1. New season, new ingredients. This is a great time to check the expiration dates for your baking supplies and get rid of anything that has expired.
2. Preparation is key. Read the recipe and make sure you have all the ingredients needed. And always measure carefully!
3. Understand the language. Sliced, diced, chopped, broken, beaten — each word means something slightly different, so make sure you’re familiar with all of the terms in a recipe.
4. Use room-temperature ingredients. They’re easier to work with, plus cold ingredients can result in lumpy batter.
5. Always whisk eggs first. It helps the eggs/yolks emulsify so they blend better into the batter.
6. Start with dry ingredients and then add the liquid. And don’t forget to sift your dry ingredients to avoid lumps.
7. Preheat the oven. It sounds obvious, but a standard oven takes approximately 15 minutes to preheat to 350 degrees.
8. Know your baking pans. Cakes baked in glass versus metal bake differently. If using glass, lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees.
9. Cool cakes and cupcakes differently. Let full cakes cool in pans on wire racks for 20 minutes before removing from pans. But remove cupcakes from pan immediately, placing individual cupcakes on wire rack to cool.
10. Frost cakes when completely cool. Even the slightest warmth from a cake can quickly turn your frosting or icing into a mess.