15 Baking Tricks to Guarantee Success
Baking can be a tricky thing sometimes, but when you get it just right it’s very rewarding! Sometimes it can come down to just the measurement of ingredients or the way you mix. Here’s some of our 15 best baking tricks that ensure success every time.
1. Don’t rush
Oh no, our dinner party is in 30 minutes and I’m supposed to make a cake! Let’s just whip it up fast and it’ll still be good. *STOP*
As much as you want to bake fast and indulge as soon as possible, baking should not be rushed and when it is, it probably won’t turn out. When you take the time to read the recipe and properly make it, that is when it will come out good. In the past I know I’ve tried to rush many things and they end up falling over or lumpy, or breaking. If you are in a hurry, find a quick and easy recipe. Plan ahead and have patience. 😉
2. Softened Butter
Butter is in almost everything and when it’s not softened it can really destroy your dessert. When the recipe calls for softened butter, you’re going to want it! Maybe you could microwave it? Maybe you could let it sit for just 10-20 minutes? No!
I used to think that just popping it in the microwave or oven for a bit would soften it just enough and be perfect… 😕. Not the case. Having softened butter really makes a difference because then it can get light and fluffy like it’s supposed to ensuring the perfect texture.
So, don’t just throw in a cold stick, take the time to let it sit and come to room temperature before using it. 😁
3. Make sure you have all the ingredients
Plenty of times I’ve gotten ready to bake and realize I’m missing something! Before you start, always make sure you have all the ingredients you need. Forgetting 1 ingredient or not adding it can change the whole recipe and possibly cause a fail.
4. Properly Measure
It may seen obvious to measure your ingredients, but are you doing it correctly? For dry ingredients, using a measuring cup and using a knife to even it out on top is key to making sure there’s just enough. If you have a kitchen scale, that will ensure it’s even more precise! For packed brown sugar, make sure you pack it all way and the top is even as well. With wet ingredients use a glass measuring cup and place on the counter so it fills even to the line.
5. Read the full recipe
Many times before I’ve thought I read everything but realize I forgot a step! Reading the full recipe is very important because then you have some prior knowledge on how to make your baked goods. That way, you won’t miss a step!
6. Store baked goods with bread or fully cover
You spent all that time making the best cake, cupcakes, or baked item and then it’s gross and stale within a few days! Making sure to fully cover your baked items is very important. You can store them in an air tight tupperware, cake stand, or plastic bags. Placing a slice of bread with your baked goods will also ensure that it stays moist and soft for much longer. Just make sure the bread doesn’t mold. 😉
7. Don’t Open the Oven
As much as you want to check to see how your little baked goods are turning out, it’s best to just use the oven light or let them be. Opening the oven while they’re baking will let out some of the hot air and change the baking process. It could add unneeded extra baking time or uncooked baked goods.
8. Do a Pantry Purge
After a few weeks or months some pantry staples can go bad especially if they’re not properly stored. Believe it or not, baking soda has a shelf life and if it has sat for too long, it’s dead, and won’t help your baked items to rise. Time to pitch it! For standard pantry staples like flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and yeast, it’s important to keep them in an air tight container because it will keep them fresh for as long as it can. If a baking item has sat unused for too long, it’s time to pitch it! Give your pantry a quick purge every few months.
9. Chill Ingredients
We’ve all been there where we don’t feel like chilling our ingredients, like frosting, cookie dough, or fillings, but it’s really important in the baking process! If a recipe says to chill something, definitely do it! Especially when it comes to cookie dough, if you’re dough doesn’t chill the cookie could flatten and spread in the oven. 😢 Not all dough requires chilling time, but when it does, it’s key!
10. Double Grease
Oh no, my cake got stuck to the bottom of the pan!
If you grease your cake pan with butter or non-stick spray and then give a quick sprinkle of flour your cake will never stick again! Just grease, sprinkle some flour, tap out the extra, and ta-da! Another non-stick trick is to grease your pan and then line the bottom with parchment paper. Lining the bottom is especially good for cakes. Greasing and flouring is good for other pans like a bundt.
11. Knowing How to Store Your Baked Goods
You spent all that time baking the perfect goody and now it’s dry and gross after the 3rd day. Many people don’t know how to store their goods and it’s very important after baking. Many recipes will tell you how to store them and how long they last, but what if they don’t?
- Cakes can be stored in a cake stand or in a covered container.
- Cookies can be stored in a plastic bag or tupperware.
- Frozen goods should be covered tightly and placed in the freezer.
- Brownies and Bars can also be stored in a plastic container.
- Cheesecake or desserts with fruit filling or cold fillings should be covered and stored in the fridge.
- Breakfast goods like donuts and cinnamon rolls should be covered and can stay out.
- Most pies should be covered and stored in the fridge.
12. Don’t Overmix
A common mistake of baking is always over mixing the batter. If you over mix the batter it will become dense and sometimes crumbly. Most recipes say how long to mix the batter, but usually it’s between 3-4 minutes. The batter should still be light and airy after mixing.
13. Substitute Wisely
Sometimes you run out of ingredients or don’t want to use one and that’s ok. Many ingredients can be substituted for other common household ingredients, but they shouldn’t always. We suggest using what the recipe says, but there are many good substitutes out there. Click here for our Out-Of’s page which has different substitutes for ingredients.
14. Fully Mix
Sometimes you think you’re done with a cake batter and realize there’s still some flour mixture on the bottom and sides. When you’re mixing always make sure to scrape the sides in between and fold here and there so everything can be incorporated. Sometimes stand mixers have the bad habit of dry ingredients getting stuck at the bottom. If this happens, just use a spatula to hand mix it together and then continue mixing.
15. Have Fun
Don’t let baking stress you out too much! Everybody has successes and fails and it’s all about trial and error. If it doesn’t work, it may take a few times before you find the perfect recipe. Nothing is perfect, but when it is, it’s very rewarding! 😁