Before starting on a baking project, it is always advisable to follow these simple thirteen baking tips. They will reduce a lot of time and effort that is put into baking a cake.
The next step towards baking is lining the pots or pans as mentioned. These preparations go on a long way in making a perfect baked dish. The baking dish size should be in accordance with the volume it will hold. Since most of the batter/liquid will rise or bubble. While cooking in the oven, care should be taken to pour the prepared contents in a size larger than the actual volume. Lining the pots, pans or baking dish means greasing the dish with batter, ghee or fat on the inner side. If the pan needs to be unmolded as in cakes, then after greasing the pan, it should be dusted with flour. Wheat flour dusting is a healthier option.
- Dusting means finely coating the inner-side of the dish with dry flour. For dusting, gently tap the dish and tip sideways all the sides. The flour will spread evenly.
- Care should be taken to see that the dish is absolutely free from moisture, that is it dry before it is coated.
- Brown paper or butter paper sheets can also be used to line the pan.
- To line the pan with butter paper, place the sheet on a flat surface, then place the dish on it, with the help of pencil gently outline the dish, now cut the square or round from the sheet and place on the inside of the dish.
The next thing one must do before starting the actual process of preparing the dish is to keep all the dry and wet ingredients required at hand. This means that the flour, eggs, baking powder, vanilla essence, flavorings, sugar etc should be weighed, measured and kept in readiness.
The flour if baking a cake ideally should be sieved twice with the dry ingredients such as salt, baking powder. This will make the cake softer. Add baking powder while sieving the flour will ensure that the cake rises evenly.If you are using eggs then break them in a separate bowl one-by-one and add to the batter. Sometimes one rotten egg will spoil the entire batter, and the whole cake batter will have to be thrown.If you are beating the batter with rotary mixer, gently left the blades from time to time to incorporate air. In case you are beating the batter with a hand beater please ensure that the beating strokes are in one direction only, i.e. clockwise or anti- clockwise, to incorporate in air as much as possible.As soon as the cake batter is ready please ensure that it is immediately placed in a hot oven. As the raising agent in the batter loses its efficacy, and a little delay in baking will make the cake fall flat.Gently tap the batter, once you have poured it in the tin/dish, or even it out with the help of a spatula. This ensures even rising and even baking.
Please ensure that the batter is at room temperature and not cold to touch in the tin if you are using glass baking vessels, else the glass will shatter as soon as it goes into a hot oven.Ideally the baking dish should be place at the centre tray of the hot oven. Please switch off the oven, before placing the dish in the oven, and then switch it on; to avoid mishaps.Once the cake, or baked dish is ready and evenly browned. To gauge its readiness, please switch off oven, gently remove the dish and insert a dry and clean knife in the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean, your cake is done. If some batter is still sticking to it, then that means it needs a little more baking.Once the baked product is ready, please remove it immediately from the oven, so that the cake or pudding or soufflé does not fall flat (it sometimes happens!) or to ensure that the baked product does not crack or dry out.
Before upturning your cake onto a plate, please place the cake tin on a wire rack to cool for few minutes, say 2-3 minutes. Gently ease the cake from the sides of the tin with a knife. If a cake is still giving you a tough time unmolding- try placing a wet towel under the baking dish for few minutes, it might help.