Serves: 5



Special occasions call for cake--and only cake will do--from birthdays and weddings to social events and personal milestones. Cake is a sweet confection that rises to any occasion whether it’s a kid’s birthday party, a church picnic, lunch at your desk or a fiftieth wedding anniversary. There are almost as many versions of cakes as occasions to enjoy them. There are two main types of cakes shortening and foam. Both types have some baking tips in common.

Pans and Pan Preparation

Use the size of pan called for in a recipe. How do you determine pan size? Measure the length and width from inside edge to inside edge. If the pan’s too big, your cake will be flat and dry too small and it’ll bulge or overflow the pan.

Shiny metal pans are the first choice for baking cakes. They reflect heat away from the cake for a tender, light brown crust. If you use dark nonstick or glass baking pans, follow the manufacturer’s directions, which may call for reducing the baking temperature by 25° because these pans absorb heat and cakes will cook and brown faster.

Fill cake pans half full. To determine how much batter a specialty pan (such as a heart, star or bell shape) can hold, fill it with water, then measure the water use half that amount of batter. Extra batter? Make cupcakes!

Mixing Cakes

We tested the cake recipes in this cookbook with electric handheld mixers. Because mixers vary in power, you may need to adjust the speed, especially during the first step of combining ingredients. If using a powerful stand mixer, be careful not mix the batter too much, which causes tunnels (large air holes) or a sunken center.
You can also mix cakes by hand. Stir the ingredients until they’re well combined, then beat 150 strokes for each minute of beating time (3 minutes equals 450 strokes). If a cake isn’t beaten enough, the volume will be lower.

If a recipe calls for butter or margarine, we recommend using the stick form. You also can use the stick form of vegetable oil spreads that have at least 65 percent fat, although the batter consistency might be slightly thinner.

For cakes, we don’t recommend using vegetable oil spreads with less than 65 percent fat, reduced-fat butter or any tub or whipped product, whether it’s spread, butter, or margarine. Because they contain more water and less fat, you’ll end up with a cake that’s tough and wet or gummy. (See Fats.)

Baking Cakes

Bake cakes on the oven rack placed in the center of the oven, unless noted otherwise in the recipe. Cakes are done when a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes on a wire rack away from drafts.

Storing Cakes

Cool unfrosted cakes completely before covering and storing to keep the top from becoming sticky. Store cakes with a creamy frosting loosely covered with aluminum foil, plastic wrap or waxed paper or under a cake safe or a large inverted bowl.

Serve a cake with fluffy frosting the same day you make it. If there are leftovers, use a cake safe or inverted bowl with a knife slipped under the edge so air can get in. Store cakes with whipped cream toppings, cream fillings or cream cheese frostings in the refrigerator.

Put cakes containing very moist ingredients such as chopped apples, applesauce, shredded carrots or zucchini, mashed bananas or pumpkin in the refrigerator during humid weather or in humid climates. If stored at room temperature, these cakes tend to mold quickly.

How to Split Cake Layers

Mark middle points around side of layer with toothpicks. Using picks as a guide, cut through the layer with a long, thin sharp knife.

Split the layer by pulling a piece of dental floss or heavy thread horizontally through the middle of the layer, moving floss in a back-and-forth motion.

Cutting Cakes

For layer cakes, use a sharp, long, thin knife. For angel food, chiffon and pound cakes, use a long serrated knife and cut with a sawing motion or use an electric knife.

If the frosting sticks to the knife, dip the knife in hot water and wipe with a damp paper towel after cutting each slice.

For fruitcake, use a thin nonserrated or electric knife. Fruitcakes are easy to cut if you make them three to four weeks ahead of time, wrap and store in the refrigerator. Brush occasionally with rum, brandy or bourbon for a rich, mellow flavor.

Baking Cupcakes

Fun, totable cupcakes are perfect for parties and picnics. Make a batch from any of the cake batters you’ll get about twenty-four to thirty-six cupcakes.
-Line medium muffin cups, 2 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches, with paper baking cups. Look for festive cups in colors and special designs at your supermarket, party store or paper warehouse.

-Fill each cup about half full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

-If you have only one 12-cup muffin pan, cover and refrigerate the rest of the batter while the first batch is baking. Then bake the rest of the batter, adding 1 or 2 minutes to the bake time.

Cake Yields

Size and Kind Number of Servings
8- or 9-inch one-layer
round cake 8

8- or 9-inch two-layer
round cake 12 to 16

8- or 9-inch square
cake 9

13 x 9 x 2-inch
rectangular cake 12 to 16

10 x 4-inch angel
food or chiffon cake 12 to 16

12-cup bundt cake
or pound cake 16 to 24

From "Betty Crocker's Complete Cookbook, Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today, 9th Edition." Text Copyright 2000 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This CAKE BASICS recipe is from the Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 9th Edition Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

More Recipes from the Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 9th Edition Cookbook:
Angel Food Cake
Apple Pie
Apple Wrapper Pie
Applesauce Cake
Baked Tart Shells
Blueberry Cream Tart
Blueberry Pie
Broiled Coconut Frosting
Buttermilk Pastry
Buttery Snack Cake with Broiled Topping
Caramel Frosting
Carrot Cake
Cherry Pie
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Glaze
Chocolate Snack Cake
Classic French Silk Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut-Pecan Filling and Topping
Coffee Cream Filling
Coffee and Cream Chiffon Cake
Cookie Tart Pastry
Cranberry-Apple Pie
Cream Cheese Frosting
Custard Pie
Fluffy Strawberry Pie
Fudge Frosting
German Chocolate Cake
Graham Cracker Crust
Grasshopper Pie
Impossibly Easy Pumpkin Pie
Jelly Roll
Jeweled Fruitcake
Key Lime Pie
Lemon Berry Tart
Lemon Chiffon Cake
Lemon Filling
Lemon Meringue Pie
Mud Pie
Pastry for Pies and Tarts
Pat-in-the-Pan Oil Pastry
Peach Pie
Pecan Pie
Pink Lemonade Pie
Pound Cake
Pumpkin Pie
Raisin-Rum Ice-Cream Pie
Raspberry Filling
Rhubarb Pie
Silver White Cake
Starlight Yellow Cake
Strawberry Glacé Pie
Upside-Down Plum-Pecan Pie
Vanilla Buttercream
Vanilla Glaze
White Mountain Frosting

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