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5 Easy Tips to Improve Your Bakes

If you are new to baking or even if you’ve been baking for your whole life, you know that not all bakes are winners. Sometimes when you try a new recipe you just have an epic fail.

Whether it’s a new recipe you created, or a new one of your friends or favorite bloggers that you’re just baking for the first time, a failure can happen even if you have a great recipe. Sometimes you may just end up with a dud and scratch your head wondering what the hell happened? And that’s okay because baking fails are part of baking! But I do have some easy tips to improve your bakes every time you use them!

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Read Through Recipes Before Beginning

Always read through the recipe before beginning it. I know this man seem tedious or time consuming, but every good baker will read a recipe before beginning, even professionals. If you are baking something for the first time, read the recipe first. Make sure you have all the ingredients, the tools, and understand exactly what the recipe is instructing you to do.

If you don’t have all the ingredients, tools, or don’t understand, you are probably going to make poor decisions in the heat of the moment while you are sweating in your kitchen because the oven has already beeped and been preheated for 20 minutes as you’ve been trying to figure out what the hell to do. So, take a few moments, read it through, then begin. And if you read it through and that recipe isn’t for you – maybe you don’t have a certain ingredient or tool, then you actually saved yourself a bunch of time and you can bake something else!

kitchen with cookbook open and mixer and a pie on counter

Know When to Swap & When to Not

Knowing when you can make a swap is key for making delicious baked goods. Say you’re out of something a recipe calls for or you don’t particularly like one thing, but for some reason, you still want to make that recipe. Then knowing when and how to swap out ingredients is important! Use these simple tips for swapping ingredients.

First tip, if the recipe calls for a specific type of flour, don’t change it. Flour is a big deal in baked goods and it all has to do with protein content. Read my article 12 Best Flours to Bake With to get more info on all the flours. Use what the recipe creator calls for, because that is going to give you the best baked goods. Flour makes a big difference as far as texture goes, and texture is a lot of what makes up baked goods!

Now, if you don’t have cake flour, you can make your own with my Homemade Cake Flour recipe. And, same for Self Rising Flour. But, other than that, stick to the recipe!

For things like chocolate, dried fruits, or nuts – you can swap any type for any other flavor and it won’t mess with the recipe. If a recipe calls for dark chocolate and you want milk – go for it! If a recipe calls for dried blueberries, but you only have cranberries, do it with cranberries! And if a recipe calls for peanuts, but you are allergic, by all means, use almonds.

But never swap fresh fruit when it calls for dried or freeze dried. Never swap solid chocolate if it calls for melted chocolate. And never swap actual nuts if it calls for nut butter! But peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter are free game to change up however you want.

It’s fun making a recipe unique to your likes, but to avoid failures, know when to swap and when to not. Keep it simple, keep the integrity of the recipe there, but you can make simple adjustments to fit your cravings or what you have in your pantry!

frosted pecan pumpkin spice cookies

Use a Scale

Using a scale is always my top trick for improving your baking. If you are using a recipe that has weight measurements (all of mine do!) then use a scale! This is a fool proof way to get perfect bakes every single time. A scale is so much more accurate than the old cup system that everyone seems to know and love (for some odd reason!).

But a scale really allows you to check measuring properly off your list, and you can focus on actually baking the damn cake. Take your bakes to the next level, get a scale and use it! I bet you’ll see an improvement in the way your baked goods taste. Plus, it’s so much easier to use one bowl and a scale than multiple measuring cups.

scale with a bowl of chocolate chips on it

Use an Oven Thermometer

An oven thermometer is really important, because if your oven is off, your baked goods will also be off! An oven thermometer is a simple tool you can buy for around $10, so it’s a no brainer for your kitchen! I leave my oven thermometer in all the time and glance at it when my oven beeps that it’s preheated.

You can pop it in now and again to double check your oven is heating properly, or you can leave it in all the time. Either way, it’s a great tool to have that will only improve your baking!

kitchen oven with pie on it

Properly Store Baked Goods

Now that you’ve done all the work to bake delicious cookies, cakes, or brownies, storing your baked goods is a big deal. If you don’t store them properly, you could lose out on multiple cookies or slices of cake, just do to poor storage choices. And when you take the time to bake something amazing, you should eat every last bit of it! There are a couple main rules to remember when it comes to storing baked goods properly.

If a baked good is soft, chewy, or cakey it needs to be stored in an airtight container. Think soft and chewy cookies, brownies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, coffee cakes – all of these things need to be stored in an airtight container or they will dry out. An airtight container can be a cake dome, Tupperware, or zip bag.

If a baked good is crispy or buttery, then it needs to be left out at room temperature. Think biscotti, butter cookies, shortbreads – all of these cookies should be crispy. So, if you put them in an airtight container, they will get soggy and lose their luster. So, storing them in a platter on the counter is going to be your best bet.

If a baked good has a perishable item in it (such as milk, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, whipped cream) then it needs to be stored in the fridge. Think cheesecake, cream cheese frosting, whipped cream frosting, custard, pudding, etc. All of these baked goods need to be stored in the fridge, so they don’t make anyone sick.

eggless mini chocolate chip banana bread

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