Monday, February 21, 2011

From Scratch!

Have you ever tried to make a cake from scratch and it not turn out exactly as you had hoped?  Did it fall in the middle or stick to the sides?  Did it bubble over the pan and stick to your clean oven?  Don't you just love those little disasters? 

Have you ever been too intimidated to try a cake from scratch?  

Are you a hardcore box-cake baker?

For me, it really depends on the recipe.  It's either from scratch or a "doctored" cake mix.  I think scratch cakes are easier than they appear. After practice you learn what works. For those of you who don't know a "doctored" cake mix is a box cake mix that has extras added to make a new & better cake.  You can add different flavors of boxed pudding, or sour cream, or milk, or even coffee creamer flavors.  There are so many recipes out there.

When making a cake from scratch, did you know you get the best results when you allow your liquid ingredients & eggs to come to room temperature first? 

Creaming the butter & sugar.  
This is Rosie, by the way.  She's a busy lady!

My sifted, dry ingredients & wet ingredients.

For this recipe I alternate adding and mixing dry and wet ingredients after they have been mixed separately.

As you can see, scratch cakes are more time consuming.  But I think the results are worth the effort!

With scratch cakes you also have to be sure not to over mix your batter.  Even this can cause your cakes to fall! 

Do you ever get that annoying dome in the middle of your cakes?

You can get rid of it by using Wilton's Bake Easy Strips!  They don't work great for bunt pans like this one.  But I never bake a cake without one unless... it's some kind of funky shaped pan that it just wont stay on after trying to make it stay for an hour.  Not that I tried or anything.

I always bake my cakes at 325 degrees, despite what the recipe says and check them after about an hour.  I have found that baking them low & slow gives a better tasting cake.  Okay, that's my secret for today.  I wouldn't try that at home, people, until you feel comfortable enough to estimate how much longer a cake might need to bake.  We don't want dry over baked or under baked cakes with a big dip in the middle.

Before & After

Time to eat!

What recipe did I use you ask?  Sorry.  I can't give this one away.  It's my go-to Vanilla Pound cake!

What do you prefer? Scratch or box cakes? 

Scratch in most cases.  It really depends on the recipe that I'm wanting to make.  No box-mix cakes here!  If it starts with a box, it's always doctored up.

If you don't like scratch cakes, why?

Do you have a go-to favorite recipe?

You can learn more about baking a better cake in my Decorating Basics class!

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