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Preparation of cake tins

Cake tins are made from many types of material such as stainless steel, aluminium, silicon, non-stick surfaces, etc. They should be lined with lightly greased, greaseproof paper. If you are unsure of the non-stick properties of a cake tin it should also be lined. This is achieved by:

  • Cutting a greaseproof paper cartouche 2 cm wider than the cake tin.

  • Cutting a collar 2cm longer than the circumference and 2 cm higher than the cake tin.

  • Lightly grease both the cartouche and collar.

  • Place the cartouche in the cake tin first and neatly crease the extra 2cm up the sides.

  • Place the collar neatly around the inside of the cake tin, the 2cm sides of the cartouche should be outside the collar, to allow a neat finish to the finished cake.

  • Many chefs will lightly grease both sides of the cartouche and collar so they cling neatly to the cake tin.

Testing for a cooked cake

Insert a slender bladed knife into the thickest part of the cake (normally the centre) and remove. The blade should come out clean. If it comes out with the batter clinging to it, the cake requires further cooking. You can also use a skewere or a cocktail stick in the same way.

Turning a cake out

Once cooked remove the greaseproof paper.

Ever fancied a cooking holiday? Ever fancied learning
to make bread -

Common faults when cake baking

The oven door is opened too soon

The sudden rush of cold air into a warm/hot oven will result in the cake collapsing and coming out flat. The oven door should not be opened until three-quarters the way through allowed cooking time. Thus controlling its browning process is essential. This can be achieved by:

  • knowing the oven’s hot and cold spots
  • placing the cake tin on the middle shelf with a tray on the top shelf to deflect the falling heat particles
  • lightly covering the cake tin with tin foil before it is placed in the oven and removing later to brown if required

Cake over browned

Controlling its browning process is essential, this can be achieved by:

  • knowing the oven’s hot and cold spots
  • placing the cake tin on the middle shelf with a tray on the top shelf to deflect the falling
  • heat particles
  • lightly covering the cake tin with tin foil

The oven door being slammed shut

This sudden and violent action will shock the cake mixture, knock out or deflate all the trapped air bubbles and will result in the cake collapsing and coming out flat
Incorrectly weighed ingredients
Unlike many areas of the kitchen, cake making is more of an exact science, in most cases a slight variance in measurements can make all the difference.
Incorrect flour used
Cake making requires a ‘soft’ or high ratio flour. It must be one that is low in gluten content. A medium to high gluten flour will result in a heavy textured, non-risen cake.
Flour not sufficiently sieved
To increase the air in the mixture and to ensure what gluten content is there, the flour should be well sieved (2-3 times) and from a reasonable height from sieve to bowl.
Fruits sinking
Cakes with dried fruits or nuts added to them, will often turn out to have most of the dried fruits or nuts sunk to the bottom. This can be remedied by lightly tossing/coating them in flour before incorporating them into the mixture. This forms a kind of chemical bond with the batter and prevents them sinking.

If you need more information about the different flours read Common flours and flour types.

Problems that can occur when making sponge cakes

Close texture  :  eggs and sugar overheated
   :  eggs and sugar under beaten
   :  too much flour
   :  flour not folded in
   :  oven too hot
Sunken  :  too much sugar
   :  oven too hot
   :  tin removed during cooking
Heavy  :  butter too hot
   :  butter not mixed in well
   :  flour over mixed


Food and Cooking Tips
from professional
Chef Tallyrand


Born and raised in Plymouth, Tallyrand started his initial training as a chef at Plymouth College of Further Education. It was here that he was to learn his love, his passion for food and the culinary arts. From here he headed to Germany to complete his apprenticeship as Commis de Gardemanger.

Germany gave him his first taste of cooking for the rich and famous, as half way through his first year, along with the Sous Chef and a Chef de Partie, he was whisked off to Cologne to help prepare meals for a political conference, where amongst other dignitaries they cooked for Mr Brehznev, the then powerful Russian leader. This was to prove to be just one of the many celebrities he was to cook for or get to know over the years . . .

If you would like to find out more why not visit Tallyrand's own web site (link in main menu)

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