1.Cake pans can be prepared in two ways,
a.Grease with butter or oil and Line the pan with parchment paper along the sides and bottom.
b.Grease with oil or butter then dust with flour,refrigerate for 10 minutes then repeat two more times until the sides are all evenly coated.Tap off any excess flour.
In addition to this some people also put a brown paper collar on the exterior to prevent it from overcooking on the exterior of the cake.
2.Keep all the ingredients required for the cake ready, ie flour sifted and measured, other ingredients ground or melted and ready to get mixed, baking needs to be done quickly to avoid the cake from not gaining the right consistency.Keeping the cake mix for too long will make it dense and not airy.
3.Sifting the flour gives the cake more airiness,so always sift the flour before adding to the batter.
4.Cakes are of two types-Whisked cakes and Creamed cakes.
a.Creamed cakes :In this the butter is beaten with the sugar until it forms a fluffy and aerated mixture.
b.Whisked cake: In this the eggs are beaten with sugar to form a mousse like consistency and these are lighter in texture.
5.Folding:Use a spatula for folding.Folding is gently mixing the ingredients to make them both combined but without altering the texture of mixtures.The lighter mixture is to be added to the denser mixture while folding,in this cake the egg whites are added to the egg and sugar mixture,or flour is folded into the egg and sugar mixture.Add the flour,cut the center of the mixture and turn your spatula in a clockwise direction from the bottom up.Rotate the bowl and repeat until the entire mixture is mixed.Never mix vigorously or you will lose the body of the cake and end up with a dense or hard cake.
6.Always place cake pans in the center of the oven for uniform baking.
7.Egg whites when whipped form a nice meringue by trapping air.Usually the meringues are baked and served with fruit and whipped cream or incorporated within cakes,macaroons and meringue cookies are also made.Cream of tartar is added to egg whites to stabilize them and make them hold shape.
8.The oven always has to be preheated before placing the pans in with the batter.
9.Don’t open the door once the cake has started to bake except towards the end,you will lose temperature and the cake will not rise.
10.The doneness of the cake is checked by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake,if it comes out clean your cake is done,immediately remove the cake from the oven.
11.Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack.
12.Cakes can be layered with multiple fillings and icings for taste.The cake that has been baked can be cut with a long serrated knife.Jams,jellies,preserves,Cream Icings,fresh fruit,liquor or sugar syrup are all used to add layers and flavors to layered cakes.
13.If the outside of the cake is a little more done than the inside,slice off the hard part with the knife.
14.Use the right cake pan for optimal rising of the cake.
15.Some of the ingredients used for decoration are
a.Fondant or sugarpaste:A dough made of sugar and water to cover cake and make other shapes.This can be made or bought at a craft store.
b.Poured Fondant:A thin icing made of sugar and corn syrup that is flown onto the cake and let to set.This is a shinier covering to cake compared to fondant.
c.Icings:There are multiple icings like glace icing,buttercream,ganache,mousse buttercream,cream cheese frosting etc.
d.Modeling chocolate:Made with chocolate and corn syrup this is a clay like dough used to make 3d shapes and figurines for decorating cakes.
e.Chocolate:Baking chocolate or chocolate melts are used to make shapes out of chocolate and decorate cakes.
f.Gum Paste:It is used for modeling figures and made very thin for flower petals, leaves etc
g.Marzipan: This is a mixture of almonds and sugar to form a dough and is used to cover cakes
16.Melting chocolate:We use baking chocolate or almond bark or candy melts for this.
I prefer the double boiler method because it avid burning of the chocolate.In this method we heat a saucepan with boiling water and place a heatproof bowl on top with grated chocolate.Keep stirring the chocolate until it melts and forma a homogenious mixture.