There are so many different cake recipes out there, from various online sources or cookbooks, but a few steps are needed to ensure that your end product comes out the best that it can. I have made plenty of mistakes over the years, but here are a few tips that have helped me.
* Properly prepare the pan: No matter what baking tin you use, it must be greased properly to ensure easy removal. There are a few ways you can do this. One route is to use a pastry brush or paper towel and Rub vegetable shortening along the bottom and sides of the pan, then give it a dusting of flour. I find this method to be a little fussy, so I mostly use a baking spray with flour. Most of the time this provides good, consistent results; however, there are a few recipes where no matter how much you grease and flour the cake still stubbornly sticks to the tin. For these recipes I use parchment paper. I trace the bottom of the pan on a sheet of parchment paper, then cut it out and line the tin. It still needs to be greased, but this is the most surefire way of making sure your cake comes out of the pan.
*Baking strips: I love this product. It’s not expensive–You can get these for a few dollars in the cake decorating section of your local craft store. These strips, after soaked in water, are attached to the sides of the cake tin with a straight pin. The purpose of these guys is to make sure your cake rises evenly.
* A properly heated oven: If your oven is anything like mine, the temperature on the dial doesn’t necessarily match that of the thermometer I’ve got hanging inside. Correct temperature will make a huge difference. If the temperature too low, this will cause the cake to sink in the middle. If it is too hot, the cake will rise with a dome and have a crack along the top.
* Mixing the batter correctly: Following the mixing directions for your recipe is a must. Over mixing can cause the cake to be tough and dry. Under or over mixing can also cause the cake to not rise properly.
* Using the correct amount of batter: I always measure out my cake batter for the specific pan I am using. I check the batter charts on the Wilton website found here.
* Oven placement: The cake should go in the center of the oven. If you are using multiple tins, there should be a minimum of 1 inch space between them.