When baking it's always important to follow exact measurements, otherwise your cake or biscuit will not turn out correctly. When people open the oven door to find their cake has flopped it's often because they have adjusted the quantities in some way - such as using a drinking cup instead of a measuring cup when measuring ingredients. The following tips will ensure success every time and make the baking process easier and more enjoyable for you.
Use two separate measuring cups, one for dry ingredients and one for wet ingredients. If you measure the honey after the rice bran oil, it will slide out easily.
When measuring flour or other dry ingredients, tap or gently bang the measuring cup on the bench so that all the air pockets in the ingredient are filled. If the recipe says three quarters of a cup then measure exactly to that line on the cup. One cup is 250ml.
For tablespoon or teaspoon measurements, always use measuring spoons and not your dinnerware spoons. In Australia, one teaspoon is 5ml and one tablespoon is 20ml or four teaspoons (some tablespoons overseas are 15ml or the equivalent of 3 teaspoons). Measure teaspoons and tablespoons flat, not heaped.
Always grease tins using some paper towel to spread the oil all over the base and sides of the tin. For cakes and friands, line the base with baking paper to make it easier to remove the cake later. Use one-third cup capacity, 12-hole muffin tins.
Allow cakes to cool for at least 20 minutes in the tin before removing and leaving to cool on a cake rack. If the recipe suggests leaving it in the tin to cool for longer, then follow the guidelines so that your cake doesn't crack in the centre. Always go around the edge of the cake with a blunt knife to loosen it from the tin before flipping it out. You can also flip the cake out onto one cake rack and then place another cake rack on top, then flip it over. Leave friands to cool completely before removing from the tin.
Place biscuits and muffins on a cake rack 10 minutes after removing from the oven.
If the recipe uses honey, always make sure it is dissolved in the wet ingredients before adding the dry ingredients.
When using vanilla bean seeds or orange rind, to avoid having a big clump in your mixture, use the back of a spoon to rub the ingredient against the side of the bowl until it begins to break up and dissolve.
When melting chocolate, pour some water in a saucepan and place the chocolate in either another saucepan or a heatproof bowl on top, making sure that the water in the saucepan below doesn't touch the bowl above.
Always check your cake with a skewer at the end of the set time to make sure that it is cooked inside. All ovens cook differently so it may need 5 minutes more than the time indicated in the recipe. The skewer doesn't always have to come out clean. It can have a little mixture on it as long as it looks and tastes cooked. If it's still runny then cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. If you don't have a fan-forced oven, bake at the temperature indicated in the recipe, but please note that biscuits and muffins may need up to 5 minutes longer and cakes up to 15 minutes longer than the cooking times indicated.