Posts Tagged ‘baking tips’

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Getting rid of air bubbles in cake batter

You make the perfect cake batter. It tastes like pure heaven. You bake it and when you turn it out you find that it’s full of air holes and pockets. Find out today how to stop this from happening!

I was asked over the weekend “How do get your cakes to not have those funky hole-y type textures and holes all through out it?”. It was from that discussion that I found that they really didn’t understand some cake baking simple concepts – room temperature ingredients, creaming butters, sifting dry ingredients, prepping the cake pans to air pockets in the batters.  Stuff that, honestly, I tend to take for granted as I’ve been baking for decades that I just assumed people knew the basics. Shame on me. So today, let’s cover one of the basics – air bubbles in your batter.

The type of flour you use is important. When I make cakes most of the time I use cake flour as it doesn’t have as high of a protein count as AP flour. The higher the protein, the more gluten. Like you would never use bread or pizza flour to make a cake. Well you could if you wanted a chewy cake. But even if you use cake flour, if you over mix it you can cause gluten to form. Thus leading to holes in your cakes.

Just bang the pan!

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Difference between dark and light baking pans

You’re about to bake a cake and the instructions give 2 different times depending on the type of pan you use. Find out today the difference between light and dark baking pans.

At some point in all of our lives we’ve bought a boxed baking mix and somewhere in the directions it said “dark coated pans bake 25 minutes at 325 F and light coated pans bake 30 minutes at 350F” or similar. But do you know why this is the case? And do you know that there actually is a difference on when you should use each type?  Well today I’m sharing you the skinny on all of this stuff.

The differences:

Dark Pans – Pretty simple really, dark pans are made out of dark materials; think cast iron for example. Because they are dark they tend to absorb and retain the heat. But the downfall of these items is that they take longer to heat up.

Get your Pan 101 knowledge on!

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Tips about Apples

With Fall here, apples are abundant! Today I’m sharing with you some of my tips about what are the best types of apples for cooking, baking and saucing.

I can’t help it but every time I hear someone mention apples I don’t think about the company or the phone, nope. I think about “Good Will Hunting” and the line “How do you like them apples?”  Ya I know, I’m a dork but it’s such a great movie. Maybe it’s because I’m an uber math nerd or I like it when the underdog shuts up the pompous jerk.  Now you would think the first thing I, of all people, would think about when I hear the world apples would be: apple pie, apple strudel, apple cake, apple crumble, baked apples, stuffed apples or caramel apples. But sadly I don’t but it is a very close second.

Since here in Pittsburgh, apples are in season, knowing which apple to pick for which “application” is important. Do you want to make applesauce? What about a pie?  Baked goods?  Cakes?  Just like all chocolates are the same, not all apple varieties are the same. Each one will give you a different result dependent on how you use it. Some apples just won’t work right in say applesauce where as other apples will just turn to mush if you bake them.

The list below comes from information passed on through the years in my family, kitchen failures in my house (trust me, there’s been many) or tidbits I’ve picked up throughout the years.

Do you have a favorite type of apple?

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – How to tell when brownies are done!

Are you a fudgie brownie lover or do you prefer that cake-like texture?  On today’s Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer I’m giving the basics on how to tell when brownies are done!

So my house is a house divided… that is when it comes to brownies. I prefer a denser, cake-like brownie that is rich and firm with a deep chocolate flavor.  However Mr. Fantabulous, he’s all about that fudge texture.  He wants ’em fudgy, almost unbaked-like and soft.  Now don’t get me wrong I’m certainly not going to turn my nose up at ‘his’ however when I’m making brownies for me I prefer my style and let the frosting or ganache be the ‘gooey’ part versus the actual brownie itself.

Cake-like brownies contain less fat (butter or oil), have more eggs (or at least more yolks – this is what lends to its richness) and more flour.  This is what gives them their height and firmness. The texture has a tighter crumb as well.  Fudgy brownies get their consistency from more fat, less flour and less eggs.  The butter is melted instead of put in cold. They tend to also have a bit more chocolate in them.  Their texture is more gooey and soft. But what about Chewy brownies?  Yeah so to be honest I never understood this type of brownie.  It’s just …weird.  But if that’s what you’re into just add more eggs and use bread flour instead of ap flour.  The higher gluten in the bread flour will also give you that chewy texture.

While both types of brownies contain the same ingredients, the proportions vary greatly.
Which school of brownies do you follow – cake or fudgy?

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Use Cookie Dough for a Pie Crust!

Step up your pie game with cookie dough pie crusts!  Take your best cookie dough and transform it into a killer pie!  2 desserts in one!

Let’s face it, pie crusts rock but they can be scary to the first time pie baker.  It’s not that they are really hard to make as the ingredients are pretty basic – flour, butter, shortening, ice water (and maybe some sugar) but that’s it.  Where the issue I think lies for some people is that they either overwork the dough causing it to be tough OR rolling it out. It takes practice but definitely give it a try.  My Basic Sweet Flaky Pie Dough is no fail and super easy!

However today, with the holidays being chaotic and personally my house being in utter disarray from all of the construction, finding counter space to roll out a crust can be challenging. So today on Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer I’m giving you a “cheaters” way to get a great crust with no rolling required. Simply put, use cookie dough as a pie crust!


Yep, seriously cookie dough!  Plus think of it this way, if you use cookie dough AND you turn it into a pie you’re literally taking 2 great desserts and turning them into 1!  SWEET!  Now one thing to note, this is only for pies that are filled AFTER they are baked; i.e., Blind Baked shells

My fav – chocolate chip cookie dough crust with chocolate french silk cream filling!

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