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Baking Tips and Tricks

Below is a list of baking tips and tricks that I have either learned from the pros, read in books, or figured out through trial and error (this is an ongoing process).

I can say that following these guidelines has drastically improved my baking, and I thought it would be nice to share. I hope that some of these will help you too 😀

Recipe / Ingredient Tips

  • Ingredients for cakes should be room temperature (take out of refrigerator approximately an hour before using), it allows the butter and eggs to be properly incorporated into the batter.
  • To check freshness of eggs, put in a bowl of water–if they sink, they’re fresh. If they float and stand on one end, they’re not.
  • To create a replacement for buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon vinegar for every cup of homogenized milk and stir
  • Weighing ingredients with a digital kitchen scale is the most accurate method of baking.
  • Eggs separate best when cold, but whites whip best when room temperature or warm.
  • For best results, use pure vanilla extract  – it makes a difference (you can make it yourself! All you need is plain vodka and vanilla beans).
  • To bring cold eggs to room temperature quickly, you can put the whole eggs into a bowl of lukewarm water for 30 minutes.
  • To bring butter to room temperature quickly, you can cut into small cubes on a plate for about 15 minutes.
  • Unless otherwise listed, use unsalted butter for cake recipes. That way you can be sure of the amount of salt you are adding to your batter (different brands of butter use different amounts of salt).

Batter Tips:

  • Incorporate dry ingredients together with whisk before adding to wet ingredients.
  • When creaming butter and sugar, the mixture should become a very pale yellow and look fluffy. It will add small air pockets into the mixture and help develop a wonderful, light texture.
  • Always start and end with dry ingredients when alternating with wet ingredients (3 dry additions, 2 wet).
  • Don’t over-mix once dry ingredients are added. Just mix on low speed until incorporated.
  • Too much sugar can cause a dark crust, too little can cause too light a crust or tough texture.
  • Beat egg yolks with fork before adding to batter.
  • When folding, you should always add the lighter of the two mixtures on top, using a gentle folding motion, to avoid deflating batter.
  • When mixing egg whites for meringue, wipe all utensils and bowl with vinegar or lemon juice on a paper towel before they come in contact with the egg whites (including the mixer whisk attachment). Traces of grease can prevent your meringue from whipping up properly!
  • If incorporating more than one flavor into a batter or icing, always start with the vanilla; vanilla enhances most flavors.

Baking Tips:

  • Use a small offset spatula to spread batter evenly in pans. Don’t fill more than 2/3 full.
  • Always wait for oven to reach the necessary temperature before putting cakes in oven.
  • Keep cakes away from sides of oven, and if possible a few inches from each other (when more than 1 baking at once).
  • Rotate your pans halfway through the baking process to help them bake evenly.
  • If baking a chocolate cake, make sure you chose a recipe that includes boiling water, or hot coffee. The heat from the liquid will help elevate the flavor of the cocoa.
  • Use middle rack, unless otherwise stated in recipe.
  • Leave cakes in oven when testing for doneness. When a skewer comes clean from center of cake (or with very few crumbs), it’s done.
  • Don’t over-bake your cake layers! This is one sure way to end up with a dry cake.

Cooling & Frosting:

  • Let your cake layers fully cool in pans on wire racks for 20 minutes before removing from the pans.
  • Apply even layers of filling using an piping bag fir with a large round tip.
  • Spread a thin layer of frosting to seal in any rouge crumbs, then place in refrigerator for 30 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes before second layer of icing.
  • Use a bench scraper to get super-smooth edges on the sides of your cake.
  • For clean cut cake pieces and minimal crumbs, run your cutting knife under hot water (and dry) right before cutting.

Happy Baking!


Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

I made a red velvet semi naked cake, but it had quite a few red “crumbs” in it. Do I need to put a thin crumb layer of frosting first?

Chelsea Barnes

Sunday 15th of December 2019

I love your vlogs! One problem I have been having is when my cakes are done baking, the tops feel perfectly cooked and dry. Then after an hour our two of cooling on a cooling rack, I wrap them in plastic wrap and then into a ziplock and into the fridge over night. Then the next day, I unwrap them to frost them cold and the tops are all sticky. So I cut all the tops off and stack and frost them and the frosting starts to bubble off the sides of the cake after a few hours at room temp. It’s like the cake on the sides has sweat-off some of the frosting. What should I do to avoid this from happening?


Sunday 15th of December 2019

Hi Chelsea,

You are too sweet! The tops of my cake layers also get sticky as they thaw if I don't level them, but usually I trim them off before I wrap and freeze them and it's fine. When I don't trim them though, the slightly sticky tops aren't usually a problem, it just makes my fingers sticky when I stack my layers.

Are your cake layers still pretty frozen when you frost them? I let my cake layers thaw for 20-40 minutes (varies based on size), so that they're still a bit cold to the touch in the center, but not frozen. It's super important they thaw a decent amount before you assemble your cake, or else it can cause issues with condensation and bubbling as the layers thaw and settle.

However, if you're allowing your cake layers to thaw a decent amount and you are still having these issues, it might be that your frosting is a bit too thin! Maybe try adding a bit less heavy cream the next time you make frosting, and see if that helps. That's my best guess. I really hope that helps! <3


Thursday 7th of February 2019

I tried the moist chocolate cake tonight for the first time! It looks great! I stuck in the freezer and will frost it tomorrow. How long before I frost it should I pull it out of the freezer?


Thursday 14th of February 2019

So happy to hear that Maegan! I usually let mine thaw for about 20 minutes before frosting them :) happy baking!!


Thursday 13th of March 2014

Reblogged this on Stacichristina .

Paolo Española

Thursday 13th of March 2014

YES! It's one thing to read your recipes but as a struggling baker, I find these "educational" posts on baking hacks extremely helpful in getting good enough not to rely on individual recipes and instead start using these general tips. Thanks for sharing!


Thursday 13th of March 2014

Now you just need to teach me how to properly poach an egg and we'll be golden :D haha