Thursday, February 14, 2013

Baking Tips for Beginners-Baking Basics

I am receiving too many questions regarding baking, so I decided it is high time to do a separate post on baking tips for beginners. I am not a professional baker or an expert in baking but will share with you what I know and what I learn't from my personal experiences and from various books on baking. 

Image source -Microsoft free pictures
Baking tips for Beginners

1.Measurement is very important in baking. Use standard measuring cups and spoons.Also you can invest in a small kitchen scale for weighing ingredients. For example if the recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, do not tightly pack the cup with flour, instead lightly spoon it and level if off with a knife.So stick to correct measurements.

2.Before you start to bake, read the recipe 2-3 times and see if you have all the ingredients. Keeping all the ingredients ready will save you a lot of time,energy and mess. Neatly spread a newspaper on the kitchen platform as it saves the trouble of cleaning the kitchen platform after baking.

3.Bring all the ingredient to room temperature.Keep all the ingredient ready an hours before you start baking to bring it to room temperature.

4.Use fresh ingredients. Using old stock maida (all purpose flour), baking powder will not give you desirable results.Get good quality brands.

5.Prepare the pan before starting.Grease and flour the pan. Grease and flour means take a little melted butter or oil and spread it all over the pan and dust it lightly with flour. Alternatively you can line the baking tray with parchment paper as this will help to remove the cake easily from the pan when it has been baked.Cleaning also becomes easier.

6.If you are using dry fruits or nuts, mix it with a little flour and keep it ready. This is done so that the nuts and fruits will not go and settle at the bottom of the cake.

7.Always preheat the oven before mixing the dry ingredients as once you mix the maida, you have to bake immediately otherwise the cake will become hard. Normally I preheat my OTG oven at 180 Degree C for 10 -15 minutes unless otherwise mentioned.

8.Don’t over mix once the dry ingredients are added. Just fold it gently with a wooden spatula.If using an electric mixer, mix in very low speed until incorporated.

9.Use the middle rack for baking unless otherwise specified in the recipe.

10.Avoid opening the oven door frequently due to curiosity when the cake is baking as the cake will sink.

11.Avoid over baking.Once the baking time is over, check the cake by inserting  a toothpick in the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, then the cake is done otherwise bake for a few more minutes.

12.Cool the cake completely before frosting.

Solutions to some problems while baking cakes

Cake is dry - Cake is over baked or you have over mixed or over whipped the ingredients.

Cake stuck to the pan -You did not prepare the pan properly or you have removed the cake when it is too hot.

Cake did not rise - you have opened the oven door frequently thereby allowing hot air to escape or you have over mixed the ingredients.

Cake is not soft - you have to bake immediately after mixing the dry ingredients.If you keep it for a long time, the cake will not be soft.

Cake is soggy - It will be soggy, if you leave it to cool for a long time in the pan.

Cake did not cook properly or cracked - Oven temperature must have been too low.

Readers can add any new tips, they have learn't from their experience in the comments section, so that it will be useful for many newbies out there.

Finally do not give up if you have failed once or twice, with practice you will soon learn the art of  baking and enjoy it.

If you found this post useful, I would really love it if you pin it or share it with your Facebook fans or Twitter followers or Google+ circles today. All it takes is a simple click on the “pin it” “like,” “share,” “tweet,” or Google+ buttons below the post. It will keep me motivated. Thank you!


  1. this is a real good post, thank you for sharing... :)

  2. job well done :) i seriously got so many information !

  3. Thanks a lot for your useful tips of baking.

  4. Hi Padhu, thanks for sharing your baking tips. Very useful information.

    Happy valentine's day to you.

  5. very useful post dear... thanks for sharing....

  6. Very useful post.. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great tips. surely help beginners.:)

  8. Wow all doubts and questions in a single post !! It is really of great help. Thank you :)

  9. Thanks for sharing padhu - they are so useful. i just want to add one point - we should only give 10 minutes of rest time for the cake in the bake pan,after 10 min we should move that to cooling rack(more or less of 10 minutes makes a big difference). this is a common note i read in many baking books and also my self experience.

