Tender and moist cakes are scrumptious and a delight to devour. Cakes with burnt, overcooked edges detract from a tender and moist interior. The first key to a successful cake is the careful preparation of the batter. The time before baking and after mixing is critical for preparing your cake pans for the batter. In addition to preparing cake pans, careful timing will help you achieve a moist and fluffy cake that is perfectly cooked, inside and out.
Prepare medium-weighted aluminum cake pans by greasing them. Spray cooking spray or pour 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil in each cake pan. Use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan.
Measure 1/4 cup of white flour for light colored cakes or 1/4 cup of cocoa powder for dark-colored or chocolate cakes in a sifter. Sift a light layer of flour or cocoa powder over your greased pans.
Reduce the heat in your oven by 25 degrees. This will help your cake to cook evenly and prevent a hard crust.
Pour the batter into the cake pans 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. This will allow the rising agents to puff the cake up properly as it bakes.
Bake the cakes immediately. Letting the batter sit in pans will keep the cake from rising properly. It can also cause uneven cooking. Put the batter in the oven and set your timer 3 to 5 minutes shorter than the required bake time in your recipe.
Check for doneness. When the timer goes off, open the oven, but do not remove the cakes. Carefully slide the oven rack out 1/3 of the way. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. Remove the cakes if the toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cook for more time if batter clings to the toothpick.
Place a a sheet of greased parchment paper at the bottom of your cake pan for an even cake top. Cut the parchment paper to fit inside the bottom of your pan.