Cakes Tips

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Why do I have large air holes in my sheet cakes?

Even Cake Texture

For the most even cake texture when making a sheet cake, rap the pan on your counter top before putting it in the oven. This breaks any large air bubbles that may have formed, but keeps smaller ones intact.

   
How do I cut a cake into layers?

Cake Layer Cutting

Make quick work out of slicing a cake into layers by using a long piece of unflavored dental floss or fishing line. Hold the string between both hands and use a sawing motion to cut through cakes, cookie doughs or even cheeses.

   
How can I make my cakes from mixes taste richer?

Making Cake Mixes Richer

These ingredients are recommended by Anne Byrn, the Cake Mix Doctor, to make cake mixes taste richer: buttermilk, whipping cream, sour cream, eggs, yogurt, butter, and peach puree. If a recipe you are considering adds these ingredients, it will probably be a winner!

   
Do you have a recipe for miniature jelly rolls?

Baby Jelly Rolls

Following the new food trend of tiny bites of wonderfully flavored food, these teeny jelly rolls are a great idea.

1/4 cup flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup firm fruit jam, any flavor

In small bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 3 Tbsp. sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. In another small bowl, using same beaters without washing them, beat egg yolks, vanilla, and 3 Tbsp. sugar at high speed until thick and lemon colored. Fold the two mixtures together. Mix together flour and baking powder and gently fold into batter.

Spread carefully into a 15x10" jelly roll pan that has been lined with parchment paper and greased. Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes until top springs back when touched with finger.

Loosen sides of cake, turn onto kitchen towel that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Peel off parchment paper and roll up cake and towel together. Cool completely.

Unroll cake and remove towel. Cut into thirds, then cut each piece in half so you have six pieces that measure 3-1/3" by 7-1/2". Spread each with jam and roll up. Cut each tiny roll in half crosswise, and glaze with Lemon Glaze.

Lemon Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Blend until thin spreading consistency.

   
How can I keep my cakes from coming out dry?

Dry Cake

If your cakes are coming out dry, check the temperature of your oven. If the temperature is too low cakes will dry out while baking. Also, make sure there are no drafts in the area where you cool your cakes.

   
Do you have a recipe for an applesauce cake?

Apple Pecan Layer Cake

2-1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1-1/2 cups applesauce
1/2 cup choped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round 9" layer cake pans and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add eggs, oil and applesauce and beat until combined. Then beat for two more minutes at medium speed on a mixer, or 100 strokes with a wooden spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched with finger, cake pulls away from edges of pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove from pans to a wire rack and cool thoroughly.

Browned Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter (NO substitutes)
5 cups powdered sugar
6-9 Tbsp. apple juice

In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Then continue to cook butter, watching constantly, until the butter turns a light golden brown color. Stir constantly while the butter browns. Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine cooled butter, powdered sugar, and apple juice in a large bowl and beat until well blended. You can add additional apple juice to reach a good spreading consistency. Use this frosting to fill and frost cake. 12-16 servings

   
How can you move delicate cut cake layers?

Help in Dividing Layers

When you cut cake layers horizontally, often the thin cut pieces are very delicate. To move them without breaking them, slid a very thin cookie sheet between the layers after they have been cut. You can easily move the layers around this way.

   
How full should I fill muffin tins?

Filling Muffin Tins

When you are making cupcakes, make sure to fill the muffin tins as directed in the recipe. This may be anywhere from 2/3 to 3/4 full. If you don't follow those instructions, your cupcakes will overbake and be hard, or will overflow the tin and make a mess in your oven!

   
Do you have a recipe for Passover?

Coconut Macaroon Torte

This wonderful recipe from Bert Greene is perfect for Passover. For superfine matzo meal, you can grind regular matzo meal in your blender or food processor. Or maybe that should be another tip!

4 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. light rum, or apple juice
1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup ground blanched almonds
2 Tbsp. superfine matzo meal
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan, and sprinkle it with matzo meal; shake out the excess. Set aside.

Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 Tbsp. at a time, and beat until stiff and shiny. Then beat in the rum or apple juice.

