Baking Basics


When I started baking, there were so many things I didn't know....rather what I knew was not the right way to do it. Even today after baking so many desserts a lot many times, things do go wrong. However, initially everything used to go wrong ...sometimes I had over beaten a batter and sometimes I didn't beat it enough. I used to think that I had lined a pan correctly but I still had to hammer down my cake pans with my fists to get the cake out. 

My initial frustrating baking experiences used to drive me crazy. After almost everything that I baked, I ended up searching on the net about what went wrong and the right way to do it. I just wished that I could get one single source of solutions for all my baking problems. As soon as the idea of having my own website cropped up in my mind, I knew that I had to have this page.

Here, I've tried to share all that I know of baking processes in the best way that I could. I will keep updating this information as and when I come up with something new. Meanwhile, ENJOY!!!!

  • All Purpose Flour: It is commonly available and has a higher gluten content as compared to cake flour.   Recipes calling for all purpose flour result in the cakes having an open texture.
  • Cake flour: It has a low gluten content. Cakes made with this flour have a closed texture. You can easily substitute cake flour with all purpose flour, 225 gms cake flour = 200 gms all purpose flour + 25 gms cornflour.
  • Bread Flour: Bread Flour is sometimes also called as Strong or Very Strong white / wholemeal flour. A strong white / wholemeal bread flour has about  11 to 13% gluten content and very strong bread flour has anything above 13% gluten content.
Eggs come in four sizes, small, medium, large and very large. Use organic eggs as much as possible.

Butter is available as salted and unsalted. You can use either, depends on your taste. Skip the salt in a recipe if you are using salted butter.The weight of the butter mentioned in my recipes is that of Indian brands. My international friends may need to increase the butter by 15 to 20% since I've observed that butter available in India has a higher water content than the international brands.

  • Caster Sugar also known as superfine sugar is used in all my recipes. It blends and dissolves easily and faster in the batter.
  • Granulated Sugar is mostly used for making a crumble topping for cakes, cupcakes and muffins. It gives the topping a very crunchy texture. You can also use granulated sugar instead of caster sugar. If the crystals are large, process them in a grinder till they are smaller in size.
  • Icing Sugar is also known as powdered sugar. Most brands have 1 to 2% cornflour added to it.
  • Demerera Sugar has brown sugar crystals which are sometimes sticky. It is majorly used in making crumble topping for cakes, cupcakes and muffins.
  • Soft Light Brown Sugar and Dark Brown Sugar are white sugars that have been refined and tossed in molasses. These sugars make the baked goods moist and give them a cakey texture rather than a crunchy one.  DO NOT substitute these sugars with demerera  sugar.
  • Light Brown and Dark Brown Muscavado Sugars are raw cane sugars and unrefined. They are therefore less sweet than refined ones.
  • Vanilla Sugar is vanilla pods added to caster sugar.You can easily make Vanilla Sugar at home.

Vanilla Extract: Vanilla Essence is NOT SAME as Vanilla Extract. Vanilla essence is the artificially created essence whereas vanilla extract is derived from vanilla pods. You can very easily make your own Vanilla Extract.
Baking Powder is a raising agent. Use Double Action baking powder if possible for best results. It works in two stages, first when it comes in contact with the wet ingredients and second when it comes in contact with heat in the oven.

Baking Soda is also a raising agent. It needs an acid or liquid to work, so it most often used in citrus based or yogurt or buttermilk based batters.

Buttermilk should be used unsalted (which is difficult to get in India). If buttermilk is not available, use any of these options: (i) equal measurement of yogurt and milk. (ii) add one tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice or white wine vinegar to 1 cup (250 ml) milk. Mix and leave to stand for 10 to 15 mins.

Chocolate is available in 3 main varieties: white, milk and dark. White chocolate does not have any cocoa content. Milk chocolate has between 10 to 30% cocoa content. Commercial grade dark chocolates have cocoa content of more than 35%. However, if you want a true dark chocolate experience, use one with at least 70% cocoa content (I always use this). Use the best quality chocolate available. Some good options are Callebaut, Ghirardelli, Lindt and Varlhona.

