San Diego has many fabulous bakeries that sell a large variety of wonderful baked goods like cookies, cakes, and chocolate treats. However, if you don’t want to visit a bakery, you can make your own tasty baked goods in the comfort of your own home. If you’ve never baked before, this post is for you. We’ll go over six tips that both new and veteran bakers can use to take their desserts to the next level.

Tip One: Take Your Time, and Complete Each Step

At one point or another you’ll think to yourself, “Everything is going to end up mixed together anyway, I’ll just add them all in one bowl at the same time.” If you’ve done this, you were most likely in for an unpleasant surprise. It is very important that you follow the directions completely, and in order.

For example, creaming the butter and sugar together should be done first, before you add the eggs. You do this because the butter holds air, and this expands while you mix it. When you add the sugar and cream them together, the sharp sugar crystals cut through the butter and create air pockets. Without these air pockets, you’ll get a dense, heavy end product.

Tip Two: Purchase Quality Baking Pans

It is possible to bake in an older over successfully. However, the quality of your pans will make a huge difference in your finished product. If your baking pans are made with flimsy or thin materials, they won’t distribute heat evenly and this will cause your cookies, cakes, and pies to bake inefficiently. It is also good to note that nonstick baking pans can flake and chip off over time and end up in your baked goods, so it is best to avoid using them altogether if you can help it.

Tip Three: Use Room Temperature Ingredients

Almost all of your baking recipes will call for room temperature or soft butter and room temperature eggs or milk. If you’ve ever tried to mix hard butter, you have a good idea as to why this is a hassle you want to avoid. While you can quickly soften butter in the microwave, you have to be extremely careful. If you melt or soften your butter too much the air bubbles will collapse and you’ll end up with dense, hard cookies or cakes. It’s best to take your butter out to slowly warm to room temperature a few hours before you begin your project.

Tip Four: Rotate Your Pans Halfway Through the Baking Time

Many ovens cook unevenly, and you want to give your baked goods the same temperatures on both sides. You can accomplish this by rotating your pans halfway through the baking process. This way, if the front of your oven is warmer than the back, each half of your cookies or cakes will get the same heat treatment. If you don’t rotate your pans, you’re risking burning your treats in one spot and having undercooked portions as well.

Tip Five: Generously Butter and Flour Your Pans

If you’ve ever had your cakes or chocolate treats stick to the pan, you know how frustrating this can be. Before you add your batter, apply a generous amount of very soft butter to the pan, making sure you get in all of the small seams and corners. Once this is done, apply a liberal amount of flour. You want enough to coat the pan, and be careful not to leave any fingerprints as this is a place for your batter to stick.

Tip Six: Unless the Directions Say So, Don’t Adjust the Oven Temperature

If you’re short on time, you may be tempted to adjust your oven to a higher temperature in order to bake your cookies or cakes faster. Unless the directions explicitly say to do this, we suggest avoiding it. A temperature increase can cause your cakes to lose their moisture consistency, and you’ll end up with a dry cake. Additionally, it’s much easier to burn your items when you turn the temperature up to hurry the baking process along.

When it comes to baking, whether it’s cookies, cakes, chocolate treats, or pies, adhering to the directions is very important. These tips are designed to help you during your baking process, so you get the results you’re after, and maybe even end up with a finished product that’s worthy of a San Diego bakery.