We receive 100+ questions related to baking in a month and we know we are unable to reach out to all of you. While some of those questions are pretty unique, there are questions that are similar and that’s obvious.
As a beginner, the pitfalls are the same. Either your cake is raw in the middle, sticking to the pan or is too dry, right? This is why compiled an entire post with all the common questions. So next time you need help, you can find your answers on the go.
Q1: Why are my cakes craked on the top?
One of the most common reasons why the cake cracks on top is because your oven is too hot. This means your cook cooks faster on the outside while the inside remains raw. As it cooks it rise thus causing the harder crust on the top to crack. To counter this, you can use an oven thermometer.
But if the temperature is fine the next step would be to check the tin size. If it is too small, the cake will rise more than it should thus causing a crack. Also, make sure you do not add in too much baking powder or baking soda.
Lastly, constantly opening the oven door also can be the reason for the crack as the imbalance in temperature leaves the cake raw on the inside.
Q2: Is greasing better or parchment paper?
Parchment is one of the most important baking tools whether you are a newbie or a professional as it ensures your cookies, brownies, etc. do not stick to the tray but if you do not have parchment paper or want to spend on it, will greasing give you the same results?
Well, you can grease the pan or tin with butter, flour or even cocoa powder but parchment definitely gets you better results. Plus, it is one of the cheapest baking tools which makes it worth the money.
Q3: Will substituting sugar with brown sugar affect taste and baking?
Using brown sugar instead of white sugar does impact the taste as brown sugar has a caramel-like taste. Although that might work amazingly well with recipes such as banana bread, or even cookies (as it will give them a nice chewy texture) you will want to use caster sugar for your meringues and creaming.
This difference in taste is due to the presence of molasses. Furthermore, caster sugar is ultra-fine whereas brown sugar isn’t which means beating it into egg whites or cream is tough. You can also use a combination of both for your cakes and cookies.
Q4: Do I really need a stand mixer?
Unless and until you intend on starting a business and make cakes, cupcakes, etc. in bulk you do not need a stand mixer. Yes, they are quick and efficient but also pretty expensive. If you are a hobbyist baker, I would recommend investing in a hand mixer. You can also mix ingredients using your hand but this will take longer and a considerable amount of energy.