  10. Very useful post, Padhu! Thanks!
    I had a question. Some recipes call for milk, some curd and some oil as wet ingredients. Are they interchangable? What is the role of each item in baking?

  11. thanks a lot, this is a very useful post for beginners..

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Wow....wonderful post...great info's.....thanks for sharing da.....

  14. Quirkygirl - To my knowledge the ingredients are not interchangeable.But you can substitute- For example- you can use melted butter as a substitute for can substitute milk instead of water. Well! that needs a separate post.

  15. Good post Padhu definitely an useful one for everyone :)

  16. Beautiful tips,thanks for sharing.

  17. Good are always useful...lots of info...

  18. Thanks for sharing this post... This is very helpful to me.. A baking newbie..

  19. All the recipes are easy to understand and can be cooked easily.

    Thanks for sharing the recipes.


  20. Very useful post padhu like beginners like me,willbe glad if u make pic. post with oven details

  21. I dont have an oven. How to make cake using microwave ?

  22. my cake was hard at the top

  23. can u give some tips for steaming in pressure cooker txs

  24. Gr8 post . I have a microwave with convection mode. How to preheat the oven? What temp to cook cake and for how long?

  25. thank you padhu, i have entered this baking world and is slowly picking up. this is very useful to me.

  26. Once i have preheated the oven whether i should switch it off or i can just keep the baking tray. Im not sure of this at all please reply me. As im very new to baking.

  27. You should preheat the over for 10 or 15 minutes.After that it will automatically switch off. Then you have to keep the baking tray inside and set the time again for baking and switch it on.

  28. hey
    may i ask you few questions
    like whats the brand and size of the otg u use?
    whats the biggest size of cake u can bake in it?
    can we bake two 7 or 8 inch cake in a 28L otg?
    i am starter in baking..n planning to get an otg..but u knw right so confusing
    is convection req in otg?
    coz i was wondering with convection we can bake a cake n a tray of cookies togther as due to fan thr wil b even temp distribution while w/o convection thr might nt b evn cooking in cake n cookies...right??
    sorry so many ques..
    please have the patience and do reply
    thanks in advance :)

    1. I use Morphy Richards OTG oven.THis oven is just enough for a family of 4. You cannot bake two 7 inch or 8 inch cake in my oven. I do not know about the 28L OTG.
      OTG ovens will bake cookies also well.

    2. ohh..okk..
      u din mention size of ur oven..
      btw i jst tried ur eggless ragi cake in pressure cooker..
      i have tried many diff recipes frm diff sites for this..
      but this is the perfect one ..though i din use the choco sauce..only icing sugar..and my batter required 1/4 cup extra liquid..n i used warm water..
      thnx fr the recipe..

  29. Dear Padhu, your recipes are very nice and you motivate me alot to try them without any hesitation. Well I have a doubt. Is it necessary to use oil for the carrot cake. If yes then will normal cooking oil do? if no then can I replace with butter. Then whats the measurement of the butter.

    1. Thanks a lot Josephine for liking my website and recipes. Regarding your doubt -You can use any flavorless cooking oil.

  30. Hi Padhu,

    I am new to baking. After watching many YouTube videos I am now ready to invest in some bakeware. I see lot of spring form tins in the market. Would you recommend buying this (I think it is aluminum with non stick coating and springform for loosening the cake) or should I just stick to regular aluminum tins?

    Also, I have a cooking range with oven below. It has a mesh rack and a tray. Here are some doubt's

    1. While baking cake is it OK to leave the tray in the lower slot below the rack or will it affect the cake in terms of reduced direct heat?
    2. Can this tray be used directly as a tray to make cookies by adding a parchment paper on it?

    Looking forward to your inputs. Thanks in advance.


    1. If you want spring form pans, you can buy but not necessary. I use only ordinary aluminium pans for baking.
      In OTG the lower tray is usually the crumb tray to avoid spillage.
      It is always better to use parchment paper when making cookies.

  31. what size morphy richards are you using?? can it bake 1 kg cake??


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