Jo Richardson suggests the following tips for the perfect cake.
1. Ensure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Always preheat the oven, arrange the shelves and prepare the baking pan.
2. Baking is an exact science, so make sure you measure all your ingredients carefully, using a knife to level off cups and spoons of ingredients.
3. Beat the butter and sugar together using the flat beater in your KitchenAid Stand Mixer until it is light and fluffy – at least 5 minutes. This will ensure plenty of air is trapped in the mixture, which will then expand as it bakes.
4. Break eggs into a small container before adding to the mixture. That way if you accidentally drop some shell it is easy to remove.
5. Don’t overfill the cake pan – around halfway is generally ideal.
6. Place the cake pan in the centre of the oven for even cooking.
7. Don’t’ be tempted to peek in the oven while the cake is cooking, changes in temperature can cause it to sink in the centre.
8. If you are making a layer cake, turn the cake upside-down, so the base becomes the top. This helps create even layers.
9. Wait until cakes are completely cooled before icing. You can spread a thin layer of icing over the cake to ‘set’ any crumbs and then refrigerate for half an hour before continuing with the icing.
10. Use a palette knife to smooth the top and edges of the icing. A bench scraper will give you an even smoother finish.