Cream Cheese: Use Philadelphia cream cheese. Buy one that has been kept in the refrigerator and is the freshest.

Cakes and Cupcakes batter is majorly made either by the creaming method or in the food processor. Whichever method you use, ensure that all the ingredients are at room temperature unless stated otherwise.
  • Creaming Method usually starts with mixing butter and sugar on medium high - high speed to incorporate air. Eggs are then added one at a time and beaten well after each addition. Before the next step to add the flour, turn down your mixer to the lowest speed. If you add the flour with the mixer on high speed, the cake would turn out to be heavy textured. If the recipe calls for a liquid like milk, buttermilk, juice etc. you add it at this stage (unless specified otherwise). Usually, the liquid is added in two increments and the flour is added in three increments. That is,
          Flour ----> Liquid ----> Flour ----> Liquid ----> Flour
  • Food Processor method requires all the ingredients to be added at once except the liquid. Once all the ingredients are mixed, the liquid is then poured down the funnel to make the batter of a soft and flowing consistency. Do not over process the batter. Process only till all the batter is mixed and no lumps remain.
Muffins batter is the easiest to make. You just need two bowls, one with all the dry ingredients and the other with all the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix. The only thing to be careful is that you do not over mix the batter since it results in tough muffins. Just mix until the ingredients are blended and small lumps REMAIN.

Muffin or Cupcake pans: If you are planning to bake without a cupcake liner, I would recommend to use a good quality non stick muffin tray. Else, grease and flour the tray well. Reverse the tray and tap from bottom to remove any excess flour. However, if you are baking with a cupcake liner, there is no need to grease the tray.

Cake pans: A recipe would require either to only grease the pan, line(the base) and grease the pan or to line the entire pan.
  • To grease a cake pan, rub some soft butter on the base and the sides. You can also melt some butter and apply it with a pastry brush. Sprinkle some flour with your fingertips on the base and the sides. Keep rotating and tapping the pan at the same time so that the excess flour falls and covers the small ungreased areas of the pan.
  • To line(the base) and grease the pan, follow the above steps for the sides. Cut out a parchment of the size of the base. Apply a little butter on the base and place the parchment on it. (The butter helps the parchment to stick to the base of the pan) as shown below:
  • To line the the entire pan: 
             For a round cake pan, cut a round parchment the size of the base of the pan. Cut out another 
             long parchment strip that is one inch more than the length of the sides and height of the pan. Give
             small one inch cuts to the parchment strip after every few centimeters.
             Grease the pan a little with butter so that the parchment sticks to the pan. Now stick the parchment           
             strip to the sides of the pan in a way that the cut part sticks to the base and the rest to the sides.
             Now place the round parchment on the base. Your pan is ready.

             For a square or a rectangular cake pan, cut a square or a rectangle parchment the size of the base
             of the pan. The rest of the steps would be the same as above.

Bundt pans(even the non-stick ones) need to be thoroughly greased with melted butter using a pastry brush and floured as shown below:

  • Cakes and Cupcakes can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.The ones with frosting should ideally be kept in the refrigerator.
  • Muffins taste best when eaten fresh. Even after about 6 - 8 hrs storage at room temperature in airtight containers, they become somewhat hard. You can freeze the baked muffins though. Store them in zip lock bags or freezer proof containers. Before eating, either microwave them till they are warm or pop them in the oven at 180 degrees C for 5 - 10 mins.
  • Unbaked cookies can be frozen. Take them out before baking and bake them unthawed. The baking time would increase by a few minutes. Baked cookies keep well for about 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.


  1. If you're likely to make with no cupcake lining, I would suggest to utilize a top quality no stay muffin holder. Otherwise, oil as well as flour the actual holder nicely. Change the actual holder as well as faucet through base to get rid of any kind of extra flour. Nevertheless, if you're cooking having a cupcake lining, you don't have in order to oil the actual holder.

  2. I like baking, which is very interesting, I want to make this, but where can you get the paper? I mean the white one, I cann't see where to buy it


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