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Master the art of baking cakes using our handy guide
Good results start in the mixing bowl. The key to making the perfect cake firstly depends on the type you are making. Layer cakes get their soft texture when you cream together fat and sugar, then adding eggs and slowly incorporating dry ingredients. Sponge cakes, on the other hand are usually light and airy, and this happens when the eggs are whipped until voluminous – the order of your ingredients and following the method really does count.
Know your oven. To prevent your cake from being under baked or burnt, it's best to invest in an oven thermometer – it's a great way to know whether your oven is calibrated correctly. Place your cake in the middle too to avoid any over browning. To check whether your baked creation is done, lightly press the centre; if it springs back, it's ready. Alternatively, if you insert a wooden pick and it comes out clean, then your cake has finished baking.
Pan size is very important. You'll regret not spending a little more to get a bigger pan if your cake mixture overflows. The colour of your pan is important, too. Glass or dark non-stick varieties usually require a 25 degree reduction in baking temperature versus silver-coloured kinds.
It's best to buy a kitchen scale. You'll need to measure your flour accurately, because depending on how tightly the flour is packed into a measuring cup, you may end up with double the amount intended.
Cool your cakes first, then decorate later. Let your cake sit in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing it. You'll have a better chance of applying your frosting with ease.