Baking the perfect cake involves following your recipe closely and using the correct ratio of wet to dry ingredients. Few things are worse than spending hours working on a cake only to have the finished dessert turn out dry and crumbly. The odd texture of the cake is typically caused by using the wrong ratio of ingredients, but the way you mix the ingredients may also cause a problem.
Cake recipes typically involve mixing the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and incorporating the wet ingredients into the dry ones. When you add a high level of flour to the cake recipe, the finished product is crumbly and dry. To add the dry ingredients, spoon the mixture into a measuring cup. Run a plastic or metal spatula across the top of the measuring cup, wiping off any excess flour. Add only as much flour as the recipe calls for and no more. Adding too much sugar to the cake will also create a crumbly texture.
Butter, margarine, oil or shortening acts as the binder for your cake, but also gives the cake its moist and delicate texture. When you do not add enough liquid to the recipe, the cake turns out crumbly or dry. Use a liquid measuring cup for the cake and avoid using dry measuring cups, as it is harder to measure properly. Double check the amount of liquid called for in the recipe and read the measuring cup carefully, ensuring that you add enough liquid.
When mixing cake batter, you must incorporate all of the ingredients. A cake that is not mixed properly will have a crumbly texture. Scrape the bowl with a spatula, pushing any ingredients that cling to the sides back into the cake batter. Run the spatula across the bottom of the bowl, pulling up any flour or other ingredients trapped underneath the batter. Only beat the batter until the ingredients are combined, as over mixing also causes dryness.
Baking the Cake
Use the right size pan for your cake recipe. The batter should reach halfway up the sides of the pan or slightly higher. If the batter spreads out across the bottom of the pan without filling the pan carefully, then the cake will bake too fast in the oven and dry out. Baking the cake too long or baking the cake at a higher temperature than the one recommended also causes a crumbly or dry cake.
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