Take your eggs out of the fridge, immediately.
You're not alone.
It can be easy to be bested by a recipe, particularly where you're just starting out.
To help you master the kitchen, here are 10 common mistakes to avoid while baking that will set you right.
1. Ingredients Need To Be At Room Temperature
Not having ingredients at room temperature can ruin a recipe completely. Take the ingredients out of the fridge while preparing your workspace, tins and oven, and avoid the pain of trying to get the perfect consistency in your batter with small lumps of butter flying around the bowl.
2. Read the Recipe
Reading the recipe beforehand only takes a short amount of time, but it helps you prepare for what’s ahead. There have been plenty of times when we’ve been baking and realised there is a utensil needed that we just don’t have! Or not noticing how important a certain ingredient that we have forgotten is until half way through.
3. Terrible Tins
Make sure your tin size is correct before starting. The wrong tin can result in over or under baking your cake.
4. Measure, Measure, Measure
Baking is more of a science then it is an art. As you become more familiar with the recipe you can begin to experiment with throwing in a little more of this and a dash of that. But if it’s a new recipe stick to what is recommended. Too much flour or egg can ruin an entire cake and may be the reason you're just not getting the right consistency or flavour. We always recommend getting all of your ingredients ready before you start as it makes life so much easier.
5. Grease It
Preparing your tins beforehand by greasing them up or using parchment paper, is a great way to ensure your beautiful cake comes out the tin! Put parchment paper down and coat the parchment in butter.
6. Batter It
When mixing batter for a cake you want a silky, fluffy consistency. To get this, firstly your ingredients must be room temperature in order to mix properly. When you under mix you’ll be left with ingredients sitting at the end and the sides of the bowl, and a lumpy texture; when you over mix the batter becomes too runny and thin. You want to get it just right for a good end result.
7. Size Matters
When baking certain recipes like cupcakes and cookies you want them to be the same size for all, and try to avoid over spillage on the cupcake cases (you don't want to have one large cookie and 11 tiny ones, unless the large is for yourself!). The best trick we found was using an ice-cream scoop to scoop out the batter evenly, this way you avoid any uneven proportions.
8. Fight the Urge!
Baking a cake it is not a game, it's serious business! So, don’t go playing 'peek-a-boo' with the oven constantly checking it. Every time you open the door you let cool air in which results in uneven baking. Don’t ruin all your hard work so close to the finish line.
9. Having A Messy Work Space
Having a messy workspace can be nightmarish when baking. Ingredients become mixed up and often the recipe just doesn’t work out the way it should. Make sure you start with a clean counter and with all of your ingredients ready to go. Clean as you go as well, putting reusable spoons into a cup and having a waste bowl at the ready. Clean down your workspace when you're done with a bowl full of hot soapy water.
10. Don’t Sweat It
Once the cake is done take it out of the oven and remove from the tin as soon as possible. By leaving the cake in the tin you are allowing it to sweat and get soggy. Place the cake on a cooling tray to air it out and cool it down, but be careful not to burn yourself.
This article was originally published on our sister site FOOD AND WINE.