- First read recipe carefully. Ensure you have all the ingredients required for any recipe before you start.
- Do not guess, rather measure the ingredients accurately. When measuring, gently shake the ingredient into the measuring cup, level off the surface with the top of the cup.
- Always sift flour before measuring. Measure flour in a measuring cup and scrape off excess.
- Use a scale for correct mass weight.
- Always use ingredients at room temperature.
- Follow the same units of measurement throughout a recipe; use either metric or imperial and do not mix both.
- The right baking tin is essential for perfect results. Measure across top from inside.
- The oven should be switched on before starting preparation and should have reached the recommended baking temperature before use.
- The baking times given in each recipe can only be used as a guide because every oven varies. Ovens and bakeware vary, which can affect final baking times. Changes in ingredients can also affect baking time.
- Check the cake ± 5 minutes before the end of baking time.
- Use proper test for doneness.
Testing cakes for doneness
* Cooking times are all approximate. Various factors should be considered – Correct measurements, pans and oven temperature makes it easy. Feel surface of cake – should feel firm.
* Cake should appear slightly shrunken from the edges of the pan.
* Use a skewer and gently push into thickest part of cake. If skewer is covered with uncooked mixture, return to oven for further baking.
Several cakes and slices can be cooked in the oven at one time, providing the pans do not touch each other, the sides of the oven or the door when closed. Alternate the position of the pans halfway through during the cooking time. Position cakes in centre of oven, unless a thermofan oven is used, then any level will do. In a thermofan oven the temperature can be reduced slightly as cakes often take slightly less time to cook.
None of the recipes have been tested in a microwave as the cooking time and result would be very different from conventionally cooked cakes.
Non-stick pans or aluminium cake pans are best. Grease pans evenly with spray or a brush dipped in melted butter. Line pans with greaseproof paper.
Cakes should be at room temperature before storing in a container. Most cakes and biscuits can be frozen. Wrap or close as airtight. Usually better to freeze un-iced. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.