Every budding baker needs a basic tool kit,
consisting of an oven thermometer, ruler and thermometer for reading liquid
When using glassware, make sure it can be
subjected to high temperature and is oven-safe. Experts says that for baking
cakes, shiny pans are best because they reflect heat, thereby producing
tender crusts. If you'll be using glassware, make sure to lower the recipe's
required temperature by 25°F.
Cake and cookie recipes need a
"pre-heated oven". This means setting the oven at 375°F for 10 to
15 minutes before beginning to bake. (Remember to place oven racks first in
the desired position before heating the oven, so you don't risk scorching
your finger with the re-arranging).
The first test of fire for a greenhorn is to
prevent the cookie dough from sticking to the baking sheet. No problem ---
simply grease sheets using vegetables shortening, non-stick vegetable spray
or unsalted butter/margarine. Take care not to overdo the greasing, or the
cookie will over-brown.
Better yet, line baking sheets, aluminum foil for evenly baked and
deliciously browned cookies. Grease foil if the recipe calls for a greased
For baking cakes, the secret is to grease and
flour the sides of the pan and line with wax paper before you pour in the
batter and start to bake. After baking, the wax paper (and your cake) won't
stick to the pan. Gently peel off wax paper from the cake while it is still
All oven have those infamous hot spots that
create uneven baking. counteract hotspot by rotating baking pans or cookie
sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking process.
For cakes, move pans from side to side only after the first 20 minutes of
baking, otherwise, the cake will not rise properly.
Don't rush the cake's slow-but-sure pace
needed to bake a cake. Never open the oven door during the first 15 minutes
of baking time. A sudden gush of outside air abrupt temperature changes will
cause the cake to collapse. Only after 15 minutes can you gently open the
door to rotate the pans.
To prevent bulges at the center of your cake,
try covering it highly with aluminum foil throughout the baking time. Remove
the foil during the final 15 minutes of baking and see how the top turns
flat and golden. Cover cake with aluminum foil (formed like a tent) when its
browning too fast.
Here's a fast tip: line the oven floor with
aluminum foil to save time, effort and energy when it's cleaning time. (Word
of caution --- check for vents and make sure you don't cover any or you
could drastically throw the temperature off). The next time you bake, you
can tidy up in half the time.