Success with Cakes

Let’s look at six time tested rules for cake-baking from the 1933 SwansDown flour book All About Home Baking.
Be orderly. Plan before you start. Read your recipe through carefully, collect your ingredients, assemble all the utensils needed. It will save you time, money and many a worried moment in your baking. Block out some time to prepare your cake without interruptions.
Choose good ingredients. Be sure your ingredients are fresh and of the best quality. Myrna keeps her cake flour in the freezer as she doesn’t use it as much as regular flour and this way it won't go buggy. I recently bought some, and I am going to follow her example. I also checked the dates on the cake flour carefully, as it doesn’t turn over as quickly in the store either.
Measure accurately. That’s a baking “must”. All measurements are level. If a recipe calls for sifted flour and you don’t, you can easily add an extra cup of flour to your cake and ruin it. Most cake recipes today call for stirring the flour to lighten it and then lightly spooning it into a dry measuring cup and leveling it off. Some fine-textured cakes call for sifting the flour before measuring. If so, it will call for "sifted flour"; if the recipe calls for "flour, sifted", you sift it with the other dry ingredients after measuring to combine them and eliminate any lumps.
Two don’ts about measuring flour; don’t dip up the flour with the cup and don’t knock the cup and accidentally settle the flour. If your cakes have ever humped in the middle, had a cracked, tough crust, or been dry and compact, you have probably used too much flour.
Mix carefully. Follow the directions carefully. Study them and follow them carefully for cake success. If the recipe calls for adding flour and liquids alternately, add 1/3 of the flour first, then half of the liquid, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the rest of the liquid, and then the last of the flour.
Have the correct size pan. The correct size pan called for in the recipe is very important in cakes. Too small and it runs over, too large and your cake will be dry and over baked. Carefully follow directions for preparing your pans.
These tips will help make you look like a "natural-born baker".

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