Very glad to see you here again !!!!!
To my great honour, I have had messages/ questions from people especially on Facebook requesting advice on making the perfect cake.
I will like to point out that I am still learning a great deal on the 'science' of baking, I have learnt a lot though from 'costly' experience.
1. Oven thermometer - barring you have a brand new oven - I would advice you buy an oven thermometer, this will ensure that your oven is at the right temperature which is absolutely necessary to get a quality bake. I got mine after feeding my bin more cake than necessary - now I get great bakes almost all the time.
2. Pre-heat your oven - except the recipe says otherwise, pre-heat your oven to the required temperature. Assuming a recipe calls for 350 degrees - pre-heat your oven to this temperature before you put your cake in. The cold cake and pan may drop the temperature a bit (indicated on the thermometer) do not however be tempted to increase the temperature. It would come back to the pre-heated temperature.
3. Digital measuring scale - the baker's friend. Weighing your ingredients to the last gram is a must. While some are apt in the use of cups and spoons - I would advice that if you are not, you should get yourself a good digital weighing scale.
4. Room temperature ingredients - as stated earlier - except the recipe says otherwise , all ingredients should be at room temperature. This makes mixing and incorporating the ingredients an easier and smoother task.
5. Follow the recipe - except you are testing and adapting recipes - try as much as possible to find a reputable baker and follow their recipe(s). You could also watch some of the baking videos...which helps.
Feeling adventurous though - experiment.....
6. Your mood - from personal experience, my mood greatly affects my bakes. Try your best to be in a good place, be as calm as possible......a happy baker makes happy cakes.......lol. My best time to bake is when I am all alone but that is a luxury.
7. Be organised - plan ahead - decide the pans to be used, weigh and lay out all your ingredients, sift your flours, grease and line your pans before commencing the mixing process. This makes baking fairly smoother and reduces stress greatly.
8. Vanilla Extract/Paste - while my only charge on other ingredients is to use the best you can afford, for recipes that call for Vanilla or other extracts/paste - try and purchase the best , I cannot over-emphasise the effects on the finished product. My preferred is Nielsen-Massey extracts.
9. Do not open your oven- kindly do not open the oven for the first 2/3 part of your baking time. For a bake of 30minutes, do not open the oven door for 20minutes. Invest in oven lights if possible - would make it easier to view the cake through the door.
All the very best with your bakes!!!!!!!!