Hello 2011!- cake-baking tips

There has been a lot going on for me over the last week, so sorry for not posting anything. I'm just returning to "normal" cooking after the holidays; ie: no more festive buffets and I'll be making plainer cooked meals.
Here are some of the cake- baking tips I promised earlier:
  • When making a cake, get things prepared first: Before you start mixing: pre-heat the oven so that it is ready the minute you have prepared your cake mix, and then grease and flour/ line the cake tin. This way, there is no delay between preparing and cooking your cake (see below).
  • After mixing a cake, get it into a pre-heated oven STRAIGHT AWAY or the chemical reaction where the bubbles are formed which make the spongy texture will happen before cooking takes place. This means that the bubbles will go because the mixture does not solidify around them and the resulting cake will be doughy and dense.
  • My mother's tip for ensuring a cake rises well is to add a tablespoon of very hot water to the mix immediately before baking. If you do this, be sure you don't make the mixture too wet.  A wet cake mix cracks on top when cooked, and may also sink. To be honest, I have never found this necessary with my sponge cake recipe (see previous post for the egg-free cake recipe).
  • Ensure you always use the cake tin size the recipe states. A smaller but deeper tin means a longer cooking time, which can result in the cake being overdone on top, or at the same cooking time means the cake will be raw inside and will therefore sink.
  • Never open the oven to check a cake before the cooking time is up. If heat escapes and the temperature inside drops even a little bit, your cake may sink.


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