Baking may be difficult if you haven’t already discovered. What’s tricky is that, when you read a recipe (and you should totally read a recipe before you get in the kitchen) it’s hard to know which steps are super important, and which steps you can flub a bit.
Here’s how most of my recipes start:
“Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the middle or higher third of the oven.”
Yes… I’m bossy enough to tell you exactly where to place the rack in your own oven. Isn’t that brave? Such much nerve. The bossy has a purpose in our crazy baking success.
First let’s talk about ovens. As you can see, the heat-force varies in various regions of the oven hot-box. Most ovens contain two heating elements, one at the bottom and one at the top. When we turn the oven on to preheat, usually both heating elements activate to heat the oven. Once the oven has come to our desired temperature, the bottom heat source is what occasionally kicks in to maintain the temperature of the oven.
Since hot air rises, the top of the oven is continually hotter, while the bottom heats in bursts to maintain the total temperature.
The bottom oven rack is ideal for bread crusts and pizzas. … baked items that need a deep browning on the bottom.
The top oven rack is ideal for items that need a crispy brown top. … things like pies and casseroles.
The happy location is the middle oven rack, where air circulates, heat sources are properly distributed, and tops and bottoms aren’t in risk of burning or browning too soon. It’s the ideal spot to stay and create cakes, cookies, and brownies.
If you have a busy oven and are baking more than one pan at a time, be sure to rotate the baked products between racks. For example, if you have two sheet pans of cookies baking at the same time, halfway through baking, switch the bottom pan to the middle and the center pan to the bottom. The same is true for cake layers, but be cautious not to move the cake about in the oven before it has set… it may collapse.
The point is, just because you start on one rack doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it! Rotating baked products around the oven will help them bake evenly. Consider what you want from your baked goods and then go for it.
For pies, you want a burst of heat to set the pie crust to flakey, time in the oven to set the filling, and some quality time at the top of the oven to brown the crust. For this reason, we can start a pie on the bottom rack to brown the bottom crust, move it to the center rack for a majority of the baking time, and finish the oven on the top rack to brown the crust. See? That’s a good bake.
Pizza should have a crisp crust and a browned, bubbling top. Now that you know where the heat lives in the oven, start by baking pizza in a hot hot oven on the bottom rack and once it’s cooked through, move it to the top rack to brown the cheese (maybe even kick in the broiler if you’re feelin’ it!).
With a little bit of oven knowledge, knowing where heat comes from and how it lives, the power is yours. While placement is important, you are not limited to one oven rack.
Should I put cake in the fridge or out?
Cover and refrigerate any cake that will not be served for several days. Lastly, if your cake includes a fresh fruit filling or topping, or has a frosting made with whipped cream or mascarpone, cover and refrigerate it until you are ready to serve, and refrigerate any leftovers as well.
Is it best to let a cake cool in the pan?
What exactly is this? You should still allow the cake to cool in the pan after it has been taken from the oven so that it may be easily removed from the pan. Next, carefully cover it in plastic wrap and lay it in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to chill. Covering the cake is vital since the freezer will rapidly dry out your cake if it is left exposed.
Which oven rack should you bake a cake on?
center oven rack
Cakes and other sweets may be baked on the middle oven rack. However, to achieve the flaky and crispy underside of a pie, positioning the racks lower in your oven can help avoid an undercooked crust.
Do you put a cake from box in fridge?
Cake may be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, lightly covered. Both frosted and unfrosted cakes will keep up to 5 days in the fridge if they’re tightly covered. Refrigerate all cakes with custard or whipped cream filling or topping. Frosted and unfrosted cakes can be frozen for up to 2 months.