I need general Baking help. I cant bake to save my soul. I never have been able to.
I have been decorating for some time now (as a hobby), but I generally order prebaked plain cakes from a local bakery or have my sister bake them for me (she can bake but cant decorate, so it works well for us, lol).
Anyone know of a site like this one that is solely for baking and not decorating? Or a beginners info site? I have been trying to self teach for a while, but nothing ever turns out right.
about a week ago, I tried to make a yellow cake from the betty crocker cookbook, and then made buttercream frosting. The frosting turned out great (no surprise) but the cake tasted like stale bread. and its not just cakes. two nights ago I made c. chip cookies from the tollhouse recipe and they turned out like rocks! They are very light in color, just browned on the bottom, but you can almost break a tooth when you bite into one!
so - am I a lost cause?
Are you following recipes exactly?
Are you measuring your ingredients correctly?
Are you creaming your butter and sugar long enough?
Are all of your ingredients at the correct temp?
Check to see that your baking powder is fresh, too. I had several cakes come out very badly, until I bought a new can of it, and now everything's ok. Best of luck!
Why not just use mixes? If there is a problem making those, then you KNOW something is wrong...either with your oven or pans, or something along those lines. There is no shame to using mixes, especially if your goal is the decorating!
Don't be afraid to use cake mix. They will taste better than some old pre-made cake. There are a lot of ideas for enhancing cake mixes. If you are a beginner, that is a good place to start. I have a degree in Home Economics and I have NOTHING against Pillsbury or DH even though I am a good baker.
Don't be afraid to bake the cake for shorter times than the recipe calls for. Dry and tasteless sounds over baked
Thanks for the info! I am going to check out that blog.
Cake mixes dont taste that great to me, usually (and I have issues with those too, lol) .
The cakes I buy from the bakery are baked that am, so they are fresh and taste great...but it would be nice to not have to order them - KWIM?
How old it too old for baking powder?
If your sister is a geat baker then get together with her with duplicate ingredients and one recipe.
Together (but seperate) make the same recipe. Follow her lead, watch and learn from her. You may learn all sorts of tips and tricks!
Just remember, no one cooks/bakes the same...My grandma always said, you can give ten cooks all the same recipe and end up with ten different dishes!
Wise advice, Jewels! One just needs to look at recipe photos submitted on sites like Allrecipes to know that no two recipes turn out the same!
How old it too old for baking powder?
It should have an expiration date on the can.
I baked, just not with consistent results. I still sometimes have a goof!!! But, I can pretty much nail it now.
Start off by doing some research, I know it sounds geeky, but baking is truly a science.
A couple good books that I used, and found at the public library are:
The Art of the Cake: Modern French Baking and Decorating by Bruce Healy and Paul Bugat
The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Cake Love by Warren Brown
These will really help you to understand baking, as they go into the properties of ingredients on down to how to properly measure them.
About the baking powder: depending on where you live, it might fizzle before the expiration date. I live in a very humid area and, although I hadn't had it for all that long, it was kind of lumpy. It doesn't cost that much to replace, so it might be worth a try, anyway. But it might be the pan, too. I have pans that I simply can't use for baking (especially those black-lined ones)!
For help with learning the how's and why's of baking: www.joyofbaking.com