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Preparing to Bake a Cake

You've got all the ingredients, your recipe is ready, and the oven is preheating. If you adopt these little tricks as you get ready to make a cake, you'll find that the whole process runs smoother.

Mix your cake in a large pitcher or a bowl with a spout. Then it will be easy to pour the batter into a pan when it's all mixed up.

Protect yourself from batter splatter when you are mixing with an electric mixer. The cake batter wants to spray everywhere, but you can stop this from happening by simply spraying the beaters with vegetable oil before powering up. The batter will stay in the bowl the beaters won't have batter stuck to them. (Bonus: you waste less batter. Bummer: no beaters to lick when the cake is baking.)

You can also save on a bit of the mess when spooning out batter for cupcakes. All you need to do is dip your spoon in milk before putting it in the batter. This will keep the batter from sticking to the spoon. You can you this tip when scraping the bowl with a spatula, too.

Do you have problems with your cakes sticking to the pan after cooking? Your will find that your cakes will slip easily from their pans if you forego the butter when greasing a pan and instead grease with solid vegetable shortening, which contains more water than butter. Rub a light layer of shortening on all the insides of your pan. Then add just enough flour to stick to coat the pan and cover all the shortening. A cake won't rise properly if the pan is greased but not floured. The flour gives the batter something to cling to as it expands.

You can also reserve a bit of the dry cake mix to use instead of flour, and you won't get a white mess on the outside of your cake.

For best results, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper or wax paper. Trace the bottom of you pan on the paper, then cut a piece just large enough to lie inside. If it's too big and it folds or bunches around the edges, it will make your cake bumpy. (Don't forget to still grease and flour the sides of the pans!)

 

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