FAQ

The best baked goods, including light cakes, tender cookies, fine-textured breads, and high popovers, depend on the precise combination of flour, liquid, leavening agents, fats, sugars, and flavors. Learn a bit about each ingredient and the function it performs in the finished product.

Flour

Flour provides the structure for the product. The gluten, or protein, in flour, combines to form a web that traps air bubbles and sets.

Starch in flour sets as it heats to add to and support the structure. In cakes, cookies, and quick breads, we want little gluten formation, which makes products tough. Fats and sugars help prevent gluten formation. In most baked goods, all-purpose flour is a good choice; it has less gluten than bread flour.

Fat

Fat coats gluten molecules so they can’t combine as easily, contributing to the finished product’s tenderness. In many cakes, fat also contributes to the fluffiness of the final product. When sugar is creamed with fat, small pockets of air form from the sharp edges of the crystals interacting with the fat. These pockets form a finer grain in the finished product. Fats also carry flavors and add to a tender mouth-feel.

Sugar

Sugar adds sweetness, as well as contributing to the product’s browning. Sugar tenderizes a cake by preventing the gluten from forming. Sugar also holds moisture in the finished product.

Sugar crystals cutting into solid fats like butter help form the structure of the product by making small holes which are filled with CO2 when the leavening agents react.

Eggs

Eggs are a leavening agent and the yolks add fat for a tender and light texture. The yolks also act as an emulsifier for a smooth and even texture in the finished product.

And the proteins contribute to the structure of the baked good.

Liquid

Liquid helps carry flavorings throughout the product, forms gluten bonds, and reacts with the starch in the protein for a strong but light structure. Liquids also act as steam during baking, acting as a leavening agent and contributing to the tenderness of the product.

Salt

Salt strengthens gluten and adds flavor. Salt enhances flavors. In yeast breads, salt helps moderate the effect of the yeast so the bread doesn’t rise too quickly.

Leavening Agents

Baking soda and baking powder form CO2, that is held by fat pockets, gluten and starch, which makes the baked product rise. Baking soda and powder are not interchangeable; be sure that you have the product the recipe calls for. To much leavening agent will make the bubbles too big, then they combine and burst, leading to a flat cake or bread. Too little leavening agent will result in a heavy product, with soggy or damp layers.

Source: www.thespruce.com

We’ll often come across a recipe that we would love to make, but find the oven temperature listed in the recipe is not what we are used to. Here, in the United States we use Fahrenheit. That shouldn’t stop us from making delicious recipes from other countries, though.

These conversions are approximate for Fahrenheit, Celsius, and gas marks.

Fahrenheit Celsius Gas Mark Terminology
  275 degrees F   140 degrees C             1   Very Cool or Very Slow
  300 degrees F   150 degrees C             2   Cool or Slow
  325 degrees F   165 degrees C             3   Warm
  350 degrees F   177 degrees C             4   Moderate
  375 degrees F   190 degrees C             5   Moderate
  400 degrees F   200 degrees C             6   Moderately Hot
  425 degrees F   220 degrees C             7   Hot
  450 degrees F   230 degrees C             8   Hot
  475 degrees F   245 degrees C             9   Hot
  500 degrees F   260 degrees C             10   Very Hot

 

For the exact conversion, we have shared formulas for converting Fahrenheit to Celsius and vice versa.

How to Convert Fahrenheit to Celsius

To convert degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius, you will need to subtract 32 to the Fahrenheit temperature, multiply by 5, then divide by 9.

For example, to convert 350 degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius you would complete the following equation:

350 degrees Fahrenheit – 32 = 318

318 x 5 = 1590

1590 / 9 = 176.66 degrees Celsius, which can be rounded to 177 degrees Celsius

How to Convert Celsius to Fahrenheit

To convert degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to multiply degrees Celsius by 9, divide by 5, then add 32.

For example, to convert 177 degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit you would complete the following equation:

177 degrees Celsius x 9 = 1593

1593 / 5 = 318.6

318.6 +32 = 350.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be rounded to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Source: www.inspiredtaste.net

Baking powder is a common chemical leavening agent used to create a light, fluffy texture in many baked goods. Baking powder consists of an alkaline powder, an acid salt, and a neutral starch. The alkaline and acid components combine to give baking powder leavening action, while the starch (usually corn or potato starch) serves to absorb moisture and prolong the powder’s potency during storage.

