Baking and I have something as exciting as a love affair for some time now. I am glad the spark in our relationship is still shining as brightly (in fact it is getting better and brighter by the day). Baking a cake for me is a weekly routine. Anything from the simple basic vanilla cake to some exotic flavors and tastes, it could be just about anything. It keeps me happy and the excitement of creating is something that simply cannot be described in words. Every month I try to make it a point to try atleast one new recipe so that I can add to my growing repertoire of yummy bakes.
How to bake a cake - have been arguing for sometime now on whether it is a science or an art. With all the correct measurements and proportions that one has to maintain it is definitely a science that requires one to be very strict and follow things as it is. But then when I look at all the beautiful cakes and the creative aspect that goes into them then can't resist from declaring it an art. What would you call "Baking a Cake" - a science or an art?
Baking can be fun and easy and just a few guidelines are all you need to follow and lo and behold !! a wonderful delicious creation is what you have. Over the years I have realized that initially I was very strict with myself and didn't let myself shift by even an inch from the recipe. However, you can certainly bring about creative variations with a good idea of ingredients and understanding their role in the baking process.
1-Start with using all ingredients at room temperature. Will make a big difference to the texture and taste of your cake. Stick to the recipe for sure the very first time so that you know how the cake would turn out. The second time is your chance to tweak to incorporate your changes.
2-A baker's tools are very important. Use the right set of measuring cups and spoons to have the measurements right. You need to use the baking pan of the right size as per your recipe. Always leave about 1/3rd space in any baking dish for the cake to rise. Your cake in this respect is like your teenager at home. Give him/her enough space and you will see that they blossom into bright young adults.
3-Sieve all the dry ingredients first. Sieve them all together, repeating the process 2-3 times would be a good idea to have all the ingredients well blended (although sometimes I do loose patience here). Mix together the wet ingredients and mix the two. When the recipe only mentions "fold" then do go light on the mixing and just lightly fold in the ingredients (especially with the egg whites).
4-Greasing the baking dish is another important thing to remember. You could use vegetable shortening or butter. I find butter good for the greasing as it ensures that my cake on cooling comes out clean from the dish.
5-Preheat the oven at the temperature specified in your recipe. Every oven is different and so the time required for baking too would definitely vary a little. After the baking is done, it is important that you be patient and let the cake cool completely before transferring it onto the wire rack.
Now you could decorate by sprinkling your cake with powdered sugar or the frosting of your choice. Enjoy!!
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