How to Bake a Cake

Learn how to make a cake from pastry chef Amanda Oakleaf in this cake decorating video from Howcast.

Hi, my name is Amanda Oakleaf. I am owner, head baker, decorator of Amanda Oakleaf Cakes in Winthrop, Massachusetts where we do custom cakes of all kinds — wedding cakes, birthday cakes, sculpted cakes. Anything you can think of we can make it into a cake. And today I will be talking to you about cake decorating.

So, when baking a cake, it’s good to know what basic ingredients you need. If you have a recipe, the main ingredients should be flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and then, of course, the butter or the oil. The eggs in the cake provide the structure. They’re emulsifiers in the recipe. They bond the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients; and form the structure of the strength of the cake. Also, in that group are the flours. The flour also provide strength. Usually, cake with cake flour is a more delicate cake, more fluffy; whereas, a cake with all purpose flour will have a cake texture that’s more course, more tight. And then milk in the ingredients will moisten up the cake and kind of loosen the batter, get it flowing. And the fat is where moisture comes in, whether you have oil or butter. If you have butter your recipe probably calls for the creaming method; where you cream the butter and the sugar together. And you would want to do that for at least five minutes, so that the butter and sugar create air pockets inside. The longer they whip the more air pockets you’ll have and the fluffier cake in the end. So, spend the time to whip the sugar and butter together; that way your end result will be better. And then, from there, you would add the eggs. Adding the eggs one at a time, will allow the eggs to be fully incorporated and keep the batter from getting too wet too quickly. And then from there you would alternate the flour and the milk. And you don’t want to be add those too quickly either. You want everything to be incorporated slowly. That way the batter is evenly incorporated. So, a little bit of flour, a little bit of milk; alternate it until everything’s mixed in. And then, save the flour for the last. Once everything’s mixed together, then you want to pour it in the pans and bake it up. When you bake it, you want to make sure to keep it in the middle of the oven. That way it’s not too close to the heat on the bottom. And then bake it up until; when you press the center, if you leave a finger mark and it sinks, the batter’s still liquid inside. So, make sure to bake it a little longer. If you could insert a toothpick into the middle and the batter sticks to the toothpick, it’s not done either. So, those are two ways to check it. If you press it and it kind of bounces back, the cake then is done. Take it out of the oven. And that’s the basics of baking.

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