chocolate cake recipes

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Tips for Baking Great Chocolate Cakes

Cake Recipe Hints

Enjoy baking cakes all year long. These helpful hints will help you to bake better cakes.
1. If you want a perfectly flat top ~ use the flat bottom of your cake for the top. (Flip it over)

2. If your oven is too hot ~ then your cake will rise too much in the middle. Wait till your oven is fully preheated and use an oven thermometer to ensure proper oven temperature.

3. Add moisture and flavors with ~ add extract flavors or espresso flavorings to your syrup and brush it on.

4. If your cake is too high in the center ~ take a long serrated knife and cut the top off. Wait till your cake has cooled before cutting.

5. Cheesecakes will often crack when they cool ~ spray your pan before cooking with cooking spray, so as it cools it will not stick to the sides of the pan and crack.

6. For an easy finish ~ Dust your cake with powdered sugar.

7. What about eggshells in the cake batter ~ any eggshells will sink to the bottom while baking. After cooking, turn your cake over and remove eggshells.

8. If your cake is crumbly and hard to frost ~ brush on a little Simple Syrup and freeze. It will set up and be ready for frosting.

9. Sprinkle chopped nuts onto the sides of a frosted cakes. Walnuts Pecans and Almonds make good decoration ~ adds flavor and nutrition also.

10. Investing in top quality chocolate, fruit fillings, nuts etc, makes a tremendous difference. Your cake will taste its best when starting with the best ingredients.

11.Always use fresh eggs. Eggs separate best when cold, egg whites need to be at room temperature for greater volume when whipped. Remember this when making a meringue. Most cake recipes will use eggs in the recipe.

12. Real Butter gives the best flavor. A cake is a treat. Live a little!

13. Professionally decorated cakes have a silky, molten look. To get that appearance, frost your cake as usual, then use a hair dryer to blow-dry the surface until the frosting slightly melts.

14. When decorating a cake with icing, you can make a quick decorating tube. Put icing in a heat-safe zip-lock plastic bag. Immerse in simmering water until the icing is melted. Snip off the tip of one corner, and squeeze the icing out of the bag.

  • A handy substitute for cake flour: 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour equals 1 cup cake flour.
  • To prevent nuts and fruits from sinking to the bottom of a cake during baking, warm them a bit in the oven and toss them with flour. Shake off excess flour before mixing them into the batter.

Mixing Cake Recipes

*Prepare all the necessary ingredients.
*Before mixing the batter, prepare the pans, turn the oven on, and make sure the rack is in the center.
*Have all ingredients at room temperature for best results.
*Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy or as long as the recipe directs.
*Always sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices to avoid lumps.
*To speed up the softening of cold butter, slice and let stand for about 10 minutes.
*Toss nuts, raisins and fruits in the batter last. This will avoid color bleeding.
*Scrape sides and bottom of bowl frequently with a rubber spatula during mixing.
*Spread batter evenly in pans.

Baking the Cake

*Turn on oven 10-15 minutes before you plan to use it to allow time for it to heat to baking temperature.
*Generously grease inside of pan with solid vegetable shortening. Use pastry brush to spread shortening evenly, making sure all inside surfaces are well covered. Dust with flour, tap out excess. If shiny spots remain, touch up with more shortening and flour, or use vegetable pan spray.
*Position pans as near to center of oven as possible. Pans should not touch sides of oven or each other.
*Test your cakes for doneness while they're still in the oven. Because of differences in individual oven controls, be sure to test your cake for doneness according to package or recipe directions. Cake is done when the sides shrink slightly away from the pan and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
*Cool cake in pan 10 - 15 minutes before loosening the edge and turning it out onto a wired rack to cool.
*To remove cake easily from pan, place double thickness paper towel over wire rack. The towel prevents the wire bars from breaking the crust or leaving imprints on top of cake. A clean oven rack or refrigerator shelf can be used for larger layers. Place covered rack over top of cake. Invert cake and rack at least one hour before decorating. Then brush loose crumbs off cake.

Frosting the Cake

*Chill the cake between the filling and the frosting. The cake will be much easier to work with.
*Apply a thin layer of frosting to the cake then refrigerate until it is set before applying the final, heavier layer of frosting. This will seal in the crumbs, ensuring a clean final appearance.

When your cake recipe is not behaving!

It's tough when a cake doesn't do the right thing -- and here are some of the most common reasons:

In General

If the cake rose unevenly in the oven:
The flour was not blended sufficiently into the main mixture.
The temperature inside the oven was uneven.
The oven temperature was too high.

If the batter overflows the pans:
Make sure you used the right size pan. The uncooked mixture should not fill the pan by more than two-thirds.

If the Cake is Dense and Heavy

The eggs were too small. Always use large eggs when baking.
Insufficient air was whisked into the egg and sugar mixture.
The flour was not folded in gently. Always mix in the flour at the lowest speed.
The melted butter was too hot when added, causing it to sink down through the whisked foam.
The oven temperature was too low.
If the top of the cake dropped:
The oven temperature was too hot.
The cake was not cooked long enough.
The oven door was opened too soon, which created a draft.

Cake Recipes That Use Creamed Butter and Sugar Mixtures

If the batter curdles and separates:
The ingredients were not at room temperature.
The butter and sugar were not creamed together well enough before adding the eggs.
The eggs were added too quickly.

If the cake's texture is too heavy:
The butter, sugar and eggs were not beaten together long enough.
The flour was beaten at too high a speed.
Too much flour was added to the creamed mixture.
The oven temperature was not hot enough.

If the top of the cake peaks and cracks:
The oven temperature was too hot, causing the outside of the cake to bake and form a crust too quickly. As the mixture in the center of the cake continued to cook and rise, it burst up through the top of the cake.
The cake wasn't baked on the center rack of the oven.

If raisins, dried fruit and nuts sink to the bottom:
The pieces of fruit were too large and too heavy.
The sugary syrup on the outside of the fruit was not washed off- this caused the pieces of fruit to slide through the mixture as it heated.
The washed and dried fruit was not dusted with flour before being added to the mixture.
The cake mixture was over beaten or was too wet so it could not hold the fruit in place.
The oven temperature was too low, causing the mixture to melt before it set to hold the fruit in place.

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