Even basic baking techniques and their terms can be so confusing for new bakers, it’s like a whole new language. The recipe is obviously asking you to do something in a particular way but you have absolutely no idea what. This can lead to many people giving up before they even begin. I mean why would you bother, if you have no clue what to do? Why would you waste time and ingredients if you think the cake will fail because you are doing it wrong? There is no point in trying.
Don’t Be One Of Those People!
Technique | Recipe | Ingredients
The right techniques are just as important as the right ingredients and the right recipe when it comes to baking cakes. If one of these things is wrong, it won’t matter how good the other two are, the cake will fail or be no where near as good as it should be.
A great recipe, made using the right techniques but with the wrong ingredient will fail. The right ingredient, used in the right techniques with a dodgy recipe, is going to fail. The three elements are needed to be right to make a fabulous cake.
This Is Where We Come In
We can help you with all three. Whether you bake Gluten Free or Vegan. Click a piccie to learn more.
The Right Techniques
Back to the task at hand, the right techniques. The 10 baking terms below are the ones that you will find used most in cake and dessert recipes. There is lots more than these but these ones will get you started.
- Beat Until Light and Fluffy: This is what we do to our butter/margarine and sugar when making sponge style cakes. It’s best to use an electric whisk and whisk the mixture for 3 minutes. During this ‘beating’ the sugar cuts into the butter/margainre and starts to dissolve, causing lots of little air pockets. This causes an increase in volume, leading to it looking fluffy and lighter in colour. Hence, light and fluffy.
- Cream: This term gets swapped out with beat. So, you need to do the same as above. Don’t forget to do it for the magic 3 minutes.
- Fold In: This the gentle combining of ingredients without knocking any air out. Using a flat spatula, put it to the bottom of your bowl and fold the bottom of the mixture up and over, turn the bowl and repeat. Keep turning and repeating until the ingredients are combined. This is commonly used to fold in flour into whipped eggs whites or after creaming / beating lots of air into a batter.
- Grease and Line Your Tin: Almost every cake recipe will ask you to do this. There are a few different ways, but the simplest is to put a dollop of margarine on a piece of greaseproof paper and wripe it around the inside of your tin. Paying attention to corners. To line the tin, cut a length of greaseproof, draw around the bottom of your tin, cut out, and place in your tin. This is the bottom lined. Cut another long strip and stick it around the sides of your tin. Your tin is now greased and lined.
- Rubbing In: This means you need to rub the fat into the flour, this is done by rubbing the fat and flour between your thumb and fingers, in a motion similar to clicking your fingers. You keep doing this until your mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Sift: Sieve or Sift. The sieve is the piece of equipment and sift is the action. To sift flour, is to pass it through the wire mesh of a sieve. This helps to add air to the mixture and to mix two or more dry ingredients together. You do this by putting the flour into the sieve and then gently tapping it against the palm of hand above an empty bowl. The motion helps the flour to work through the sieve.
- Test A Cake Is Cooked: To test a cake is cooked we use a cake tester or cake pick or a knife. Put your cake tester into the centre of your cake, through to the middle and then pull it back out. It it comes out clean your cooked, if it has wet batter on it pop you cake in for another 4 minutes and test again.
- Turn Out Onto A Cooling Rack: When your cake is ready to come out of the tin, you run a butter knife around the edge, between the cake and the tin, and then put the cooling rack on top of the tin, upside down. Holding the two together, turn them over, so the cooling rack is the right way up and your cake tin is upside down. You should now be able to just life your tin of the cake.
- Fill A Piping Bag: I use dispoable icing bags as I think they are so much more hygeinic than the material ones. So, you choose your nozzle, snip the pointy end off the icing bag, and push your nozzle down the piping bag and into the hole. The tip of the nozzle shold be pointing out the bag. Pop the tip end of your bag into a pint glass and fold the bag over the rim. This gives you a sturdy way of filling your bag. Don’t over fill, they can get difficult to handle if they are over filled. Once you have enough icing in, pull the bag up and push the icing towards the nozzle. Twist the top and your ready to go.
- Blend: A simple little word, but it could trip you up if you don’t know what it’s asking. To blend, is to mix two or more ingredients together until they become one. We do this with a hand or electric whisk, or sometimes a wooden sppon or spatula is enough.
I really hope that a recipe will make more sense to you now. That baking a cake is a little less daunting. I always recommend you read a recipe through twice before you even get into the kitchen, that way you can be sure you understand before you begin.
The Right Recipe
We have got you covered here as well. Head over to our online classroom and check out our Beginners Guides To Gluten Free or Vegan Baking. They have some lovely simple recipes that are perfect for you to dip your toes into the baking pool.
Still got some questions? Come over and join our online baking club and ask!