sweet treats you may need, be it single cold slices or big birthday cakes. Visit our store or website to learn more about our products and services.