Despite cooking for several years, trust me when I say I know how difficult baking can be to crack! It’s quite an exact science, compared to cooking. Some people think you need to invest in fancy equipment or follow complicated recipes to get a cake right. I don’t believe in that. So many times, somebody’s birthday’s rolling around or it’s festival season and I’m hard pressed on what to bake and how quickly to do it! Ordering in is an option but it isn’t the same as surprising a loved one with a home baked cake. In this article, I’ll put down some must-have you need to bake a cake at home in terms of appliances and ingredients and I have also added an easy recipe you can follow!
- Measuring cups and spoons:
Baking is all about precision, so having a full set of measuring cups and spoons on hand is a must. Don’t think you can get by with just one type of measuring cup, you’ll need both dry and wet measuring cups to accurately measure all your ingredients. Keep these tools in a spot that’s easy to reach, because you’ll use them all the time.
- Rubber spatula/scraper
We’re willing to bet you reach for your rubber spatula more often than you think. This tool is ideal for scraping the last bit of batter or dough out of a pan or for scraping all the nooks and crannies out of your jam jar. They’re also super handy for folding together wet and dry ingredients. Note that silicone scrapers will stand up to high heat better than rubber ones. One of my favourite silicone spatulas is the Wonderchef Pavoni Madame Silicone Spatula in red. It’s non-toxic, non-stick and odorless and it’s colour makes for a fun addition to my collection.
- Pastry Brush
This handy tool has more uses than you may realize. It can be used to grease a pan before pouring in cake batter, to coat the dough with melted butter or egg wash, or to “paint” milk on top of a pie crust. Especially if you’re a frequent baker, this is a must-have!
- Fine mesh sieve
You can put a sieve to work in a lot of different ways. For bakers, it’s probably the most useful for sifting dry ingredients or adding a dusting of powdered sugar to a finished pan of brownies or cookies. This piece of baking equipment also comes in handy for draining wet ingredients (especially small items, like quinoa, that would slip through a regular colander) and removing seeds from raspberry sauces.
- Wire Rack
No one wants soggy, overbaked cookies and cakes for dessert, so make sure you’ve got a wire rack on hand. This handy tool allows air to circulate around baked goods as they cool, so they’ll taste just as great at room temperature as they did fresh from the oven.
- Hand Blender
I know that hand mixers are something people find convenient to invest in and ever since I got the Wonderchef Crimson Edge Hand Blender, my baking game has changed entirely. It makes it so easy to whip up any batter, especially if I’m doing a simple, creamy meringue. It’s got easy detachments that happen at the click of a single button. Stainless Steel Beater hooks are ideal for mixing heavy ingredients. Stainless Steel Kneading hooks are ideal for kneading cookies or cake batter.
I use the Wonderchef OTG-19 Liters which is such a good, affordable investment for great baking. It’s got heat resistant tempered glass, automatic switch off, multi-stage heat setting, which makes it super convenient to use.
Some Simple baking Do’s & Don’ts to remember:
- Allow the oven to fully preheat first
The cakes needs to bake at the right temperature, no shortcuts.
- Bake in the center of the oven (unless otherwise specified)
If it doesn’t specify otherwise, that’s how the recipe was designed. Changes will alter your results.
- Bake in the size of pan specified
Otherwise you’re looking at uneven baking, which means an uneven cake.
- Don’t try to double the recipe
Cake recipes are more complex than that. Source out a recipe for a larger volume instead.
- Use fresh ingredients
Old ingredients taste bad, and old leaveners (like baking soda) simply don’t work.
- No substitutions
With the exception of spices, don’t substitute ingredients. Especially ones that have structural impact.
Author: Alina Gufran, writer and film-maker, who loves the outdoors and reading.