7 Secrets to Making Stellar Cakes
NO EXPERIENCE required!
You CAN Do This.
And I’m Here to Help.
• exceptionally good; outstanding.
“Sheeeeeeesh, this cake is stellar.”
Wildflour Mama Exist to
Love people and make stellar cakes for the glory of God.
Who Am I?
I’m Sydney! The Mama behind Wildflour Mama! I’ll be your guide on this caking journey. I’ve been baking nearly my whole life, following generations of women in my family who have inspired me and taught me how to bake. Now, I’m a content creator and blogger on a mission to share my love of all things sweet.
How I got here
Like I said, I’ve been baking nearly my while life. As a hobby I would bake cakes, cupcakes, and the occasional macaron to share with friends and family. However, as I got older and became busier, I didn’t make much time for baking.
It wasn’t until I became a new mother in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic that I decided to pick of a whisk and rekindle my old love for cake and frosting. I had the time, and needed the creative outlet, so I decided I was not just going to bake for fun, but I was going be great at it. And in order to be great, I had a lot of research to do!
I also had a lot of trial and error to get to where I am today in my own caking journey. While I’m still hesitant to consider myself a “master,” I certainly have a helpful tip or two (or seven!) to share with you today to help you make truly stellar cakes.
My Best 7 Tips
Okay, now with that out of the way, I’m super excited to share the top 7 secrets I discovered on
my OWN path to making stellar cakes. Let’s start with #1
Secret #1: Use an oven thermometer
If you only take away one thing from my list, let it be this: Never trust an oven.
While I’m sure your oven is reliable, and has good intentions, she’s probably also lying to you. It may just be a little white lie, maybe just 15º up or down, but when it comes to baking temperatures we need the whole truth.
Having the true temperature of your oven is going to save you so much headache as you begin your caking journey. It’s the most inexpensive way to immediately improve your bakes.
With an oven thermometer we are significantly reducing one of the most common issues in baking, which is whether your recipe is over or under-baked. FYI, both are not great.
Next Step: Once you get your oven thermometer, play around with your oven temperatures to see what the true temperature is and make some notes!
Secret #2: Use room temperature ingredients
Have you ever been so relaxed, you’re just about to fall asleep, then suddenly you’re jolted to attention by a sudden noise? That’s what you’re doing to your cake when you add ice cold eggs your batter. Stop it!
Mixing cold ingredients into your cake will cause the batter to curdle and seize, leaving you with a dense, lumpy texture, and little rise. Room temperature ingredients will help you achieve that light and tender cake of your dreams.
In a time crunch? It may not take as long as you think for your ingredients to come to room temperature. Measure your milk and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. Let your cold eggs set in warm water for five minutes. Leave butter on the counter and it will be room temp in about 30 minutes!
Bonus Tip: Cut your butter into cubes to speed up the warming process!
Secret #3: Measure dry ingredients with a digital scale
I used to use measuring cups for dry ingredients, namely flour and sugar. However, after working through developing several cake recipes, I’ve found that measuring flour and sugar with a digital scale is not only the most accurate and consistent method, but it’s the fastest and the easiest too!
There is so much variation in the volume of flour, depending on how you scoop and measure it into your measuring cup. You will almost certainly have more or less than the recipe calls for, resulting in a cake that’s either too dry or too wet. It may also have a dense and gummy texture.
Measuring dry ingredients directly into a bowl and skipping the measuring cups also eliminates just a few more dishes from the clean-up!
Next Step: Check out the link at the bottom of the page to see my list of favorite baking tools! Digital scale included!
Secret #4: Use cake strips
I know there is an actual science behind cake strips, but it sure seems like magic.
Cake strips are the secret to avoiding a domed top and caramelization around the sides of the cake. This significantly reduces, if not eliminates, the need to level and trim your cake layers.
They are strips of cloth that you soak in water, then wrap around each cake pan before baking. You bake your cake wrapped with the strips and voila! Flat top with soft sides!
I believe it has to do with the humidity creating a more even bake throughout the pans, but I’ll let you do the research if you care to know how it works! I personally don’t care. It works, and that’s all I need to know.
Research: Google “cake with cake strips vs without” to see the difference for yourself!
Secret #5: Adjust your oven rack
This is so simple and costs $0. My favorite kind of tip!
Before popping your cakes in the oven (preferably before you preheat, but I never seem to remember that) adjust your oven rack to the bottom third of the oven, or just a little below halfway.
If your cake is too close to the top heating element, it may become overcooked on top before it finishes cooking throughout!
Set a Reminder: Leave a sticky note by the oven to help remember to adjust the oven rack bere preheating!
Secret #6: Grease your pans + line with parchment
You know that quote by Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” ??
That was me giving my cake pans a quick spray of cheap vegetable oil, adding the batter, baking, then *seething* when my cakes would never come out of the pan without sticking, crumbling, and breaking. I used to do this over and over and never questioned if there was a better way!
Spoiler alert- there is!!!
Here’s how to do it: Grease the bottom and sides of the pans thoroughly with vegetable oil or butter. Then, coat the entire inside of the pan with a sprinkling of flour. THEN, pace parchment in the bottom of the pan on top of all that before adding your cake batter.
It might seem like overkill, but trust me, few things are more upsetting than working on a cake, waiting for it, smelling it, then watching it fall apart before your eyes while you *try* to remove it from the pan… half of it still stuck to the pan…
Check it Out: The link at the bottom of the page will take you to my Amazon store where I have listed my favorite pre-cut parchment circles.
Secret #7: Stir your frosting
“How do you get your frosting so smooth?!”
I get this question a lot. The secret is simple! Stir!
When making buttercream frosting from scratch, you will have inevitably whipped tons of air bubbles into it. If left alone, those air bubbles will be totally visible on your final cake decoration.
The secret to getting smooth frosting is to pop all of those bubbles! Either stir your frosting by hand for several minutes by using a spatula to press the frosting against the edge of the bowl, or if you have a stand mixer you can let it run with your paddle attachment on the very lowest setting for several minutes.
FYI: This secret totally works with store bough frosting as well! Always stir your frosting!
You Can Do This
I am so excited for you. I hope you have so much fun with your next bake, and I hope these 7 Secrets to Making Stellar Cakes helps take your baking to the next level!
Ready to buy that oven thermometer? Digital food scale? Cake strips? Click below to shop my favorite baking tools!