Baking powder is most often used to leaven muffins, pancakes, quick breads or other mixtures that use a loose batter.

Batters are not strong enough to hold in gases for long periods of time so they need quick acting leavening action like that created with baking powder or baking soda.

How Does Baking Powder Work?

When acids and bases combine, they often release gas as a byproduct of the reaction. To prevent baking powder from reacting as soon as it is made, an acid is used, which will not react with the base until water is added.

When moisture is added to baking powder, the acid and base react and produce carbon dioxide gas. As the gas is released, it becomes trapped in the batter, which causes it to inflate and expand.

The neutral starch added to baking powder absorbs moisture in the ambient air, thus preventing it from catalyzing the reaction during storage.

Single Acting vs Double Acting Baking Powder

Single acting baking powder reacts upon hydration at room temperature. This means the bulk of the leavening action occurs as soon as the batter is mixed.

If there is a delay between mixing an baking, some of the gas may escape and cause deflation. Double acting baking powder releases a second burst of gas upon exposure to heat. This second burst of gas makes up for any loss of gas between the initial hydration of the batter and when the batter solidifies in the oven.

This is especially useful for products like pancakes that may not be cooked immediately after mixing.

The type of acid salt used in the baking powder will determine whether it is a single acting or double acting powder. For convenience and reliability, most baking powders sold in stores today are double acting.

Baking Powder vs Baking Soda

Baking powder contains both an acid and a base component and relies on moisture and heat to react. Baking soda is an alkaline only powder that requires the addition of an acid ingredient (vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, etc.) to react.

Baking powder can be made at home by combining baking soda (base), cream of tartar (acid) and corn starch. If the mixture is going to be used immediately, the cornstarch is not necessary. Cream of tartar is a room temperature reacting acid so this mixture would be considered a single acting baking powder.

Whether baking soda or baking powder will be used in a recipe usually depends on the relative acidity of the other ingredients in the batter. Batters that include acidic ingredients will use mostly, if not all, baking soda because the addition of too much baking powder will result in an acidic batter and the flavor will be affected.

Likewise, if a batter does not include acidic ingredients and baking soda is used, there will not be enough acid to cause the leavening reaction and the end product may taste bitter due to the abundance of alkaline ingredients.

How to Test Baking Powder

Because baking powder only requires moisture to react, exposure to ambient air can cause a slow loss of potency over time. To test your baking powder, simply place a small amount in a dish and add water. Vigorous bubbles should appear within 10-15 seconds. If the powder does not react with water, it no longer holds its leavening power.

How Do Baking Soda and Baking Powder Work?

So, how do baking soda and baking powder actually work? Baking soda is an alkaline, and when you mix in something acidic, like vinegar, it will release gas. The key here is that baking soda needs some sort of acid to activate the reaction.

So it will work in recipes that include acidic ingredients like buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, yogurt and so on.

Molasses is also acidic, and so, believe it or not, is honey. So any of these ingredients would activate the baking soda. But if you were to try to substitute baking soda for baking powder in a recipe where no acidic ingredient is present, there will be no release of gas and the dough won’t rise.

Baking powder, on the other hand, is nothing more than baking soda with some sort of acidic compound (different brands of baking powder use different compounds) already included. The baking soda and the acidic compound won’t react together until they are moistened, which causes the two chemicals to mix.

So-called “double-acting” baking powder is also activated by the heat of the oven or griddle, and thus has greater leavening powers.

Using Baking Powder Instead of Baking Soda

So now let’s say you were to use baking powder instead of baking soda. This should create some leavening, because a recipe that calls for baking soda should already include some sort of acidic ingredient as described above.

But here’s where the problem lies: Baking powder is about one-third baking soda, and about two thirds other ingredients. So while you will indeed get some rise, you won’t get enough, because you would essentially only be using one-third the amount of baking soda as the recipe actually requires.

If you were determined to do this, you could triple the amount of baking powder, but because of the additional ingredients in the baking powder, you’d probably notice a bitter flavor. There’s also a chance that because of the extra acids in the recipe, the batter would quickly rise and then fall before the bubbles had a chance to bake in.

