Steps to bake a wonderful cake
At some point of your life you always have to bake something, sooner or later. For me it's like a weekly ritual and if there's a week that's I don't bake anything, either some friend will start to wonder or I will feel really empty. I am writing this article for brand new-bies to baking, so that they will know that baking a cake is not an extremely chemichal task. This steps can be used to make cake, sweet bread (banana bread for example) and muffins. I normally make muffins the most often because it takes only around 20 minutes. Below you can find the example of my "never-fail" blueberry muffins.
So now let's get this baking started!
Step 1: Get a good recipe! A recipe decides 80% how your cake will turn out. So it's crucial that you get a good one with high ratings and good reviews to ensure your success rate. I normally go to www.allrecipes.com and find the ones with the most ratings. I also read some reviews in the recipe page to see how people are talking about it. If you want to find a good recipe on Google, try a specific keyword search such as "best pound cake recipe" or "simple sponge cake recipes" for more targeted results. A too generic term will give you a lot of irrelevant search results. It is also a good idea to include "review" in your search term. You can find some very good tips in the reviews and sometimes with just a little changes in the ingredients or method, the cake will turn out exceeding your expectation!
Step 2: Collect the ingredients. Collect everything needed as closely as the ones in the recipe as possible. If there is any ingredients I cannot find in the local store, I would search for a substitute. Normally I would google it, for example, if I want to find substitute for cascapone cheese, I would type it "cascapone substitute" and I always find what I'm looking for. In a normal basic cake recipe, the ingredients most of the time consist: all-purpose flour, butter, eggs, sugar, baking flour or baking soda, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and flavour ingredients - these can be blueberries, carrot, apple, banana... if you want a fruit cake, or cacao, chocolat if you want a chocolate cake...
Step 3: Measure and mix the ingredients. You should follow the recipe exactly in this step. It's really important that all the ingredients are measured as precisely as possible. The small tip here is that you should always separate egg whites and egg yolks, beat the egg whites first, use the highest speed of the electric mixer (if you have one), combine sugar until the mixture reaches a peak and then beat in egg yolks. Important: Remember when mixing in flour and the remaining ingredients, don't use the electric mixer, instead use a big spoon, if you use an electric mixer, the little air bubbles in the egg mixture to be destroyed and the cake will be flatter and not as fluffy.
Step 4: Now the batter is ready, pour it in a greased and floured cake form and then we move to baking! You should test the temperature of your oven first to see if it's really the right temperature. My oven for example, tends to be a little bit hotter than it's supposed to be, so I always have to reduce the temperature a bit so the cake wouldn't be burnt. Now as you are sure the oven is at the right temperature, sit back and wait! Normally muffins only require about 20-25 minutes while a cake served 12 people would need more or less 60 minutes. You can know when the cake is ready by sticking a fork or a toothpick in the middle of it and the fork (toothpick) comes out clean.
Step 5: Now your cake is ready! And I bet it smells and looks great! Let it cool down for 15 - 30 minutes and you can put whatever icing you like on it. You can put chocolate butter icing, jam, whipped cream... the options are unlimited! You can find a good icing recipe on allrecipes.com also. Important: never decorate your cake with the canned spraying whipped cream, it will not stay on the cake surface longer than 15 minutes and become a liquid mess. Instead if you want whipped cream, use the normal liquid one and then beat it up to a stiff (don't overdo it or it will become butter!) :)
Those are the basic steps to bake a cake. If you follow them strictly with a good recipe, I promise you will never fail in any cake! Good luck and happy baking!