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Recipe: Mixes vs. Scratch

Something struck me the other day and it was this: Is it possible that this generation has only learned how to mix and bake cakes using mixes?

Several weeks ago I had someone try my Millie's Yellow Cake recipe. She said it tasted really good, but that it fell. Well, that happens sometimes when you bake a cake, so I didn't think much of it. Then I had a little time this weekend, very very little, to think. And it occurred to me that the mix vs. scratch thing could be the problem. So I started asking around: "When you bake cakes, do you bake from scratch or do you use a mix?" Every single woman told me she used mixes.

So, here are some basic about making a cake from scratch.

When baking from scratch always be sure to use quality, fresh ingredients, such as: baking powder or baking soda, both need to not be out of date. that will make a difference as to whether your cake will rise or not.

Always preheat your oven to the correct temperature and be certain to place the cake pans directly in the center of the rack.

The flour you use can make a difference. If you sift it into your mixing bowl, rather than just dumping it, you cake will be a little more airy and fine. It is also best to use cake flour which is milled from soft wheat with lower levels of protein and gluten.

Follow the recipe carefully, measuring everything as written down. Know that the creator of the recipe has already gone through every aspect of it and figured out exactly how much of what should be used. The ONLY time you should adapt a recipe, is if you already know how to adjust it accordingly for your adaptations. This skill only comes with time, experience and failure. But generally, fantastic recipes come through this trial and error part.

Your altitude will make a difference in baking cakes successfully. Highaltitudebaking.com has a fantastic adjustment chart for the specific adjustments which are necessary for a successful recipes.

And one final tip: tread carefully while your cake is baking. If kids run through the kitchen, the cake will fall. If you bump the oven, the cake will fall. If you are slamming cupboards, the cake will fall. Basically, stay out of the kitchen once you put the cake in the oven.

Cake mixes, somehow, simply don't fall as easily. But those cakes which are baked from scratch can do so in the blink of an eye.

So good luck and have fun!

Happy eating.

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Recipe: Mixes vs. Scratch Recipe: Mixes vs. Scratch Reviewed by Candace Salima on Sunday, November 23, 2008 Rating: 5