Either way, the results are not good.

Source: www.thespruce.com

1. My cake has peaked in the middle and is cracked.

This happens when a/ there’s too much raising agent, b/ the cake tin’s too small or c/ the oven temperature is too high.

2. My cake has a gooey centre.

The cake hasn’t been cooked for long enough. When you check the cake before taking it out of the oven, a skewer should come out clean and the cake should feel the same in the middle as it does around the edges.

3. My cake is overcooked and thin but the texture is good. 

This happens when the cake tin is too big.

4. My cake is flat and has large air bubbles on the top. 

This could be because a/ the cake didn’t go into the oven as soon as the mixture was finished or b/ the oven wasn’t hot enough when the cake went in.

5. My cake has sunk in the middle. 

There are three main reasons for this: a/ the oven door has been opened before the cake has set, b/ the cake didn’t go in the oven as soon as the mixture was ready or c/ there’s too much raising agent.

6. The sides of my cake are crunchy or burnt. 

One problem, lots of possible reasons: a/ too much fat has been used to grease the tin, b/ the cake tin’s not sufficiently lined c/ the oven’s too hot, d/ the cake’s been left in the oven for too long or e/ it contains a fat not suitable for baking.

7. I can’t get my cake out of the tin. 

Make sure your baking tin is well lined. You can’t go wrong with baking parchment on the base and around the sides of your tin. Use a smear of butter on the inside of the tin to stick the parchment in place.

8. My cake is very dense. 

This could be because a/ the cake mixture hasn’t had enough air beaten into it, b/ the eggs were added too quickly and curdled or c/ there’s not enough raising agent.

9. My cake has spilled over the sides of the tin.

The cake tin is too small. It’s always best to use the tin size stated in the recipe. If you don’t, avoid filling the tin more than three-quarters full and adjust cooking times accordingly.

10. My cake is burnt on top but still isn’t cooked in the centre. 

This happens when the cake tin is too small.

Source: www.bbcgoodfood.com

My cake didn’t rise

What’s the problem? My cake didn’t rise and is as flat as a pancake.

Can I fix it? If you forgot to put the baking powder or didn’t use self-raising flour, then there’s nothing you can do to fix it. The cake’s not destined for the bin though, if the cake is still soft and spongy and not overcooked, then it’s good enough to eat. You could cut it into chunks and top with buttercream or icing for mini cakes instead – no one has to know!

If it’s not completely cooked and you’ve definitely added the rising agent, pop it back into the oven and bake for longer. Double check the temperature and make sure it’s correct – it may just be that your oven is a little too cool.

What to do next time?

  • Remember to add your baking powder next time.
  • If you’ve chosen a complicated recipe, swap it for something simpler like a classic chocolate sponge.
  • Make sure your baking tin is the right size – if it’s too big the mixture won’t rise enough to fill it.
  • And last but not least, don’t over whisk your mix. Once your ingredients are combined, that’s it – stop whisking and get baking!

 

My cake is greasy

What’s the problem? My cake is really shiny and greasy and I have no idea why!

Can I fix it? If your cake’s cooked properly, but is a little greasy, you could cover the top in chocolate and let it set to disguise the grease. If not and it’s soggy the whole way through then we’re afraid it’s one of the bin!

What to do next time?

  • Be sure to measure out your butter carefully
  • Make sure you whisk the mixture properly
  • Don’t leave your butter out on the side at room temperature for too long – it will start to sweat and become greasy and if you add that to a cake – well, you’re asking for trouble!
  • Keep your butter at a good temperature and follow the recipe.

 

My cake is stuck in the tin

What’s the problem? My cake is stuck and doesn’t want to move from the tin – help!

Can I fix it? Don’t panic! This is an easy problem to fix – just run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake, between the cake and the baking tin. Give it a little pat around the edges and on the bottom too. Leave it to stand for a little while – don’t attempt to get it out of the tin when it’s scorching hot. Let it sit for 15 mins or more.

To tip your cake out, pop on your oven gloves. Hold the tin with one oven glove and cradle the top of the cake with your other one and tip it upside down tapping around the edges until it falls onto your hand. Flip it the right way up and pop onto a cooling rack.

