Celebrating a birthday or other special occasion with cake is a great idea. Whether you bake a cake from scratch or you use a pre-made cake mix in a box, baking a cake is easy. You can choose from a variety of options when it comes to cake flavors and you can choose a variety of different pairings when it comes to toppings and frostings. You can also add extra ingredients to the batter, such as chocolate chips, flakes of coconut, or walnuts.
Most cake mixes provide the dry mixture and you need to add wet ingredients. If you are making the cake from scratch, determine the amount of dry ingredients you will need to prepare the cake. Once your dry ingredients are mixed, you can add the wet ingredients. If you are using a pre-made mix, you will begin at the point of adding wet ingredients to the dry mix.
Gather All of the Cake Ingredients
Start by gathering your ingredients and baking materials. Cakes can be round, square, rectangular, and the shape of the pan affects baking time. Check the baking directions for your specific recipe so you know how long to bake the cake. Set the oven temperature before you begin mixing the ingredients. This will allow the oven to heat while you focus on other steps. You should also prepare the cake pans with vegetable shortening, flour, or non-stick spray before the ingredients are mixed. This allows you to pour the mix into the pans as soon as they are prepared.
Next, pre-measure your ingredients. This allows you to return the excess milk, eggs, and other ingredients that might spoil to the refrigerator as soon as possible. You should add the wet ingredients to the dry mix in the order listed in the recipe. Baking, unlike cooking, involves a number of chemical reactions, so adding something like baking soda in the wrong order can affect the final product.
Mix the Ingredients
Once the ingredients are in the bowl, you can begin mixing. It is possible to whisk a cake by hand, but using an electric mixer leads to a fluffier, lighter cake. You will want to use a spatula to wipe the bowl during the mixing process to ensure all of the dry ingredients are blended with the wet ingredients. Usually, you need to mix the batter for two minutes. Mixing for too long can cause your cake to be flat and heavy, so follow your recipe closely in regard to mixing time.
Now you can pour the batter into the baking pans. You will want the pans to be about two-thirds full. This is because the batter will rise, so if you fill the pans all the way it will overflow. Tap the pans on the counter to release any air bubbles. Once the oven has reached the correct baking temperature, you can place the pans in the oven and set the baking timer. Typically, you bake a cake at 350 degrees for 35 to 55 minutes. You can test the cake around the 30 minute mark to prevent a problem with the baking time.
Once the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven. It will need to cool for awhile before you add frosting. Removing the cake from the pan will help it cool faster.