Common sense baking

I always thought that a perfect bake was all about the recipe. Weigh this, whisk that, fold gently etc. After baking and testing out over 700 variations of our recipe, let me tell you that there are actually 3 elements that make a perfect bake, and no one really thinks about them. So let’s think about them.

Perfection = Recipe + Shape + Type of Oven
Apart from the recipe – which means all the ingredients and the method of making the cake, the other 2 major elements of baking that greatly influence your results are the shape and material of the Mold, and the type of oven you’re using.

  1. The ‘Eggs-xact’ Recipe

With a Serapheena mix, the ingredients are all precisely weighed and measured for you. All you have to do is add the butter and eggs mentioned on the back of the pack. But not all eggs are created equal. I once weighed every egg in an egg tray (anyone else have OCD?) – Anyway, I found that eggs, in shell, weighed anywhere from 70g to 45g. So the 3 eggs called for in most of our mixes can weigh 210g or 135g!

What’s a commonsense baker to do?
When you reach for an egg, try to find one that’s somewhat midsized (54-60g in shell). Or if you only have small eggs, add a little milk to make up for the missing egg protein and moisture.

The Shape of the Tin
Cakes cook from the outside in (yes, even in a microwave)
So small cakes, like cupcakes. Or long loaf tins, or bundts (those cakes with a hole in the middle) will cook much faster than a standard round shaped cake.
Cakes and cupcakes baked in stand-alone paper molds – like these, will cook faster and tend to be drier than cakes baked in standard tins. This is because the paper allows steam (moisture) to escape from all the sides and bottom.
Cakes baked in heavy cast iron bundts or pyrex glass moulds need to be taken out a little bit early (subtract 2 minutes from oven timing) This is because the mould retains heat, and the cake will continue cooking even after it is removed from the oven.
Rough guide to Timings:
Round 6 inch and square 5 inch tins – 24 – 30 min
Bundt cakes and rectangular loafs 20 – 25min
Cupcakes 12 – 15 min (depending on the shape and material of the mould)
Mini cupcakes, and thin sheet cake for swiss rolls (8 to 12min)
No 6inch tin? No problem!
If all you have is an 8inch tin, no problem, you’ll just end up with a thinner cake. Just remember that the cake will cook much faster, so set your timer for 20 minutes, and then keep adding 2 minutes until done.

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