If it’s a major disaster and your cake has not kept its shape, don’t worry – you can let the crumbled up pieces of cake cool and add them to ice cream to make a sundae, or turn then into the layer at the bottom of a trifle or mash them up and make cake pops!

What to do next time?

  • Next time you’re making a cake remember to grease your baking tin before adding the mix.
  • Use butter, oil or non-stick and cover your tin in greaseproof paper, parchment or tin foil instead – any of these methods will save the day!

 

My cake is burnt

What’s the problem? Oh no, my cake is burnt – what should I do?

Can I fix it? If it’s ridiculously burnt, and by ridiculous we mean black beyond saving then bin it – you don’t want to get an upset stomach eating burnt cake. But if it’s just a little crispy around the edges but is soft on the inside then cut off the edges.

Get a large knife, a rigged bread knife would work, and cut off the outer layer. Cover your under cake in buttercream or icing and decorate like normal – you won’t be able to tell the difference!

What to do next time?

  • Make sure you bake your cake on the right temperature and pre-heat it properly. If it’s too hot the cake will cook too quickly and burn on top.
  • If your cake is not cooked but is starting to brown on top then cover it in tin foil or baking parchment – this will make sure the centre continues to cook but the outside doesn’t.
  • Keep an eye on it and check it every 5-7 mins until done.

 

My cake is raw

What’s the problem? I’ve just baked my cake for the correct time but it’s not cooked at all and it’s raw! Help!

Can I fix it? If your cake hasn’t even began to cook then pop it back in the oven and make sure the oven is on and on the correct temperature too.

If your cake is cooked around the outside but not in the inside then pop it back into the oven and cover tightly in tin foil. The tin foil will trap the heat and help to cook the inside of your cake. Bake for another 10-15 mins checking after 5-7 mins to make sure it’s working.

Your cake might not look very appetising when it comes out of the oven so leave it to cool and cover in the buttercream to hide the lumps and bumps if there are any!

What to do next time?

  • Checking oven temperature is key – if it’s too low it won’t cook and if it’s too high it will burn!

 

My cake mix has split

What’s the problem? I’ve started to cream my butter and sugar together along with the egg and my mixture has started to split.

Can I fix it? Before it splits any more add in your flour. Fold it with a wooden spoon or mix with an electric hand whisk until combined. The quicker you act the more likely you’ll be able to save your mix and stop it from curdling.

What to do next time?

  • You don’t have to cream your butter and sugar together, you can use an all in one method instead. There’s no need to cream the sugar and butter together just try this instead!

 

My cake is too dry

What’s the problem? I’ve just taken my cake out of the oven and it’s extremely dry!

Can I fix it? If your cake is dry to the point of crumbling when you remove it from the tin then turn your cake into CAKE POPS instead. Add some buttercream or candy melts to the mix and mould your cake into balls – there’s no need for waste! If it’s a little bit dry and still edible cover it in a thick layer of buttercream or icing and decorate with moist ingredients like butter, chocolate etc.

What to do next time?

  • Double check how much flour you add to the mix. If you put too much flour in, the wet ingredients will absorb the flour leaving your cake dry and crumbly.
  • Your cake can also end up dry if you don’t add enough butter or eggs to make sure you follow the recipe correctly next time and always double check your oven temperature.

My cake has sunk in the middle

What’s the problem? My cake has sunk in the middle and I don’t know why.

Can I fix it? If your cake has sunk in the middle but is cooked the whole through then there’s not much you can do about it. Just cover the top of your cake with buttercream to disguise the concave in the middle. If you cake isn’t completely cooked – cover it in tin foil and bake for a further 5-10 mins – check it again after 10 mins or so and if needs longer bake again. Your cake will still probably look a bit odd so get the buttercream at the ready and no-one will have to know!

What to do next time?

  • Make sure you don’t open the oven door whilst your cake is cooking especially at the beginning.
  • Double check the temperature on your oven and if all else fails use two baking tins instead of one next time.
  • Cooking two separate sponges and then sandwiching them together will avoid any unwanted caving.

