Cakes, Tortes, Tarts & More...

Who can resist home-made cakes, pies, tarts and other sweet treats? They are integral part of every happy occasion. What holiday party, birthday party, showers, graduation, wedding reception or anniversary would be complete without a sweet treats? At the same time, no food makes cook more proud than serving a tasty homemade dessert.

Success in baking is not due to good luck, special school, or special touch, it comes as regular result from accurate measuring, proper mixing and using the best technique for that type of baking. It can be the achievement of anyone who follows a good recipe. Try to bake your cakes when you have the creative urge and then store or freeze them for later use. Make sure your cakes are completely cooled before storing or freezing.

In all our recipes regular type of all-purpose flour is used unless otherwise specified. Keep in mind that careful measuring assures correct proportion. All measurements used in our recipes are usually level, unless otherwise specified.

Always sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices to avoid lumps.

When adding dry ingredients alternately with liquid, always begin and end with the dry ingredients, beating cake batter just till smooth after each addition.

If you want to keep your foam cakes light and airy, after you have beaten the egg whites to perfection, always fold in dry ingredients and use rubber spatula in a circular motion. Slowly, down through the batter, across the bottom, up to the opposite side and across the top to bring some of the batter up and over the egg whites. If you are using mixer use low speed once you start adding flour, to keep texture tender.

When baking more than one cake (or two layers cake) at the same time place the pans on the oven's center rack and allow at least an inch of space between the pans and two inches between the pans and the walls of the oven for proper heat circulation. When baking three or four layers, use two racks in center third of oven and stagger pans in opposite corners of both racks so they do not block heat circulation in the oven.

Cake is baked when it shrinks slightly from sides of pan, or cake tester or toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean or when springs back when pressed lightly with finger.

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If you are going to the trouble to make a "from scratch" cake, you should always choose top-quality ingredients. Resist temptations to substitute.

Make sure you have all the ingredients before you start making the batter.

It is important to preheat your oven at least 12 to 15 minutes before baking a cake so you can immediately put the pans into the hot oven. It is also good idea to invest in an oven thermometer to get accurate temperatures and also check accuracy of oven regulator occasionally because too slow an oven will cause cake to fall.

Keep in mind that cake batter should never sit before baking, because chemical leavens begin working as soon as dry substances are mixed with liquids and the air in foam batters will begin to dissipate.

Try to use good teflon baking pans for your baking,  they will help reduce the amount of fat needed in cooking.

If you don't have teflon baking pans,
to ensure an easy release from the cake pan, grease the bottom and sides with butter or shortening (or use a cooking spray), add a little flour and shake it around, lightly knocking out any excess.

Most of the rich, heavy cakes should be baked on the middle rack of the oven. Do not crowd the cake pans together because the cakes will not cook evenly.

When baking in a glass pan, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

To keep angel or chiffon cakes from falling, turn them upside down as they come from oven until they cool.

When baking with melted chocolate, always let melted chocolate cool slightly before blending into the rest of the creamed mixture and also try to scrape the sides of bowl frequently with rubber spatula.

To easily split a layer of a cake in half, take a length of thread and wrap it around the middle of the layer than pull the ends together. It will make a nice level cut without any fuss.