Baking can be intimidating – it’s hard to know where to start and it seems like everyone knows something about it that you don’t. Plus, you can spend hours on the internet scrolling through advice and endless opinions without getting anywhere. If your baked goods aren’t turning out the way you want, you might just need a little boost to your baking skills. Sometimes you just need to know some basic foundational tips and a few clever hacks to up your baking game.
Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with our essential 20 baking tips to take your baking to the next level.
1. Don’t Forget to Soften Your Butter
Before you totally melt your stick of butter in the microwave, try this tip instead. Microwave a glass of water until the water is hot, then dump the water. Place your stick of butter under the warm glass to get it to gently soften, rather than completely melt it.
2. Choose the Right Pan to Make Your Cake Just Right
We all know that darker colors get hotter faster – the same is true for baking pans and sheets. If you find that you keep burning the bottom of your cakes, try either a lighter colored pan or try lowering your oven temperature by 25 degrees.
3. Turn Any Cake Mix into Cookie Dough with Two Simple Ingredients
Gone are the days of buying separate cake and cookie mix. Next time, try adding 1/2 cup of oil and 2 eggs to your cake mix for the perfect cookie dough. This is will dramatically expand the type of cookies you can make and feel free to experiment with new flavors like fun-fetti!
4. Use a Vegetable Peeler for Perfect Curls
If you have a vegetable or potato peeler, you can also have picture perfect chocolate spirals. These curls make the ideal final touches on any baked goods.
5. Get Creative with Decorating the Edges of Your Pie Crust
We’ve all seen that one pie with the perfect edges and we have all wondered how in the world that baker got those edges. Try using a pair of tongs and carefully crimp the edges of your pie crust to get a cute repeating pattern that will wow guests. You can also try using a fork or any patterned spoon to get the same repeating pattern for your crust.
6. No Cookbook Stand? No Problem with This Genius Hack
Don’t bother buying a cookbook stand. As long as you’ve got a hanger with clips, you’ve got your very own DIY cookbook stand. Hang your DIY stand on an overhead cabinet handle to keep your recipe right at eye-level.
7. Whip Store-Bought Frosting to Make It Even Fluffier
It’s no secret that making your own homemade frosting can be a daunting task. Fortunately, you won’t need to. Buy any regular store-brand frosting and whip it in an electric mixer until the frosting puffs up. This will help add air to the frosting, giving it a fluffier consistency.
8. Use an Empty Bottle to Quickly Separate Your Egg Yolks
Whether you don’t like touching eggs with your bare hands, or if you struggle to separate the yolks from the whites by hand, this hack was designed for you. Grab an empty water bottle and carefully squeeze some of the air out of it. Place the mouth of bottle over the yolk and slowly release your hold on the bottle. This will suck up the yolk, leaving behind the egg whites – no fuss!
9. Keep Your Bowl and Beaters Cold for the Best Whipped Cream
Whipped cream is a delicate thing. If it gets too warm, your whipped cream can become thin and runny. To keep your whipped cream fluffy and soft, chill your beaters and bowl in the refrigerator first to keep everything cooler.
10. Get Perfect Letters with A Simple Toothpick Hack
It can be beyond difficult to get straight, proportionate lettering on your cakes. Before laying down any letters, try making a little outline with a toothpick. Once you’re done, it’s as easy as just connecting the dots.
11. Use Cookie Cutters to Transform Your Pie Crusts
To get that instagram-able pie, try using small cookie cutters and carefully layering the cut-outs to make a whimsical design. We love this dreamy heart-shaped pie!
12. Try Grating Butter to Easily Incorporate into Any Mixture
Graters can be used for so much more than just cheese. If you need to add butter to any of your batters, try using a grater. This breaks your butter into thinner, softer pieces than can be more easily incorporated to any of your batters or doughs.
13. Save Your Money & Use Mason Jar Lids Instead
Muffin pans seem like a staple for most kitchens, but in reality, they only ever see the light of day once in a great while. If you don’t want to spend the money on a muffin pan that you’ll hardly ever use, try laying mason jar lids flat on a baking sheet and using them to hold your cupcakes and muffins.
14. Get Your Frosting Extra Smooth with One Paper Towel
Once you’ve smoothed out your cake frosting as much as possible, try laying a smooth, non-patterned paper-towel to get an even smoother finish. Use a fondant smoother over the top to get a wrinkle-free look.
15. Never Trim a Cake Again
Tired of trimming your cake layers down to perfect size? So are we. Instead, fasten damp cake strips around the base of your pan – this will help your cake cook more evenly and not puff so much in the center. Once baked and while it’s still warm, gently press down on the top of your cake with a tea cloth to even your layer out.
16. Use Sliced Bread to Keep Your Cakes Moist
If you’re worried about your cake getting stale, toss a slice of bread on top to keep your cake moist and fresh. Your slices of bread will end up hard, but your cake won’t. Success!
17. Turn Up the Heat to Get the Perfect Ganache
Glassy ganaches are the envy of all bakers, but they’re actually easier than you might think. Try using a hairdryer on low air and high heat to melt your chocolate. As the chocolate melts, carefully smooth it into place.
18. Create Gorgeous Patterns with Left-over Lace
If you have any scraps of lace laying around, then you’ve got some quirky and different design possibilities. Lay down your lace and then sift some powdered sugar over your cakes. Once you remove the lace, you’ll be left with a gorgeous design that’s totally unique.
19. Play with Your Recipe to Get Your Cookies Just Right
Baking is kind of like chemistry – different mixtures and amounts of your ingredients will dramatically change how your cookies turn out. Even something as small as melting or not melting your butter before baking can totally transform the texture of your cookies. Try playing around with your recipe until you get the exact cookie you’re looking for.
20. Enrich Your Cake Batter
If you feel like your cake batter from the box isn’t quite turning out the way you want, try enriching your batter with these simple tips. Instead of water, replace it with whole milk. For an extra rich texture, add 1 to 2 extra eggs. You can also cut some of the oil out of the mix and add butter to enhance your cake even more.
And there you have it folks! With these tips you’ll be baking like a pro in no time flat. Plus, practice makes perfect – just because a cake doesn’t turn out the way you want the first time, try again. Baking, like any skill, takes a sprinkle of patience and a pinch of good advice.
Be sure to share these tips with your friends and any other aspiring bakers!