 

My cake has risen unevenly

What’s the problem? For some strange reason my cake risen on one side but not the other – any ideas?

Can I fix it? Once your cake has been cooked there’s nothing much you can do about an uneven bake other than cut off the top and level the surface with a large bread knife. You can then cover your cake in fondant or buttercream to hide the cut marks.

What to do next time?

  • Next time you get baking make sure you whisk your flour properly when you add it to your wet ingredients. If the flour doesn’t blend evenly it will make the cake bake uneven.
  • Double check your oven temperature too – if your oven is too hot this can have an impact or if your oven is not working properly this can be a tell-tale sign as the heat is not spreading evenly around your machine.

 

My cake has shrunk

What’s the problem? My cake started off at a good size and now it’s shrunk!

Can I fix it? If you’re cake has shrunk but it cooked the whole way through and looks edible then eat it. It might not look pretty but we’re sure it will still taste good. You could also cut your bake up into cubes and make mini cakes instead.

What to do next time?

  • Always make sure your cake mix is not too cold when it goes in the oven. If you’re using lots of ingredients that have been stored in the fridge it’s best to allow them to reach room temperature before combining or before baking.
  • Over-mixing your cake mix can have an impact too so keep your electric hand whisk on a steady speed and stop whisking when combined.

The best baked goods, including light cakes, tender cookies, fine-textured breads, and high popovers, depend on the precise combination of flour, liquid, leavening agents, fats, sugars, and flavors. Learn a bit about each ingredient and the function it performs in the finished product.

 

Source: www.goodtoknow.co.uk

The best baked goods, including light cakes, tender cookies, fine-textured breads, and high popovers, depend on the precise combination of flour, liquid, leavening agents, fats, sugars, and flavors. Learn a bit about each ingredient and the function it performs in the finished product.

Flour

Flour provides the structure for the product. The gluten, or protein, in flour, combines to form a web that traps air bubbles and sets.

Starch in flour sets as it heats to add to and support the structure. In cakes, cookies, and quick breads, we want little gluten formation, which makes products tough. Fats and sugars help prevent gluten formation. In most baked goods, all-purpose flour is a good choice; it has less gluten than bread flour.

Fat

Fat coats gluten molecules so they can’t combine as easily, contributing to the finished product’s tenderness. In many cakes, fat also contributes to the fluffiness of the final product. When sugar is creamed with fat, small pockets of air form from the sharp edges of the crystals interacting with the fat. These pockets form a finer grain in the finished product. Fats also carry flavors and add to a tender mouth-feel.

Sugar

Sugar adds sweetness, as well as contributing to the product’s browning. Sugar tenderizes a cake by preventing the gluten from forming. Sugar also holds moisture in the finished product.

Sugar crystals cutting into solid fats like butter help form the structure of the product by making small holes which are filled with CO2 when the leavening agents react.

Eggs

Eggs are a leavening agent and the yolks add fat for a tender and light texture. The yolks also act as an emulsifier for a smooth and even texture in the finished product.

And the proteins contribute to the structure of the baked good.

Liquid

Liquid helps carry flavorings throughout the product, forms gluten bonds, and reacts with the starch in the protein for a strong but light structure. Liquids also act as steam during baking, acting as a leavening agent and contributing to the tenderness of the product.

Salt

Salt strengthens gluten and adds flavor. Salt enhances flavors. In yeast breads, salt helps moderate the effect of the yeast so the bread doesn’t rise too quickly.

Leavening Agents

Baking soda and baking powder form CO2, that is held by fat pockets, gluten and starch, which makes the baked product rise. Baking soda and powder are not interchangeable; be sure that you have the product the recipe calls for. To much leavening agent will make the bubbles too big, then they combine and burst, leading to a flat cake or bread. Too little leavening agent will result in a heavy product, with soggy or damp layers.

Source: www.thespruce.com

The best baked goods, including light cakes, tender cookies, fine-textured breads, and high popovers, depend on the precise combination of flour, liquid, leavening agents, fats, sugars, and flavors. Learn a bit about each ingredient and the function it performs in the finished product.

Flour

Flour provides the structure for the product. The gluten, or protein, in flour, combines to form a web that traps air bubbles and sets.

