Free-for-All Friday: Guest Blog: Baking? Piece of Cake!

You all know how I can’t bake, right? No? Well then go read my FAQs.

So I asked baking-lover Rachel to guest blog for me. I met Rachel through my BFF Pam and she’s got a thing for flour, baking soda and all that other scientific stuff.

Rachel's the stunning blondie on your left

She even whipped up a quick batch of buttercream frosting for Pam’s wedding favors. WITH NO RECIPE!

Are your mouths hanging open? Mine is. She wants to own a bakery one day and I’m pushing her to follow her dreams. I’m also pushing for some homebaked goods in the mail…

Anyway, here is Rachel’s breakdown of a homemade cake she made. May you learn a thing or two about baking from this extraordinaire (like, um “dirty icing” the cake!). I know I will! Enjoy!

*Note: any italicized quips are my annoying interjections.

This is how I make my cakes. Don’t pay attention to the ingredients’ measurements in the picture with the ingredients. For copyright purposes (or whatever it’s called) I just put everything in non-labeled utensils/objects so you will not get in trouble :). (love it!)

let's get bakin'

Ok so for chocolate cake I take my sugar, flour, cocoa (unsweetened), salt, baking soda, baking powder and sift them all together.

sifting is so pretty!

mesmerizing

This part is very important because it helps to keep the flour and cocoa bumps out of your cake. I also feel it makes them fluffier.

After the dry ingredients are sifted together I add the milk, oil, and vanilla. I use oil because again I find my cakes are fluffier as opposed to using butter. You certainly may use butter, but, they might turn out dense.

is anyone else singing MJ's "Black and White" right now?

I mix with a hand mixer on low speed until combined. Then I move it up to medium speed and “whip” it into shape about 1 min.

After that I add my eggs. I beat them on med speed until combined.

I love this picture

Pan-ready!

After the eggs are combined I grease and dust my pan.

Batter-ready!

This is also an important step. It helps the cake from sticking! If you would like you can also use parchment paper to line the bottom of your pan; I didn’t have any so I used Pam (cooking spray, not our BFF!) and flour. In order to dust the pan if you have not done so before all you do is spray the pan with Pam and then add flour and bang the pan with your hand until the whole pan is covered.

*Editor’s note: If you’re making a chocolate cake, like Rachel, try dusting your pan with cocoa powder instead of flower to decrease the chance of white marks on your cake! Of course, if you’re frosting your creation, no need to.

I bake the cake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 min. depending on the size of the pans. Since I used sheet pan 9×13 it took longer than two round 9-inch pans.

Baking time!

After it is finished baking I take it out and let it cool for 20 min. This is very important…you can’t remove the cake from the pan when it is fresh out of the oven because it will crumble. You don’t want to wait too long either because it will stick in the pan and you’ll be so out of luck :). This is why greasing and dusting the pan is important.

Success!

After I remove from pans I move them to wire racks to cool. Once completely cool I saw the cake in half to put icing in the middle.

split personality

After the cake is cut I liberally add icing to the bottom half of the cake- that is set on its serving platter because once you frost you can’t move the cake from place to place. Then I add the top half to the bottom half. Next comes the fun part.

First I “dirty ice” the cake. This means you add a thin layer of frosting to the cake to set the crumbs in place. (Unfortunately I forgot to snap a picture of that) (We forgive you, Rach!)

After you “dirty ice” the cake, put the cake in the freezer for 10 min or so until the icing is set. Take the cake out of the freezer and continue decorating your cake.

gettin' there

um, how come I can never get frosting that smooth?!

adorbz. And so springy!

I don’t have the cake recipe for you because if I’m going to open my own bakery someday I can’t give out all my secrets ;) but I will give my frosting recipe that is homemade and very generic:

  1. Take ½ cup of butter (softened) and ½ cup of shortening and cream with 1 tsp. of vanilla.
  2. Then add about 1 lb. of powdered sugar 1 cup at a time making sure it gets mixed well after each addition.
  3. Then add 2 Tbs. of milk and beat till fluffy.

I make this recipe with a hand mixer as well and beat everything on medium speed. You don’t want powdered sugar flying everywhere. You can add coloring to the icing after you make the frosting but be sure to portion it out because you can’t recolor!

Also it is important to note that you must give your cake and icing plenty of QC (quality control) I always lick the batter for the cake and the icing!

And one more thing: don’t open oven while the cake is baking.

I know it’s hard with the enticing aroma, but try you must! The more you open the oven the higher your chances of your cake falling and that won’t be good either! I suggest putting the cake (whichever recipe you choose) on the least amount of bake time then check it and adjust baking time accordingly.

Did we all learn something about baking?!  I learned like 10 things. I’m totally trying out that frosting recipe and I can handle quality control (baking involves…nay requires licking the spoon?! I think I’m warming up to the idea…)

Huge “thank you” to Rachel! I’m sending well-wishes and a bakery success your way. I need you to give me a tutorial on icing!

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About Melissa

I am a 26-year-old journalist who loves food and blogging about it.

Posted on March 23, 2012, in Desserts, Food for Thought, Recipes, Tips and Tricks and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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