Combine coconut, almonds, superfine matzo meal, and lemon zest in a bowl and fold into the egg whites. Spread in the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees until the top is light brown, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan.

To serve, sprinkle fruit with about 1/4 cup sugar to create juices, to taste. Unmold the torte onto a platter and place fruit on top.

   
How long do I need to let a cake cool for?

Cooling Times for cakes

There are different cooling times for different cakes:

Regular layer cakes need to cool for ten minutes before being removed from the pan.

Angel, sponge, and chiffon cakes may need to be cooled completely in the inverted pan to prevent shrinking or falling. Follow the recipe carefully!

Sheet cakes usually cool completely in the pan.

Bundt cakes cool for ten to fifteen minutes, then are removed from the pan.

   
Do you have a recipe for a killer chocolate cake using a mix?

Chocolate Suicide

1 pkg. devil's food cake mix
1-1/3 cups water
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs

Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Bake in two greased and floured 8" round pans at 350 degrees for 35-45- minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely.

16 oz. good quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
1-1/3 cups heavy cream
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate over low heat. Heat cream and butter together in a large saucepan until it boils. Pour cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Cool 20 minutes.

Line 9" springform pan with waxed paper. Cut cooled cake into cubes. Place in mixer bowl. Beat with 1-1/3 cups ganache until texture is like thick fudge. Spread evenly in prepared pan, smoothing top. Freeze for one hour. Unmold and coat with remaining chocolate ganache. Store in refrigerator.

   
What else can I use for flouring cake pans?

Use Cocoa for Dusting Cake Pans

When you bake a chocolate cake, use a little cocoa to dust the pan instead of flour. The cake coloring will be perfect.

   
Do you have any cake recipes from the 2002 Pillsbury Bake-Off?

Banana Fudge Baby Cakes

Banana Fudge Baby Cakes

1 15-oz. pkg. hot fudge swirl deluxe brownie mix
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted, cooled
3/4 cup (2 medium) mashed bananas
1/2 cup butter, melted, cooled
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup chopped pecans or macadamia nuts
1/2 cup chocolate-flavored syrup, if desired
Powdered sugar, if desired
Vanilla ice cream, if desired

Spray 12 nonstick muffin cups with nonstick coating spray. Place unopened fudge packet in small bowl and cover with warm water to soften.

In a large bowl, combine melted chocolate chips, bananas, butter, vanilla and eggs and beat well. Add brownie mix and mix 50 strokes with spoon. Spoon half of batter evenly into each of the sprayed cups. Open fudge packet and carefully squeeze about 1 teaspoon of fudge filling in the center of each cup. Cover with remaining batter and sprinkle with pecans. Cups will be full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-27 minutes until edges are set and centers are still soft. Cool for 3 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cups to loosen and remove cakes. Serve warm with syrup, ice cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

   
Do you have a recipe for individual tiny frosted cakes?

Pecan Cakes

If you don't have the time or inclination to frost each individual cake, bake it in 2 9" layer pans and use the frosting to fill and frost the finished cake. Then hold chopped pecans in one hand and carefully press them into the frosting to completely coat the cake.

2-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
3-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 egg whites, at room temperature

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large mixing bowl. Beat in butter, milk and vanilla until smooth, at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the unbeaten (that's right, UNBEATEN!!) egg whites and beat 2 minutes longer until satiny. Pour into a greased and floured 13x9" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until surface springs back when lightly touched with finger, and cake just begins to pull away from edges of pan.

1 cup butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar, pressed through sieve
1/2 cup milk, or more or less, as needed
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter with 2 cups powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add remaining powdered sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla, beating until fluffy and desired spreading consistency.

3 cups pecans, finely chopped OR 3 cups coconut

Cut the cake into 1-1/2" squares. Frost all sides of each square, then drop into the pecans and roll to coat. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Makes about 40 cakes

   
Do you have a good recipe for chocolate sheet cake?