Starch in flour sets as it heats to add to and support the structure. In cakes, cookies, and quick breads, we want little gluten formation, which makes products tough. Fats and sugars help prevent gluten formation. In most baked goods, all-purpose flour is a good choice; it has less gluten than bread flour.

Fat

Fat coats gluten molecules so they can’t combine as easily, contributing to the finished product’s tenderness. In many cakes, fat also contributes to the fluffiness of the final product. When sugar is creamed with fat, small pockets of air form from the sharp edges of the crystals interacting with the fat. These pockets form a finer grain in the finished product. Fats also carry flavors and add to a tender mouth-feel.

Sugar

Sugar adds sweetness, as well as contributing to the product’s browning. Sugar tenderizes a cake by preventing the gluten from forming. Sugar also holds moisture in the finished product.

Sugar crystals cutting into solid fats like butter help form the structure of the product by making small holes which are filled with CO2 when the leavening agents react.

Eggs

Eggs are a leavening agent and the yolks add fat for a tender and light texture. The yolks also act as an emulsifier for a smooth and even texture in the finished product.

And the proteins contribute to the structure of the baked good.

Liquid

Liquid helps carry flavorings throughout the product, forms gluten bonds, and reacts with the starch in the protein for a strong but light structure. Liquids also act as steam during baking, acting as a leavening agent and contributing to the tenderness of the product.

Salt

Salt strengthens gluten and adds flavor. Salt enhances flavors. In yeast breads, salt helps moderate the effect of the yeast so the bread doesn’t rise too quickly.

Leavening Agents

Baking soda and baking powder form CO2, that is held by fat pockets, gluten and starch, which makes the baked product rise. Baking soda and powder are not interchangeable; be sure that you have the product the recipe calls for. To much leavening agent will make the bubbles too big, then they combine and burst, leading to a flat cake or bread. Too little leavening agent will result in a heavy product, with soggy or damp layers.

Source: www.thespruce.com

The best baked goods, including light cakes, tender cookies, fine-textured breads, and high popovers, depend on the precise combination of flour, liquid, leavening agents, fats, sugars, and flavors. Learn a bit about each ingredient and the function it performs in the finished product.

Flour

Flour provides the structure for the product. The gluten, or protein, in flour, combines to form a web that traps air bubbles and sets.

Starch in flour sets as it heats to add to and support the structure. In cakes, cookies, and quick breads, we want little gluten formation, which makes products tough. Fats and sugars help prevent gluten formation. In most baked goods, all-purpose flour is a good choice; it has less gluten than bread flour.

Fat

Fat coats gluten molecules so they can’t combine as easily, contributing to the finished product’s tenderness. In many cakes, fat also contributes to the fluffiness of the final product. When sugar is creamed with fat, small pockets of air form from the sharp edges of the crystals interacting with the fat. These pockets form a finer grain in the finished product. Fats also carry flavors and add to a tender mouth-feel.

Sugar

Sugar adds sweetness, as well as contributing to the product’s browning. Sugar tenderizes a cake by preventing the gluten from forming. Sugar also holds moisture in the finished product.

Sugar crystals cutting into solid fats like butter help form the structure of the product by making small holes which are filled with CO2 when the leavening agents react.

Eggs

Eggs are a leavening agent and the yolks add fat for a tender and light texture. The yolks also act as an emulsifier for a smooth and even texture in the finished product.

And the proteins contribute to the structure of the baked good.

Liquid

Liquid helps carry flavorings throughout the product, forms gluten bonds, and reacts with the starch in the protein for a strong but light structure. Liquids also act as steam during baking, acting as a leavening agent and contributing to the tenderness of the product.

Salt

Salt strengthens gluten and adds flavor. Salt enhances flavors. In yeast breads, salt helps moderate the effect of the yeast so the bread doesn’t rise too quickly.

Leavening Agents

Baking soda and baking powder form CO2, that is held by fat pockets, gluten and starch, which makes the baked product rise. Baking soda and powder are not interchangeable; be sure that you have the product the recipe calls for. To much leavening agent will make the bubbles too big, then they combine and burst, leading to a flat cake or bread. Too little leavening agent will result in a heavy product, with soggy or damp layers.

Source: www.thespruce.com