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So frustrated! I can't seem to bake from scratch

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Everytime i try a new recipe i find online or on books it just doesnt turn put right.
I have tried making cupcakes, no good. I have been using the enhanced cake recipe
and everyone seems to like it. but i would love to master baking from scratch.
help?! please. thank you!
post #2 of 23
Are you following directions precisely, and using good ingredients?
Maybe you could start with a really well known author who explains all the aspects of baking and ingredients.
Alton Brown has a cookbook just about baking, and he's really good with the science of food. Rose Levy Berenbaum's Cake Bible has some good information.
It's all the science of baking that is so important to learn. I actually bought a book a while ago (something like The Science Of Baking) just to make sure I had some basic scientific information down. I am a professional, commercial baker, but it never hurts to keep your knowledge updated.
post #3 of 23
Agreed. A lot of people do not know how to measure properly. Baking is very precise. Perhaps this is the problem. I know someone that constantly complains that a particular recipe that I make does not turn out for her. I asked her if she was measuring correctly and she was offended and said of course. I had the opportunity to watch her bake one time and saw that she was not measuring correctly. There are some videos on YouTube could could start with.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you, IamPamCakes! i will definately get some books and read up on it.
I am following the directions, im worried about the ingredients now.
how long can i have flour, baking powder and soda opened for?
i have it all in tight sealed plastic containers.

I am happy to say my icings work out just fine. i have tried quite a few recipes. icon_biggrin.gif
post #5 of 23

It might help to invest in some digital scales too so that way you know that ingredients are measured out precisely. I know of some people who pack down the sugar/flour etc when measuring out which can throw things off.

post #6 of 23
Frostings do not need as precise measurements as baked goods.

Can you tell us what kinds of problems you are having, such as cake dry, not rising, crumbly, etc.? Perhaps we can better help diagnose the issue.

As for ingredients, if the recipe says butter, do you use real butter, or margarine? Substitutions like that would alter the recipe.
post #7 of 23
You've gotten some really good advice so far, I suggest you get a scale as well. It's super super important to be exact when baking from scratch. Well, it is for me.

Also. Try dying recipes that use grams and measurements
post #8 of 23
I would agree with the others, in that a digital scale and research at the library is a good place to start. Then from there trial and error. That is what I did. I only bake from scratch because that is what I prefer.(not trying to get into a scratch vs doctored/mix debate).

I read Warren Brown's Cakelove and he even refers to a book that I have also read that devls into the science behind baking and I found it at the library as well.

For my efforts I have won first place in two seperate contests for my poundcake and my chocolate cake. I will be entering another contest in two weeks for my old fashioned caramel cake(I have worked on the caramel icing recipe for slightly over six months). And if I might add, it is the most creamiest melt in your mouth icing and it stays that way and does not have that awful sugary crunch to it.

So practice along with determination goes a long way. I have a friend that has a wonderful saying, "Nothing beats a failure but a try" So have fun trying!!!!

post #9 of 23

You have been given great advice so far. Find a simple pound cake recipe and buy all fresh ingredients. Make sure to have a sifter handy and make a well in center to combine the wet ingredients. Most of all relax and enjoy yourself. My mom passed the art of baking from scratch onto me and I'm truly greatful. 

post #10 of 23
Great advice from everybody, I agree with Morganchampagne that use recipes with grams. It's much easier to measure on a digital scale, and just keep practising! Everybody has made mistakes one time or another, you just have to learn from these mistakes and you will get better!! Maybe when you try your recipes you should write down what went wrong and tweak it from there, if it's a success then write down what the changes were- this will better help you understand and remember for next time!! icon_smile.gif
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for all the wonderful advice. I will start doing what has been suggested and will post an update. Last time i made a recipe the cupcakes were too dry. Yesterdays recipe and the time before, for some weird reason i feel like my cupcakes taste like corn muffins. I am using real butter at room temp as well as eggs at room temp.
Question, should i be measuring first then sifting? or sift & then measure?
I usually measure first. How long Can i keep the powder and baking soda for?

thank you all! I greatly appreciate and the wonderful help.
post #12 of 23

Measure then sift. Look on baking powder & soda for expiration date. If it seems dry it may have been left in the oven a wee bit too long. What recipe are you using?

post #13 of 23
In the beginning of my baking, I also had cupcakes come out tasting like corn muffins! It ended up being lower quality butter and flour that did that. To bake from scratch you need the best ingredients, weigh everything, use good science based recipes, such as the Cake Bible. Just keep trying! It's worth the effort to learn how to bake well, as well-made scratch cakes are unbelievably good.
post #14 of 23

Gretchen Price (Crumb Boss) from Woodland Bakery has great you tube and a website with some easy to follow and good recipes for cakes. She makes it  so easy to do that you can't believe you made such a good cake!

post #15 of 23

one book i really liked when i was learning to bake from scratch was All Cakes Considered, mostly for the detailed 6-page instructions on 'HOW' to mix a pound cake. Really following the directions for each step really makes a huge, huge, huge difference.  Overbeating the flour in at the end of a traditional butter cake can totally ruin the whole batch. I also usually only use recipes that are by weight. It makes a huge difference in consistency of product time after time. Scratch cakes are temperamental and you have to try quite a few to find one that you can work well with.  Chocolate cakes are easier than Vanilla cakes. So maybe get some confidence with a chocolate, then move on to a good vanilla butter cake.  I still have trouble with an all white cake, so now I just don't offer it.  I'd say i took about a year to feel really confident to ditch the WASC box cake and go all-scratch.  Stick with it. If it is something you want to do, it is a rewarding accomplishment. 

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