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19 Small Baking Tips That Actually Make A Pretty Big Difference

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19 Small Baking Tips That Actually Make A Pretty Big Difference

Posted 4 hours ago

No matter what you’re making, remember these.

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1. When baking anything, prep the pan before you prep the batter.

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Baking is all about precision. Once your ingredients are mixed together, you need to pop your baked good in the oven ASAP (or: before everything gets too warm!) so leavening agents can work their magic. So prep that pan ahead of time to make sure it’s ready to go right when you need it.

2. To make whipped cream extra fluffy, refrigerate your mixing bowl beforehand.

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Place the mixing bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes before beating the cream. It’ll be much more stable and fluffy than if you had used a room-temperature bowl.

3. Making a layer cake? Flip the top layer upside-down to get a perfectly flat and even top — perfect for frosting application.

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Instead of trimming your top cake, you can just flip it for an easy and perfectly smooth result.

4. And when decorating, secure the cake with a spoonful of frosting at the bottom so it stays in place.

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If you want a smooth frosting application, you’ll need both a steady hand and a steady cake. This little trick will help with the latter and ensure your cake doesn’t move at all during the process.

5. If you’re using a cake stand, pre-line it with parchment — so it stays clean while you’re frosting.

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Is this completely necessary? Not really. But if you want a clean, bakery-worthy cake stand when you serve your masterpiece, the easiest way to do that is to place strips of parchment paper around the base of your cake. Slip them out once you’re done decorating — and you’ll be left with a spotless cake stand.

6. Amp up the flavor of chocolate baked goods by adding espresso powder to the batter.

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To get more depth of flavor in your chocolate cakes, brownies, and cookies, add a teaspoon of espresso powder. It’s also a great way to improve boxed chocolate cake mix.

7. Let your cookie dough “ripen” for at least 24 hours in the fridge before baking.

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8. Make sure you’re using the right size eggs for your recipe.

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Another important detail to double-check when baking? The type of egg size your recipe calls for. A medium egg is much smaller than an extra-large or jumbo egg, and mixing up the two can significantly alter your recipe.

9. When a recipe calls for room temperature butter, actually use room temperature butter.

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The temperature of your ingredients actually matters. If you’ve forgotten and really don’t want to wait a few hours for your straight-from-the-fridge butter to be ready, just warm a bowl in the microwave (or fill it with boiling water for a few seconds to warm it up), then cover your butter with it for a few minutes and it’ll be ready to go.

10. Invest in a kitchen scale…

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The best way to measure ingredients accurately is by weight — rather than volume. So if you want to get serious about baking, invest in a food scale. You can find some for pretty cheap ($11.95 on Amazon) and it’ll quickly become your best friend in the kitchen.

11. …and in an oven thermometer.

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Getting your oven to the right temperature is crucial when baking. Even when you preheat your oven, it may not actually be at the temperature you need. (Mine always run a bit cold, for example.) The best way to make sure is by using an oven thermometer, like this one which only costs $7.

12. If you want to fully nail the look and texture of a cookie, take some time to learn (and geek out!) over the science behind it.

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Achieving ~cookie perfection~ is one of the greatest challenges in baking. To do so, you really need to understand how each ingredient and each step in the process impacts the final result. Here’s a useful guide to get you started.

13. Use your hands — instead of egg shells — to separate the whites from the yolks.

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When you’re using egg shells, you risk puncturing the yolk or getting shells in your whites, whereas using your hands is actually quicker and easier. Just make sure you wash them before and after.

14. If you’re beating egg whites into stiff peaks, check if they’re ready by flipping the bowl upside down.

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Don’t worry, though, you don’t actually need to do it over your head.

15. Don’t skip sifting.

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This step isn’t always necessary when baking, but if your recipe instructs you to sift your dry ingredients, do it. It’ll keep lumps at bay and ensure dry ingredients get incorporated well.

16. And when a recipe tells you to cream the butter and sugar together, take the time to do it right.

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Creaming butter and sugar together is a crucial step in many baking recipes, from cakes to cookies. Creaming adds air into your dough, helps with the structure of the baked good, and acts as a leavening agent.

Most recipes won’t give you a precise time for this step and will only say “until light and fluffy”. To get to that? First, make sure your butter is at room temperature. Then, you should beat on medium speed for several minutes, making sure to scrape the bowl along the way. To see if it’s ready, roll some of the mixture between your fingers: The sugar should be completely dissolved and there should barely be any granules left. Once you’ve reached that stage, you’re good to go.

17. Prop your piping bags in a glass or a mason jar to fill them without making a mess.

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Filling a piping bag is one of the most annoying steps in decorating a cake. This little trick makes it so much easier: just place the bag in a glass or container and fold the edges over and you’ll be ready to go. This video shows you exactly how to do it.

18. Set your timer to five minutes before baking is supposed to be done.

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You don’t want your cake or cookies to come out dry and overcooked. Since you can never completely trust your oven temperature or the baking time announced on a recipe, check your cake a few minutes before it’s supposed to be done.

19. Always add a pinch of salt to your dough or your batter to make it more flavorful.

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Whether you’re making pie dough or cookies or a cake, you always should add a pinch of salt to the mix. Salt sharpens flavors — and is essential even (and some may argue: especially!) when it comes to sweet treats.

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