5 Baking Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

filed under: Bread on December 2, 2017

It’s baking season! Which means everyone is in the kitchen baking up glorious treats for friends and family to enjoy. But we all want it to be the best it can be, right? So I put together 5 Baking Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make! Hopefully, this will help your baking experiences as much as it has mine. But wait! Are you looking for the perfect NO-FAIL cutout sugar cookie recipe? Try mine! (No refrigeration necessary!)

They are simple, but important!

The Temperature of Ingredients is Wrong

Pay attention when a recipe calls for “warm”, “cold”, “room temperature”, etc. In cookies and cakes, the temperature of the ingredients is important! You can quickly get eggs to room temperature by placing in warm water for a few minutes. Or butter can be microwaved for 10-20 seconds. Or cream cheese can be submerged (as long as it is still in the package) in hot water.

Don’t sub out ingredients until you have made the recipe “as is” first. Part of the beauty of baking at home is putting your own personal touch on things, but that is best achieved after you know what you are working with.

They are simple, but important!

Pro Tip: Take notes as you bake! I have a pen and paper in my kitchen ready for anytime I make adjustments. I also keep a binder in the kitchen for recipes I have printed and often make notes right on the recipes.

They are simple, but important!

Mixing Incorrectly 

We’ve all heard about making sure we don’t over mix a batter (and it is very important that you don’t!). But another factor to consider is how it is supposed to be mixed. Does the recipe specify a stand mixer? Or handheld mixer? Or even mixing by hand? This is important because the technique can affect the texture of the final product.

You may have noticed that sometimes recipes that have oil as a fat are easily incorporated by hand mixing. Where cakes that are butter based need the power and speed of a handheld or stand mixer to incorporate air.

If your recipe calls for specific methods of mixing, it’s wise to follow.

They are simple, but important!

Improper Tools

A lot of times in baking the tools are not specified. For instance, sheet pans. But what pan you bake on can mean the difference between a burnt cookie and a perfectly done cookie. It’s a good idea to always use light in color pans for baking cookies. When you use the dark pans they can heat too quickly and cause your cookies to burn on the bottom.

If you happen to only have dark pans, silpat is recommended. You can also drop your baking temperature by 25˚ (If a recipe calls for 350˚ bake at 325˚)  for the same amount of recommended baking time. This will mean you need to pay extra attention to the cookies and make sure they are fully baked before removing. (Test your oven before a big baking project to determine how it performs best. Every oven is different!!)

PRO TIP: When baking cookies make sure you chill the pans between use. Easy ways to do that are run it under cold water or pop it in the freezer before reusing.

What if your recipe calls for a tool you don’t have? For instance, what if a recipe suggests that you spread out frosting with an offset spatula? (An offset spatula is one of those kitchen tools that you can use in many situations and is a great asset to any kitchen!!) In a pinch, you can use a butter knife, just try to use one that is smooth on both sides. But it’s a great idea to read the entire recipe first and make sure you have all the recommended tools.

Parchment paper vs. wax paper. I do not ever use wax paper to bake with, although some bakers swear by it. Technically it is not heat resistant and can burn. If a recipe calls for parchment you can do one of three things: use parchment, use nothing (but do spray your pans with baking spray), or use a silicone mat (silpat).

Making Recipe Substitutions

Sometimes there are substitutions that you can make that won’t harm the recipe. For instance, you could use 1 teaspoon vanilla instead of 2 teaspoons. Or you can use organic all-purpose flour in place of regular all-purpose flour. But for the most part, substitutions should not be attempted until you have made the recipe as is at least once.

They are simple, but important!

If a recipe calls for ‘unsalted butter’ that usually means there is salt added elsewhere in the recipe. If you were to use ‘salted butter’ it could change the flavor considerably.

If a recipe calls for ‘quick oats’ or ‘old-fashioned oats’, you will want to make sure you sure you use what is specified. A quick oat can get mushier faster and make a less appealing (texture wise) oatmeal cookie.

One question that comes up often for cookie recipe is “Can I double It“?

My answer is, yes. The only ingredients that can make a difference when double recipes are baking soda and baking powder (leavening) but in a cookie recipe, this is typically not a problem. I usually do not double a cake recipe, I make it in batches. (Although some recipes work beautifully when doubled, like the WASC.)

They are simple, but important!

Expecting Perfection

I love the saying, “expect progress, not perfection”. There are always going to be factors and variables that make your kitchen and equipment different than that of the recipe creator. When you know that going in, you are more equipped to handle any problems that may come up. If the recipe calls for 8 minutes of baking time, but after 8 minutes your cookies are burnt, you may need to bake for less time for the next batch.

