Friday, August 20, 2010

Make-Bake-Decorate Series


You've got your cake mixed. Now what do you do with it? You bake it, of course!

Good, sturdy, quality pans are your best bet for cakes that bake evenly. There are all kinds of brands to choose from. My the pans that I use are from different brands, and the ones in this post are just some of them.

Also, you can choose a shaped pan as well. My favorites that I own are lips and hearts. This cake was a two-layer cake, and I used two square pans for each layer.

I used cooking spray to ensure the finished cake doesn't stick to the pans. That would be no fun. If you haven't experienced this, try not to. :)

You can also use butter or margarine, and you could also flour your pan after you coat it.
I find the nonstick spray to do the job on its own just fine.

Make sure you cover the entire bottom, sides, and especially the corners.

Pour the cake mix evenly into your pan or pans.

Once the pans are filled, gently tap them on the surface of your counter. This helps the air bubbles to come to the top of the cake - and you can pop them. This helps the cake to be smooth on the inside.

I bake both of my cake layers at the same time. I place them on the same shelf in the oven, right next to each other. My oven is fairly new - just over a year old, and I haven't found it to bake anything unevenly. You know your oven best, so do what works best for you. I have yet to have two layers come out of the oven baked unevenly.

The same goes for timing the baking. I know my oven like I know my cakes, and I have got the perfect timing down to a science for my oven. Do what works best for you! :)

Stay tuned for the sweetest post of this series, and my favorite part of cakes - the decorating!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Make-Bake-Decorate Series


It's the moment you all have been waiting for - the first post in the step-by-step process of making my mom's birthday cake. I know some of the details are a bit, say, elementary, but have you ever really taken pictures of your process? It's actually really fun. Especially if you have a photographer boyfriend. ;)

Today's post is all about getting the ingredients ready to make a cake from a mix.

Alright. Let's do this.

All that I needed for this cake was eggs, water, oil and the cake mix. The cake mix was for a white cake, so I needed to separate the eggs. My trusty tool of choice? My own hands.

To do this, simply crack the egg gently. Remove the top portion of the shell, and pour the egg yolk and egg white into your hand. Gently rock the egg yolk back and forth between your hands and let the egg white fall into a small bowl.

It helps to have two bowls when you are doing this - one for the egg white and one for the egg yolk. I like to use my left over yolks in scrambled eggs.

I have never used an egg separator, so I don't know how this process compares, but it works the best for me. A little messy, yes, but it works.

Next, I mix the oil and water together. Just measure and pour.

I mix the water and oil together in a separate bowl from the eggs. This is just a precaution - if I make a mistake, it's easier to start over with fewer mixed ingredients.

Call me silly, but I like watching the oil and water separate in the bowl.

Then, I add the eggs and the cake mix.

I usually use a white cake mix. It's my personal favorite flavor of cake.

Referring back to my post on mixing cakes, I used an electric hand mixer for this one. It's up to you. I mix it for 2 minutes to add air to the batter to make the cake fluffy. Skip this step once, and you won't make the same mistake again.

I can tell the difference between a cake batter with air and cake batter without. It's subtle, but it's a detail you don't want to skip.

Alright, there you have it. My process for making a cake. Next up is baking, and it's a hot little post you won't want to miss!