1. When baking anything, prep the pan before you prep the batter.
Baking is all about precision. Once your ingredients are mixed together, you need to pop your baked good in the oven ASAP (or before everything gets too warm!) so leavening agents can work their magic. So prep that pan ahead of time to make sure it’s ready to go right when you need it.
2. To make whipped cream extra fluffy, refrigerate your mixing bowl beforehand.
Place the mixing bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes before beating the cream. It’ll be much more stable and fluffy than if you had used a room-temperature bowl.
3. Making a layer cake? Flip the top layer upside-down to get a perfectly flat and even top — perfect for frosting application.
Instead of trimming your top cake, you can just flip it for an easy and perfectly smooth result.
4. And when decorating, secure the cake with a spoonful of frosting at the bottom so it stays in place.
If you want a smooth frosting application, you’ll need both a steady hand and a steady cake. This little trick will help with the latter and ensure your cake doesn’t move at all during the process.
5. If you’re using a cake stand, pre-line it with parchment — so it stays clean while you’re frosting.
Is this completely necessary? Not really. But if you want a clean, bakery-worthy cake stand when you serve your masterpiece, the easiest way to do that is to place strips of parchment paper around the base of your cake. Slip them out once you’re done decorating — and you’ll be left with a spotless cake stand.
6. Amp up the flavor of chocolate baked goods by adding espresso powder to the batter.
To get more depth of flavor in your chocolate cakes, brownies, and cookies, add a teaspoon of espresso powder. It’s also a great way to improve boxed chocolate cake mix.
7. Don’t be afraid of using salt.
People always assume that because it’s a dessert it doesn’t need salt — I can’t stress enough that salt is the missing ingredient in so many dishes
8. If you need to used chilled butter, grate it and freeze it for about an hour beforehand.
When recipes call for chilled butter (pie crust, biscuits, and the like), grate the butter ahead of time and put it in the freezer for an hour or so before incorporating it into the recipe. Since it’s already quite cold and in itty-bitty pieces, you’ll handle it less which will prevent the butter from melting and it keeps the fat molecules intact, resulting in flakier pastries
9. Always let your cakes cool before attempting to ice them.
They’ll break if you take them out the tin too early and the frosting will melt right off. Basically, let those babies rest for a good 30 minutes before attempting anything.
10. Make sure you’re using the right size eggs for your recipe.
Another important detail to double-check when baking? The type of egg size your recipe calls for. A medium egg is much smaller than an extra-large or jumbo egg, and mixing up the two can significantly alter your recipe.
11. Use your hands — instead of egg shells — to separate the whites from the yolks.
When you’re using egg shells, you risk puncturing the yolk or getting shells in your whites, whereas using your hands is actually quicker and easier. Just make sure you wash them before and after.
12. Don’t skip sifting.
This step isn’t always necessary when baking, but if your recipe instructs you to sift your dry ingredients, do it. It’ll keep lumps at bay and ensure dry ingredients get incorporated well.
13. Set your timer to five minutes before baking is supposed to be done.
You don’t want your cake or cookies to come out dry and overcooked. Since you can never completely trust your oven temperature or the baking time announced on a recipe, check your cake a few minutes before it’s supposed to be done.
14. Prop your piping bags in a glass or a Mason jar to fill them without making a mess.
Filling a piping bag is one of the most annoying steps in decorating a cake. This little trick makes it so much easier: just place the bag in a glass or container and fold the edges over and you’ll be ready to go
15. If you’re creaming butter and sugar, make sure it’s thoroughly blended.
One of the biggest mistakes that new bakers make is not going far enough when creaming the butter and sugar. You want it to turn out pale and fluffy. A lot of beginners only blend it until it’s just combined and still very yellow and gritty.