Baking tips for the novice baker

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My love for baking goes way back to my early teen years, my mom would commission me to bake my siblings’ birthday cake or just because.  It was always a box cake, but the end result was always a moist, fluffy cake.  I can’t remember the last time I baked a box cake; and since then, I have learned a few tricks and techniques that make for a better cake.

1. Bring your refrigerated ingredients to room temperature

Avoid using cold eggs, butter, cream cheese, milk, etc.  You almost have to plan ahead to bake.  For example, leave the butter and eggs sit out on the counter overnight.  You can also bring eggs to room temperature by placing them in a dish with warm water for 10-15 minutes.

2. Use parchment paper

Avoid your baked good from sticking by adding parchment paper to the bottom of the baking pan.  While you’re at it, make sure to butter/grease and flour the pan generously.  A good trick to do this is to use a brush to brush on the butter or grease, that way you don’t miss any nooks and crannies.

3. Don’t open the oven

Doing this affects the temperature in the oven and alters the baking time.

4. Avoid over baking

When a recipe calls for a range in baking time such as 22-25 minutes I always start with the lowest time to avoid over baking.  You can always bake for 1 or 2 minutes longer, but you can never undo the dryness of an over baked cake.

5. Always cool completely on a rack

Cooling a cake on a rack allows for even airflow around the pan therefore cooling the cake evenly.  You always want to cool the cake completely, like at least 2-3 hours before frosting or doing anything to it.

These are some tips that work for me, what are some things you do that make for better baked goods?

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