These Cake Tips and Cake Cutting Guide will help in the preparation and serving of your cakes.I don’t want to scare you, but I must be honest. When baking a cake there are lots of things that can go wrong. Baking is a science and the ingredients must be measured correctly, plus the oven temperature must be correct. That’s just for starters. But before that happens make sure you’re using the right pan for the size you want and prepare it properly. One of the most frustrating results is when you’ve baked the perfect cake and it doesn’t release properly from the pan. After a few tips on preparing the pan, I’ll share a few ideas on what to do with the cake that is clinging to the pan for dear life.
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Preparing the Pan(s)
If a recipe calls for a greased pan, be sure to grease the pan with solid shortening unless another method is specified. The shortening can be applied with your fingers, but that’s just too messy. You can use a piece of paper towel or a pastry brush. If you’re using a pan with an intricate design like some Bundt Cake pans a pastry brush works great, as do Non-stick sprays formulated specifically for baking.
Often a recipe’s instructions will also call for the bottom to be lined with parchment paper and possibly to apply a thin layer of butter to the paper as well. Parchment paper is easily found in most grocery stores on a roll like wax paper. While on the subject of wax paper, do not use it in place of parchment paper. Wax paper is not heat resistant, it will melt and stick to your cake. Worse case scenario it can catch fire.
Parchment paper is also available in pre-cut round, squares or sheets. It’s a little more expensive than the paper on a roll but having it in pre-cut sizes is a great timesaver. If you’re using parchment paper, once the cake has cooled in the pan for the recommended amount of time, turn the cake out onto a cooling rack, remove the paper and discard it.
Once your delicious cake has cooled and ready to be frosted, prepare the plate you’re decorating on. This may sound unnecessary, but it helps to keep the cake plate neat. Place several strips of wax or parchment paper over the edges of the plate. Set the cake on top then fill and frost as desired. When you’re finished gently remove the paper strips to reveal a very neat cake plate.
The guide listed below takes the guesswork out of figuring how many servings you can get from the size of the cake you’ve baked. There are two serving charts, one for cakes baked in round pans with recommendations for two serving sizes. The smaller or finger portions is the typical size slice for a wedding cake but can be used for everyday cakes as well. If you were hosting a dessert party where there’d be more sweet options, finger portions are the way to go. The other chart is for l square pans with the same serving size options.
Image from The Cake Pavillion Company
I was on a roll last weekend with cake failures. I baked what I thought was going to be a beautiful Bundt in a fancy smancy pan. The pan was prepared with my pan grease and it might as well have been prepared with mashed potatoes. The first thing that went wrong was that it rose and then sank, and I have no idea why.
I figured or better yet, hoped, that it would turn out (literally and figuratively) okay. That was not the case. Trying to get that cake out of the pan was like trying to put on a pair of jeans right out of the dryer. It wasn’t happening.
I sliced what I could and used it to make a trifle by for our neighbors Super Bowl party. For the trifle, I combined 8 ounces of cream cheese with 16 ounces of nondairy topping and made alternating layers with the cake cream cheese mixture and chocolate pudding. Then it was topped with maraschino cherries and Heath bits.
This one I’m attributing to my oven. A White Chocolate Bundt is one of my favorites and I had plans to make a glaze of white chocolate and Rum Chata. The outside wasn’t burned but too dark for the way I wanted to present it. Again, I wasn’t throwing it out. After slicing away the crust and slicing the cake I cut out rounds using a small round cookie cutter. The rounds were used to make parfaits for my Mini Valentine’s Dessert Table. The parfaits were layered with white chocolate pudding, lemon curd and topped with a chocolate heart. Another option for a less than perfect cake is to make cake truffles.
I hope these tips will help you to turn out perfect cakes. Remember, most of the time there is always a Plan B.
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Image from The Cake Pavillion Company
Amazon Store pastry brush, parchment paper, silpat