Easy Chocolate Cake

Easy Chocolate Cake

3 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter
1 cup water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt chocolate, butter, and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Place flour, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl. Pour the chocolate mixture all at once into the dry ingredients and blend well. Add buttermilk and soda and mix. Then add eggs and vanilla. Pour into greased 13x9" pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until top springs back when lightly touched with finger. Frost cake while warm.

Frosting

3 squares unsweetened chocolate
8 Tbsp. milk
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. melted butter

Melt the chocolate and set aside. Mix together the milk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the melted chocolate and beat well. Then beat in the butter (frosting is pourable consistency). Pour over the cake while warm.

   
How do I keep the frosting off my cake plate when I frost my cakes?

Frosting Cake Tip

Want to prevent frosting from messing up your cake plate? Slide narrow strips of waxed paper under your cake before frosting. When you are done, simply pull the strips away and your cake plate will be clean!

   
How can I get my cake layers to be perfectly flat and even?

Even Cake Layers

For absolutely even, flat cake layers that are so easy to frost, use Magi-Cake strips, found at Sweet Celebrations.

   
How can I spruce up a plain cake mix?

Jazz Up a Cake with Leftover Pudding

If you have some leftover pudding, add 1/4 cup to a boxed cake mix after the initial mixing. It will add moisture and flavor.

   
Are angel food cakes fat free?

No Fat

Did you know that angel food cakes are totally, naturally, fat free? If you are on a restricted fat diet, this dessert is a great choice.

   
When I bake layer cakes, one always ends up bigger than the other?

Measuring Cake Batter

When you bake two layer cakes, use your kitchen scale to be sure that you have the same amount of batter in each pan.

   
Can I make a heart shaped cake without a shaped pan?

Heart Shaped Cake

One year for Valentine's Day, I made a heart shaped cake using one round cake pan and one square, both either 8" or 9". Bake the layers and cut the round one in half. Place the two half rounds on the sides of the square cake layer and you have a heart shape. Frost and decorate to your heart's desire.

   
How long should I cool my bundt cake before removing it from the pan?

Cooling Bundt Cakes

Pay careful attention to the cooling directions in your bundt cake recipe. If it calls for cooling the cake for 10-15 minutes and then removing it from the pan, make sure you do this. Otherwise the cake will stick and your efforts will be ruined.

   
I´m looking for a layered cake filled with raspberry preserves.

Raspberry Walnut Torte

This fabulous cake will be an instant hit with your guests. Store it in the refrigerator, but remove it about half an hour before serving so the texture is perfect.

1-3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup ground walnuts
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and ground walnuts. Stir well to mix. In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form and set aside. In large bowl, beat together sugar, vanilla and eggs for 5 minutes at highest speed, until light and fluffy.

Alternately fold dry ingredients and the whipped cream into the egg mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and treat the batter very carefully.

Grease and flour 2 9" round cake pans and pour the batter evenly into the pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until top springs back when touched, and cake layers begin to pull away from edges of pan. Cool 15 minutes, then remove layers from pans and cool completely.

Frosting

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla

In large bowl, beat all frosting ingredients until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl often.

12 oz. jar seedless raspberry preserves

Now split each layer of the cake in half. To do this, place toothpicks around each layer, sticking out around the edge, to mark the halfway point. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the cake layers in half. You will then have four layers. Here's a new trick I learned from Martha (you know who I mean!). To transfer the delicate layers, carefully slide a very thin cookie sheet, without edges, in between the cut layers. Then slide it onto the serving plate.

Place the bottom half of one layer on the serving place and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with top half of that cake layer and spread with 1/2 cup raspberry preserves. Repeat with third and four layers, topping with frosting and raspberry preserves, respectively, reassembling the layers back in their original form. Then frost the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. If you like, you can pipe frosting in a decorative pattern on top of the preserves that top the cake. Store in refrigerator.

Okay, now that you are thoroughly threatened by this recipe, there is an easier way! Don't cut the cake layers in half. Simply fill with raspberry preserves, then frost top and sides with the cream cheese frosting - pile it on. You'll still have a wonderful cake, with less work

   
How can I keep my cake from falling apart while frosting?

