Cakes, Ovens, Microwaves: Troubleshooting Guide

Equipping your kitchen for baking? Read this first. We’ve got everything you need to know about using your oven – from conversion tables to the best non-stick equipment.

Equipping and Cleaning Your Oven

Choosing your baking tins and trays needn’t be a chore. Read our article on Tins, Trays and Moulds to find out which you’ll need for what!

If you use your oven frequently or get fed up cleaning it, you might find a use for Magic Oven Liner – heavy-duty stuff that you cut to size, and fit in the bottom of your oven. You can keep your tins and trays clean in the same way, using Bake-o-Glide or Lakeland’s non-stick liner. Made in silicone, these re-usable liners can be cut to the shapes of your favourite tins, then used over and over again. If cleaning your oven is a job best left to the experts, why not pay someone to come in and do a professional job? This can cost as little as £40…

Converting Gas Marks and Degrees

Recipes using different measurements? Here’s our guide for converting oven temperatures as well as US, imperial and metric amounts.

  • Gas Mark 1 = 275F = 140°C
  • Gas Mark 2 = 300F = 150°C
  • Gas Mark 3 = 325F = 170°C
  • Gas Mark 4 = 350F = 180°C
  • Gas Mark 5 = 375F = 190°C
  • Gas Mark 6 = 400F = 200°C
  • Gas Mark 7 = 425F = 220°C
  • Gas Mark 8 = 450F = 230°C
  • Gas Mark 9 = 475F = 240°C
  • 1 oz = 2 tbsp = 1/8 cup = 28 grams
  • 2 oz = 4 tbsp = 1/4 cup = 55 grams
  • 4 oz = 8 tbsp = 1/2 cup = 115 grams
  • 8 oz = 16 tbsp = 1 cup = 225 grams
  • 1lb = 32tbsp = 2 cups = 450 grams

Trouble-Shooting Oven Problems

Oven not turning out cakes as perfect as they should be? Here’s a quick guide to common baking problems and their causes.

  • Cake sunk in the middle? You may have the oven temperature set too low, or opened the door midway through. Opening and shutting the oven during cooking lets in cold air.
  • Cake sticks to the sides of its tin? It was probably insufficiently greased (or not greased at all).
  • Cake dry or overcooked around the edges? You probably greased the tin too generously. Use a little less butter.
  • Cake is cooked, but not golden? You could have too many things in the oven, which means less heat can get to each.
  • Cake rose unevenly? This is probably due to an uneven oven shelf, or not preheating the oven enough.

Baking Cakes in a Microwave

The microwave is a miracle-worker when it comes to steamed puddings – a simple sponge with sauce sunk to the bottom takes minutes in a microwave. Browse the internet to find recipes that you’ll be able to make up in minutes. You’ll need a microwave-proof cake bowl or mould and make sure you refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting this type of baking. Microwaves are suitable for steaming cakes but, when it comes to traditional cake baking, the oven will be your equipment of choice.

Baking Cakes in a Breadmaker

Modern breadmakers can be used to make Very Easy Cakes: simply measure ingredients into the pan, set to CAKE and the machine does all the work. How? Because a breadmaker combines a mixing/kneading process with a build-in bakery, it can also manage cakes with ease. Some models even feature a timer so you could, for instance, wake up to fresh apple cake on a Sunday morning…

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