Most baking bloggers and recipe websites have skilled photographers capturing their baking creations. This appeals to us all (we definitely want to see food at it’s best!) but can sometimes mean visual disappointment when we recreate the recipe and it’s not as Instagram worthy. (Sometimes a good filter does wonders! 😂)

But the best part of baking? Even if a cookie or bake is not the most beautiful, it is still going to be delicious!!

Olivia getting her birthday cake!

My best advice in the kitchen? Have FUN! Not only can the baking itself be a wonderful time of making memories, but you get to share the things you bake! There is no greater delight than seeing someone’s face as you give them freshly baked cookies. Or a child’s delight in a homemade birthday cake!

Looking for amazing recipes to try? Christmas Cookies is a great round up of recipes for you to enjoy!

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  • Donna Block says:

    I love ur tips and recipes. I only recently started to enjoy baking and most of the time it looks like a 4 yr old did it. Im 52 hahaha. Thank u so much for sharing with me

  • Cindy says:

    Was just wondering do you have a cookbook that I can buy?

    • Jamie J says:

      Surprise Inside Cakes! It’s linked down below the comment section.

  • Ana says:

    Thank you. So far, there are at least 10 of your recipes that I am prepared to follow…just can’t decide which one first.

  • Shari says:

    I love your page! I’ve saved many of the recipes. I love your chocolate buttercream. Can you post a regular buttercream that isn’t sickeningly sweet? Thank you so much for all you do!

  • Billie Fell says:

    I used to work at a place that served once a week muffins with White chocolate chips… I’ve tried several different ways and the chips always drop to the bottom and they always end up in the trash. Do you have a recipe or can you tell me a way to keep the chips from falling to the bottom of the muffin?

  • Judy says:

    For all the recipes that need to be baked, how do I adjust them for high altitude?

  • Linda says:

    Sometimes when l bake a wet bottom shoe fly pie, it sinks in the middle and l don’t know why. I use the same ingredients and bake at the same temp and it flops. I don’t get it. I mix the wet in one bowl, the dry in another with the shortening, pour the wet into the shell, add the crumbs bake at 375 for 15 min then 350 till done. It really aggregates me when it flops. It’s mr husbands fave

  • Susan Mann says:

    Love everything

  • Denise says:

    Thank you for all your help. I enjoy looking at all your work. Keep it coming. Denise

  • Lucy says:

    Thank you

  • Mensimah says:

    Thank you so.much for the great tips. I have learnt so much.I follow you and I have started baking and making money put of it to support myself in school.God bless you.

  • Leslie M says:

    Thanks for advices and tips. I follow and try a few of your recipes as and when I want to bake. I understand that one needs to adhere to the recipe as is, I however find the amount of sugar too much and I tend to reduce it. My cakes still come to my expectation. However I do have instances where the cake flops in the middle even if I followed the recipe to the letter. What could be cause of this?

  • Nancy says:

    Thanks for the tips

  • Libby Bergman says:

    The weather can change how your baking comes out too. If it’s rainy and cold out, I know I have to add more flour to my cookies. Sometimes I will bake only one cookie after I make the dough to see how it comes out. Then I can make changes if needed.

  • diane gatzke says:

    Talk about if you want to cut the recipe in half.
    I cut my Amish recipe in half and did not get as many cookies as I thought I would have

  • Hilde Gilley says:

    I love your Recipes. Thank you for helping us bake.

  • Lola says:

    Thanks For the great tips. Now I know why I have issues with my output sometimes.

  • Cindy R. says:

    The advice is spot on. And love al the videos.

  • Pam says:

    Great tips! I love baking my cookies on a stone to get a nice crisp bottom without it being burned. I also use non-stick foil in place of parchment.

  • Kerina says:

    Do you by any chance have any gluten-free cake recipes and cookies recipes that you could post? And that taste good just we’ve tried some gluten-free cakes and cookies and they’re not very nice tasting.

  • Wendy says:

    Thank you

  • Gail Courville says:

    I live at 8000 ft. Most cake mixes say to add 2tbs of flour and 2tbs of water between 4000 ft – 6000 ft. I have recipes that I would like to make but I am not sure the science behind it . Do you have any suggestions?

  • Chava says:

    I so love your site. I learned how to make sourdough bread from Patrick on hete. The advice is great. I look forward to all your recipes. Well done, girl.

  • Salina Mustapha says:

    Thanks Amanda for many tips. I have tried some of your recipe and they are easy to make and delicious. Only one question, do you also pay attention to the correct size of eggs.


  • Mary Rodriguez says:

    Thanks for all of your amazing recipes!😘 I definitely appreciate you. I always leave comments. I am creating a recipe book for my 11 year old granddaughter. I will give it to her with her favorite recipes when she goes to college. She is an awesome cook. Her mom & dad have baked and cooked meals with her since she was 5 years old. I will hand write all of the recipes.😘