Five Secrets To Making Really Delicious Cake

June 22, 2018

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Food

Hi. My name is Christyn and I am a cake snob. I am that annoying person who will talk about the moistness and crumb texture any time that someone orders a cake or cupcakes at the office. Yes, I can tell when someone used a box cake mix. Yes, I can tell if the frosting on your cupcakes came from a can, is italian buttercream, french buttercream, or made with margarine.

If I can be honest here for a moment, I never meant to become a cake snob. I just really love cake. So I have eaten a lot of it in my lifetime. I have enjoyed a lot of cake in my lifetime. But even if I’m enjoying the boxed cake mix cake with canned frosting that someone baked for a party, I cannot help but notice things. Like that the cake itself doesn’t really have any substance to it or that the frosting leaves this oily feel in your mouth. Yes, I still enjoy anything chocolate, even if it’s processed cake, but I cannot help from noticing the nuances of the cake that I’m eating. Maybe it comes from watching the Food Network too much or reading too many food critic reviews, I’m really not sure, but I have become a cake snob.

I know what I like and what I don’t like. I know that sometimes those boxed cakes can hit the spot if you’re just looking for a sugar high and are not looking for something truly indulgent. I know that some of those packaged cupcakes from the grocery store are utter garbage. The whole idea of those is to coat your tongue with so much processed sugar and fats that you don’t notice that the cake is as dry as the desert or that the frosting was clearly made with shortening that leaves a terrible mouthfeel.

Since becoming a cake snob, it’s really made me pay attention to the tactics that can make a homemade cake (from scratch, people, not from boxes) actually taste just as delicious as a legit bakery cake (like as in actual bakeries and not the “bakeries” included in grocery stores). ...I told you I was a cake snob.

Here are a few useful tips that I’ve found to help you make the perfect cake…

1. Have your ingredients at the proper temperature.

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I know that this actually takes planning ahead, which I know that I usually do not have the forethought for, but take the extra time it needs to cool things down or bring things up to room temperature before you start because,trust me, it makes all the difference in the world.

If you’re making a classic butter vanilla cake then you’re going to want to make sure that your butter is at the right temperature. If it’s too cold, it won’t mix properly, but if it’s too warm, it’s not going to hold up to the aeration that happens when you cream together the butter and sugar.

If your eggs are too cold they can curdle the butter. If they’re too warm they’ll make the batter runny and make the cake dense.

If a recipe indicates a temperature for an ingredient, it’s not a suggestion. Just trust them because baking is a science and some really smart people have taken the time to learn it and apply it to making delicious desserts.

2. Don’t ignore the details

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If a recipe is telling you to incorporate ⅓ of the flour, and then once that’s mixed, add ⅓ of the milk and to repeat until it’s all done, then do it that way. Coating the flour into the butter and egg mixture is going to make sure that there is not too much gluten formation. And adding the flour and milk separately will make sure that the two do not combine and make a lumpy mess. So make sure that you read through the instructions carefully and pay attention to the little details.

3. Simple syrup is the secret

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Simple syrup is your best friend for making sure that you have a nice, moist cake. There are different opinions about when you should coat your layers in simple syrup: some people believe you should do it while it’s still warm and others think that you should wait until it’s cooled. Either way that you decide to do it, brushing your layers with simple syrup (which is just water and sugar cooked together) will ensure to keep your cake moist. Honestly, I’ve found that doing this keeps the cake moist for longer too!

Fun tip: You can add flavors to your simple syrup to give your cake a subtle flavor or to enhance a flavor you used in your cake.

4. Don’t rush the cooling

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If you’re like me then you probably forgot to take your ingredients out in time to come to room temperature, which pushed your baking back and so your cake came out at 10:00pm and now it’s 10:15, you’re tired and just want to frost the stupid thing so that you can go get ready and go to bed.

I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to wait. I know. I know. It’s pretty much cooled by now. It should be good, right? WRONG. Don’t rush that extra 10-15 minutes. Let it cool completely before you frost it. Some people even use a freezer technique before they frost. Just don’t do it. Frosting has butter. Butter easily melts, which means a mess.

5. Make sure your filling is the right texture

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Whatever you’ve decided to use as the filling in the cake, make sure that it’s the right consistency. You want something with enough strength and gusto to hold the cake in place