Crumbly Cake

If your cake layers are falling apart, chill them before frosting. You can even freeze the layers, and they will be easy to handle.

   
Do you have a recipe for a light lemon cake?

Lemon Platinum Cake

This beautiful cake is a real showstopper. Buy the best quality lemon curd you can find, since it's such an important part of this cake. The lemon sponge cake would also be wonderful served on its own, perhaps with some crushed strawberries on the side.

8 egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
Dash salt
1 cup sugar
7 egg yolks
1 cup flour
1/3 cup lemon juice

Beat egg whites until foamy, then add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until soft peaks, then add 1/2 cup of the sugar, beating until stiff. Set aside. In small bowl, beat egg yolks until light, thick and lemon colored, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Add flour and lemon juice and mix. Fold beaten egg whites into yolk mixture. Pour into ungreased 10" tube pan and bake at 325 degrees 40-50 minutes until top springs back. Invert cake and cool completely. Remove from pan.

1-1/2 cups purchased lemon curd
2 cups whipping cream

Beat cream until slightly thickened. Add 1/2 cup lemon curd and beat another 30 seconds until thick. Refrigerate until you assemble the cake.

Slice cooled cake horizontally to make 3 layers. Place 1 layer on serving plate and spread with 1/2 of the lemon curd. Place second layer on top and spread with more lemon curd. Place top layer on top and frost top and sides with whipped cream frosting. Chill at least 1 hour before cutting.

   
How do I slice a cake into layers?

Floss Your Cakes!

To easily divide cake layers, use a long piece of dental floss and drag it through the middle of the cake slowly. Be sure to keep the floss level as you go across.

   
I am having a kids party, any fun dessert ideas?

Fun Cupcakes

For fun cupcakes, fill cake ice cream cones (the flat bottomed ones) half full with cake or brownie batter and bake. Decorate with icing and sprinkles.

   
What is an easy way to rotate layer cake pans while baking?

Rotating Cake Pans

When you rotate cake layers during baking for even browning, use kitchen tongs to grasp the pans instead of oven mitts. You won't risk denting the delicate cake.

   
I have a boxed cake mix. How can I make it better?

Make Your Boxed Cake Taste Richer

You can easily add richness to a regular boxed cake mix by simply adding one tablespoon of butter.

   
How do I cool an angel food cake quickly?

Cool Your Angel Food Cake

When your angel food cake is done baking, invert the pan onto a glass bottle such as a wine bottle (preferably empty) to cool. It will cool more quickly, and the cake will not shrink, as the proteins and starches are stretched during cooling.

   
When should I separate my eggs for angel food cake?

Egg Whites

Separate the eggs for your angel food cake when they are cold, fresh from the refrigerator. The yolk is firmer then, and won't break as easily.

   
Do I have to grease a bundt pan?

Greasing Bundt Pans

It is very important to make sure all the cracks and crevices in a bundt pan are thoroughly greased and floured. The cake will stick in spots if it isn't covered, and you'll have holes in the final product.

   
What are doneness tests for sheet cakes?

Doneness Test

Sheet cakes are done when the top springs back when lightly touched with your finger, and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

   
Should I grease my angel food cake tube pan?

Tube Pans

Tube pans used for baking angel food cakes are almost never greased. The sides of the pan need to be clean so the cake batter can 'grasp' it when rising.

   
Do I need to be careful when adding a filling to bundt cakes?

Bundt Cake Fillings

If you are making a bundt cake that has a filling baked in, be sure that the filling doesn't touch the sides of the pan. If it does, the cake won't be as pretty, the filling won't be a surprise, and it will probably stick to the pan.

   
How can I improve the flavor of my coconut cakes?

Coconut Cake

For the most intense coconut cake, use cream of coconut as the liquid in any recipe. Be sure to stir it well before using.

   
How can I improve Pineapple Upside Down Cake?

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

To prevent the brown sugar topping on an upside down cake from becoming too brown while baking, place the cake pan on top of a cookie sheet. This will insulate the bottom of the pan and decrease the browning of the topping.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt