Prevent Baking a Lumpy Cake
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Revision as of 02:58, 20 March 2016 by Johngawler (1 revision imported)
- Place oven rack so cake pan will be baking near the center of your oven so the hot air can circulate fully. Make sure rack is level.
- Preheat oven.
- Prepare your pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper or waxed paper. Trace the pan on top of the paper you are using, then cut on the line. Grease the pan before putting the paper in it. Usually the sides are left ungreased, so that the cake can rise by sticking to the sides.
- Sift dry ingredients together. If you don't have a sifter on hand (which doesn't do a great job anyway), read How to Sift Flour Without a Sifter. Sifting may get rid of those pesky lumps, but whisking your dry ingredients more thoroughly incorporates the leaveners into the flour for a far more even rise. Sifting does NOT do this well, even after sifting multiple times! The best, most complete manner for blending dry ingredients and getting rid of lumps is done by thoroughly whisking the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in three small portions instead of all at once for the smoothest batter.
- Pour into prepared pans, keeping batter levels equal if using more than one pan. A digital scale makes easy work of making sure there is an equal amount of batter in each pan. If you don't have one, use measuring cups to ensure a balance between the two pans.
- Offset multiple pans baking 2 pans with air spaces between them on the same rack.
- Gently rotate pans 180 degrees halfway through baking time. If the cake pans are on different racks of the oven, you should also swap racks so one pan isn't getting more heat than the other, especially if your oven heats from the bottom. This compensates for any uneven oven temperatures. This step may not be necessary if your oven works well. For more tips, see How to Cook Food in a Bad Oven.
- Cakes are done when they spring back in the center when pressed with a finger. You can also check with a toothpick, inserted in the center and pulled out. The cake is done if the toothpick is clean. If you're into temperature, the doneness temperature of a cake is about 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. A cooled cake is easier to remove from the pan. Be sure to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan by running a knife around the sides of the pan.
- Place several strips of waxed paper under the the edges of the cake so the plate stays clean. When you're done frosting the cake, take away the strips. No frosting where it shouldn't be; you have a good clean plate.
- Put a thin coating of frosting on cakes called a "crumb coat", then put on the normal frosting. This keeps crumbs out of the decorative "topcoat". This works well when using light frosting on a dark cake.
- Clean the edges of the cake plate with a damp cloth. Just pick up any crumbs and wipe off any frosting smudges.
- Adding dry ingredients to wet often results in a snow storm in your kitchen, so go easy. This is another reason to fold in the dry gently.
- Know your oven very well so that you understand where there may be any cooler spots, or where heat doesn't recover as well as others.
- If your cake has a big dome and you want the top flat for icing, slice off the dome with a long serrated knife.
- Frosting and icing are technically not the same thing. Icing hardens more than frosting, and is not as dense as frosting, and the color is more translucent.
- After filling the pan with batter and before baking the cake, hold it a short distance up from the counter and drop it several times. This will release bubbles so your cake doesn't have air pockets after it is baked.