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There's nothing better than a house that smells like cake. Wouldn't you agree? Baking is sort of magic - the slow process of stirring the batter, thekitchen becoming saturated with enticing whiffs of chocolate and cinnamon, watching the dough rise in the oven and finally feeling content with the gorgeous outcome. For bakers, baking is more than a means to an end, it's a way of life. You start off withbutter and eggs, and end up with a batch of heavenly brownies.

Oh MasterChef, you make it look too easy. Cream the butter, sift the flour and voila! A beautifully baked cake is ready. Well we've tried it, and it doesn't always work like that. Because when it comes to baking, you have to play by the rules. As Laiko Bahrs rightly puts it, “When cooking, go by your own taste. When baking, follow directions”.

From flaky pie crusts, fudgy brownies, and chewy cookies, we've rounded up essential tips every baker should adopt before firing up the oven. So toss the boxed cake mixes to the side and conquer your fear of home-made cakes, pies and more.

 

1. Follow The Recipe Verbatim
The calculated science behind baking is not always simple, especially when you're an amateur. So it's very important that you are familiar with the recipe before beginning the process. Read it two or three times to make sure everything is clear.


2. Preheat The Oven
Get into the habit of preheating the oven before you put anything in. Most recipes will remind you at the start, and with good reason. Also, don't mess with the oven temperature and cooking time mentioned.


3. Use Room Temperature Ingredients
Prior to beginning, pull out all of the ingredients that the recipe calls for and leave them on the counter. Many baking recipes start with creaming together butter and sugar, which becomes much easier with room temperature ingredients.


4. Sift Away!
Yes, it can be a pain. But sifting dry ingredients improves the overall texture, and even gets rid of lumps.


5. Add Eggs One by One
If you're using the creaming technique, add eggs one at a time and beat in between or else the mixture will become lumpy.


6. Butter and Flour Your Pans Unsparingly
Be generous while oiling or flouring your pans. Consider every nook and cranny of your pans that could get sticky otherwise.


7. Rotate Halfway Through
Every oven has a hot spot, so you must position the pan as close to the center of the oven as possible. Halfway through the process, turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure evenly baked goods. Don't open the oven door often as it can lower the temperature and alter the baking time.


8. Cool Down Completely
Do not unmold fresh-out-of-the-oven baked goods. Let them cool completely, allowing the steam to evaporate which makes it easier to handle.
Now that we have gone over the basics, let's turn up the heat in the oven because it's time to bake! How about some crumbly cookies for an afternoon treat? Or perhaps you're looking for the perfect dessert for a dinner party? Whatever the occasion, click through our delectable treats, from a classic chocolate cake recipe to mouth-watering muffins.


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