Baking has taught me a lot of lessons in life and one of the most important things it has taught me is that great things take time. Baking has definitely taught me that in life, you’ll always have a moment where you get knocked down but you’ll just have to get up, brush the flour off your cheeks and keep going. What I mean is that nothing comes easy and no one started at the top. That statement definitely holds true to me and where I began.
This is where my story began. This is one of the first cakes I ever made and girl, I was beyond proud of this. Looking back it kind of makes me nostalgic to say the least. I watched a ton of youtube videos, stalked a ton of blogs and had no idea where this hobby would take me. So in the mist of me being all in my feelings with how far I’ve come, here are the top five mistakes I made and how I corrected them to get to where I am today.
- Underestimating how much time making a cake takes: This is something that I feel no one will understand until they decide to bake a cake. So for this I would say just keep practicing. Do I sound like broken record? YES. Is it true?MOST DEFINITELY. Keep practicing and just keep in mind that cakes frosted in buttercream are different than cakes covered in fondant. Little details that seem so simple to make require a whole lot of time to mold, shape and cut. Just keep that in mind.
- Not using parchment paper to line my pans: At the beginning I used to just spray my pans with that “baking spray” and though that kind of works, the day I switched to using parchment paper to line my pans changed my life. I would never go back. With parchment paper you just have to run a knife around the edges and your cake tiers pop out nice and easy. They come out looking perfect with a flat top once you peel back the parchment. I do have one piece of advice though, never and I repeat NEVER forget to take the parchment off.. trust me, I learned that the hard way but, thats a story for another time lol.
- Using cold ingredients: If you’re like me and you like to dig deep into baking blogs and forums you’ll know that people literally always say this. Never use cold ingredients and always let them come to room temperature. Now, I’m a big skeptic on things I read but I for sure learned this rule the hard way. I kind of treated this rule like it was cool if you did it but it kind of didn’t matter. I would try my best to follow what they said but sometimes I would just be in a bind for time and would just bake without waiting for my ingredients to come to room temperature. What I noticed is that when I would wait, everything about my cake improved. It would come out fluffier, taller, just overall better. So listen to someone who learned the hard way and please let your ingredients come to room temperature.
- Cutting cookie cutters with room temperature dough: Cookies are still a skill I’m trying to venture into but I have tried for a few years to master the skill of icing sugar cookies. One huge takeaway from all these attempts is definitely cut your shapes while the dough is chilled. I’ve always been the person to make cookie dough and the second I finish I wanted to put it in the oven. When making shaped cookies this is a huge no-no. If you don’t let your dough chill, your cookies will become big, wide, unidentifiable blobs. Chill your dough at least for 30 minutes before cutting and your cookies will thank you and you won’t be crying at 1am because you had to start over.
- Not supplying enough support between tiers of cake: Cakes have a lot of lessons to teach and this one took me a few tries to learn. There are a lot of videos on youtube and a lot of forums and blogs that can assist on this last piece of advice. Cakes weigh a lot more than people think and without the proper support you will have a bottom tier that is broken into pieces. You can use wooden dowels as support but always make sure they are the same size and that they are aligned to keep the weight of the top tier from crushing the bottom of your cake. Also, always make sure that every tier is on its own cardboard base. This will make it easier to put the tiers on top of each other and also spreads the weight of the tier evenly over the dowels. I recently switched over to bubble tea straws and so far, so good. If you apply a central dowel it will also create more support and make sure that your tiers don’t topple over. I can go on and on about this one so you’ll read more once I post my horror story lol. stay tuned.
I’m still learning and that’s kind of the beauty of this hobby. Every day there is something new to learn, a new skill or a new trend. I love baking and though it is not my career, it is definitely something I will never give up. I have this ongoing joke that my future kids are going to be fluffy and round because all I’ll do is bake and they’ll be my taste testers haha. These are five things that made a difference in my journey and I want you guys to have a smoother ride than me. I hope these help! Happy Baking!