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25 Essential Baking Tips and Tricks for Beginner Bakers

Oh, Martha. You make it look so easy. Cream the butter, sift the flour and voilà! A perfectly baked cake. Well, we’ve tried. And it doesn’t always work like that. If your cookies always end up burned or the thought of activating yeast makes you start to sweat, here are 25 baking lessons to help you channel your inner Mrs. Fields.

1. How to Bake a Cake: Okay, so you’ve totally mastered the boxed cake. Add in some oil and eggs? No problem. Now it’s time to take the next step: 100% homemade. You can do this. We believe in you. Just let those eggs come to room temperature and everything will be okay. (via BHG)

2. How to Frost a Cake: The secret to perfect frosting is to apply a “crumb coat” and let it chill before slabbing on a second layer. This will keep all those pesky crumbs from getting mixed up in the frosting. (via Wiki How)

3. How to Serve a Layer Cake: The thought of slicing through a perfectly baked cake you just slaved over can be terrifying. Grab a knife, take a deep breath and follow Mr. Williams-Sonoma’s trusty advice. (via Williams-Sonoma)

4. How to Prep a Cake Pan: The cake is in the oven and it smells amazzzing. But then you try to pull it out… it’s stuck. Forehead slap. Next time make sure you either butter, flour, oil or cover your pan in parchment paper. (via Chattavore)

5. Salted vs. Unsalted Butter: Unsalted butter is usually called for so that you have complete control over the amount of salt in a recipe. If you’re in a pinch, either butter should work just fine. (via Dinner With Julie)

6. Types of Sugar: Are confectioners sugar and powdered sugar the same? What’s the difference between light and dark brown sugar? Break down the differences with these guidelines. (via My Baking Addiction)

7. Types of Flour: Even harder to decipher than all the different sugars are the various types of flour. Ditch the all-purpose stuff and step up your baking game by using a flour specifically tailored to your recipe. (via Life Made Sweet)

8. Types of Oil: Using oil is a common (vegan friendly) substitute for butter. There are two important factors to remember when using oil — smoke point and taste. Heating oil past its smoke point will decompose it, reduce its flavor and generate cancer-causing compounds. Yikes. (via Kitchen Daily)

9. Basic Supplies: Find all the deliciously sweet recipes you like, you can’t get started baking until you have the right tools. Find out what you really need to get started. (via J.E.S. Restaurant Equipment Blog)

10. Separating Eggs: There are a million different techniques to separating eggs. You can use your hands, a slotted spoon or transfer the yolk back and forth in a cracked shell. Our favorite egg separating hack uses the bulb of a turkey baster to magically suck the yolk up and away from the whites. (via Wonder How To)

11. How to Melt Chocolate: Chocolate-covered strawberries are the bee’s knees. Burnt chocolate-covered strawberries are definitely not. Check out these instructions to properly melt chocolate. (via Not Enough Cinnamon)

12. How to Proof Yeast: Yeast is a key ingredient in one of the essential food groups (bread). But let’s face it: The thought of using yeast can be kind of scary. Here is everything you need to know about the stuff. (via The Kitchn)

13. How to Make Pie Crust: Pie is the quintessential American dessert. Do your country proud with these tips for a buttery, golden crust. (via A Spicy Perspective)

14. How to Tell When Cookies, Brownies and Bars are Done: If we’re going to trust anyone to tell us when our cookies are perfectly baked, it’s going to be Pillsbury. (via Pillsbury, image via Brit + Co.)

15. Tips for Perfect Cookies: This blogger’s secret to perfectly chewy cookies is to melt the butter halfway in a preheated oven and then place it in the fridge until it reaches room temperature before creaming it with sugar. (via Pinch of Yum)

16. How to Knead Dough: The secret to kneading dough is flour and patience. The sticky process should take you about 10 to 15 minutes. Stop when your dough is smooth, supple and silky.  (via The Kitchn)

17. How to Make Custard: Custard is a versatile dessert perfect for beginners. It’s made out of egg yolks, milk and thickened by adding cornstarch or flour and heating it. Top tip: make sure you whisk as you pour, otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. No one wants that. (via Yelena Sweets)

18. How to Make Caramel: It’s sticky but it doesn’t have to be scary. Considering caramel tastes great with pretty much all baked goods, we think this a skill you’ll be glad to know. (via Yum Sugar)

19. How to Fold a Batter: Don’t even know what that means? Well read on, friend. Folding is a mixing technique that creates a light and airy batter. It might sound advanced, but really, it’s super simple. (via The Kitchn)

20. Brownie Basics: They’re a chocolatey, gooey mess and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Grab a glass of milk because you’re going to need something to complement those perfectly baked brownies of yours. (via Craftsy)

21. How to Make Muffins: Muffins are quick and relatively simple. The most important thing to remember is not to over mix. Combine dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls and mix them together only until just combined. (via BHG)

22. Cupcake Tips: If any dessert is really having a moment right now it’s the cupcake — yes, still. Unlike a sheet cake, cupcakes require a little more effort and individual attention, but boy, are they cute. (via Somewhat Simple)

23. How to Store Baking Products: You bought all the baking necessities. Now how are you supposed to store everything? Follow these tips to get the most out of your ingredients. (via How To Simplify, image via Shelterness)

24. Cookie Decorating: Okay so you’ve made a perfect cake, a fabulous batch of brownies and even mastered the cookie. It’s time to step it up and give royal icing a go. This decorating style is definitely labor intensive, but c’mon, you’re pretty much a professional now. (via Wedding Bee)

25. Baking Substitutions: Halfway through your recipe, you realize you don’t have a key ingredient. Now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to get creative — and maybe even healthy?! (via Your Cup of Cake)

Do you have any baking advice to share? We’re all ears! Do so below!!