Baking Basics

12 August, 2010

Picking your Pans

Always use the pan size stated in the recipe. To ensure you have the correct pan always measure the base of the pan, not the top. Always check the pan measurements as often manufacturers print the wrong size on the base.

Lining Cake Pans

Good cooks will always use non-stick baking paper to line baking pans, even non-stick varieties, to prevent sticking. Before lining grease pan with either oil, melted butter or cooking spray to help paper stick.

Ingredients Cinnamon Tea Cake Lamington Cupcakes


Trace around the base of the pan onto baking paper. Cut out and reserve. Tear a sheet of baking paper enough to cover half the circumference of the pan. Fold in half horizontally and cut to form two long strips. Fold each strip in half horizontally. Make a 2cm-wide fold right along length of each strip, then, about every 2cm, cut diagonal slits up to the crease of fold, creating a small fringe. Line the side of the pan with the two fringe strips and top with the reserved round to cover the base.

Square Pan

Use the same method as above.

Loaf Pan

Use one piece of baking paper and trim to fit the base and long sides of the pan and place crosswise in loaf pan.

Muffin Pans

Use muffin or patty cases. Alternatively cut 2 x 2cm thick strips and overlap to form a cross intersecting at the base.


All cake pans are best washed in hot soapy water with a soft sponge or brush. Soak to remove cooked on product. Rinse well and dry thoroughly by placing in the oven at 100°C.

Preheat your oven:

  • Always preheat your oven before baking.
  • Position the oven shelf in the centre of the oven for even cooking.
  • Several items can be baked at once in the oven, either on the same or on different racks.
  • Ensure that the tins do not touch each other, the oven wall, door or floor, to allow for even circulation of the heat.

Testing of cooked cakes

To determine if a cake or muffin is cooked, carefully insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and it will come out clean or until the top springs back when lightly touched. If using the skewer do not insert into cracked surfaces on the cake as this will give you an inaccurate reading.


When baking, have the ingredients at room temperature, especially the butter and eggs. Melted (unless asked for), extremely soft butter or margarine can alter the end baked results.