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Helpful Tips in Avoiding Common Holiday Baking Mistakes

Baking MistakesThere's no busier time in the kitchen during the Holidays when we whip up all sorts of baked goodies to give as gifts or serve during get-together's. Unfortunately, not all of us are experts in the kitchen and can commit blunders that can ruin a promising spread of delectable desserts. Don't fret. Here are some common baking mistakes, along with some tips on how to prevent or fix them.

Burned Cookie Bottoms
This can be caused by a variety of factors including faulty oven temperature, using low quality baking sheets or baking beyond the required baking time. To prevent this, make sure that your oven is properly calibrated before baking and keep a timer handy. Also invest in good quality baking sheets.

Another great tip is to bake in the middle of the oven as the bottom rack is too near the oven's heating element. If you already burned the bottoms of your cookies, salvage them by turning them into sandwich cookies! Spread frosting, ice cream or whipped cream, between two slightly burned cookies. The moist filling will soften the bottoms.

Overflowing Cake Batter
Apart from the waste, this baking blunder also creates a nasty mess in your oven! This is usually caused by filling tins or pans with too much care batter. Prevent cake batter from overflowing by allowing space for the batter to rise. A safe rule of thumb is to fill only about two-thirds or three-quarters of the way up. Also place a baking sheet under your pan to catch any overflow and save you time from cleanup. In case your cake does overflow, continue baking and just use a knife to even out the top. Cover the cake in frosting to hide any imperfections.

Burned Pie Crust
Upper pie crust is too brown already and the pie still has a long way to go. This is a common complaint among neophyte pie bakers. Prevent by using a pie crust shield or create one using some aluminum foil. To fix burned upper pie crust, trim off the browned parts and pipe out some whipped cream along the egdes.

Cracked Cake Top
Cracked cake tops are usually caused by too high oven temperature or cake batter that was too dry. Make sure to follow recipes to the dot and have your oven calibrated before baking to ensure that it provides the right temperature. To fix a cracked or dried out cake, pour some glaze and let the cake absorb it. Then decorate the cake with frosting or whipped cream to cover cracks and imperfections.

Broken Cake or Cookies
If your cake turned out to be too dry and crumbly and your cookies too brittle, don't throw them away just yet. You can use the cake as base for trifle or Tiramisu. Cookies that are too brittle can be crumbled and used as topping for ice cream.

Frosting That is Too Runny
You added a tad too much liquid in your frosting and it turned runny. Thicken it by adding extra confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder for chocolate frosting. You may also refrigerate the frosting for awhile until it firms up.

Hard as Rock Cake
Prevent your cake from ending up as hard as a rock by not over-mixing your batter. The key to a fluffy and light cake is by properly creaming your butter and sugar, and then mixing in the other ingredients very gently until just combined. Hard cakes can be fixed by letting them soak in syrup or glaze.

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