Food Tips

Best Cake Practices and Essentials

Best Cake Practices and Essentials

Photography: Thinkstock

Food Tips

Best Cake Practices and Essentials

Essential Equipment

These are the tools a cake and cupcake baker needs regardless of the frequency of baking or skill level. They’ll help get the job done with ease every time. Before you begin, gather all equipment so everything will be on hand when you need it.

• Dry Ingredient Measures Have graduated sizes for measuring flour, sugar and other dry ingredients.

• Liquid Ingredient Measures Use clear glass or plastic for measuring liquids, such as milk and oil.

• Rubber Spatulas The are essential tools for folding delicate batters, scooping icing into piping bags, stirring colouring into icing and many other functions.

• Cooling Rack A wire cooling rack with a firm mesh weave will prevent sagging.

• Cake Pans Shiny light-coloured metal pans conduct heat evenly and help prevent over browning.

• Parchment Paper It’s best for lining pans and baking sheets, sliding beneath cake when icing and many other kitchen duties.

• Offset Spatulas These are essential for icing cakes and smoothing batters.

• Serrated Knife A long serrated knife cuts cake layers smoothly and evenly.

• Piping Bags and Tips Stock an assortment of piping tips for many decorating techniques. Having two or more piping bags means you can use multiple colours without washing the bag between colours.

• Pastry Brush Use it for brushing crumbs from cake layers before icing, greasing cake pans and brushing glaze onto cakes.

• Cake Tester This is the best tool for testing for doneness.

• Oven Thermometer Ensuring your oven temperature is accurate gives the best results.


The Measure of Success



In baking (more so than in other types of cooking), measuring ingredients accurately determines the outcome of a recipe. Using the correct tool gives the best results every time.

Dry Measures

Use metal or plastic nesting cups to measure flour, sugar, icing sugar, cocoa powder and any other dry ingredients.

• To measure flour, sugar and most dry ingredients, work over canister or container and lightly spoon ingredient into dry measure until heaping. Push straight edge of metal spatula or knife across top to level, letting excess fall into canister. (When measuring flour, do not pat or tap on counter or scoop directly from the package. This compacts the flour and is the number one cause of tough, dry cakes.)

• Brown sugar is an exception. To measure, pack into dry measure until level to top and firm enough that sugar holds its shape when turned out.

Liquid Measures

Use clear glass or plastic spouted measures for all liquids.

• Place wet measure on flat surface. Bend down so you’re at eye level with the markings on the cup; fill to the correct marking.


Best Cake Practices



Follow these simple steps for cake-making success every time.

• Read recipe all the way through before beginning. This gives you a clear idea of the time, ingredients and equipment you will need.

• Gather all ingredients and equipment. Prep and measure ingredients, chilling those that need to be cold and setting out the ones that should be at room temperature. (Mise en place is a term for getting all required items prepped and in order.)

• Preheat oven and adjust racks. Depending on the make, model and age of your oven, it can take 10 to 20 minutes to bring it to the proper temperature. Do this first so that delicate batters don’t have to wait before being popped into the oven. Adjust racks to the proper positions so you don’t have to handle them when hot.

• Prepare pans. Whether you’re lining them with parchment paper, greasing the sides or simply setting them out before you mix, this will ensure they’re ready when you are.


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Food Tips

Best Cake Practices and Essentials