5 Most Common Baking Mistakes Answered from a pro
Holiday Baking Tips 2 comments

5 Most Common Baking Mistakes Part 2: Get Answers from a pro!

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Baking Mistakes Question. We need them answered because mistakes happen when we are baking. Even if we have been baking for years, or it is our first season, there will be questions about your mishaps and mistakes. Don’t freight! Remember, baking is a very technique based skill. Practice makes pastry progress! Want to read my first responses to the first set of baking questions? Check them out here.

5 Most Common Baking Mistakes Part 2 Answered from a pro

Need to up your baking skills? Read the top 5 skills to master in baking

Want some sweet recipes? Check them out here

Baking Mistakes Questions: Answered

  • Is there a difference between baking powder and baking soda? Can I substitute one for the other?
    • Simply: No, 1:1. Baking soda = needs acid (like lemon juice, yogurt, or buttermilk) to work. Baking powder = baking soda + cornstarch + acid, mainly cream of tarter.
    • So…baking soda will start working once an acid ingredient is mixed in. Baking powder will start working once an acid ingredient is mixed in AND it is in the oven (it needs heat to complete).
    • Remember, you can’t 1:1. There are adjusted ratios to subsitute:
    • To substitute baking powder for baking soda: Need 1 teaspoon baking soda? Use 2-3 teaspoon baking powder
    • To subttitute baking soda for baking powder: Need 1 tablespoon baking powder? Use 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar.
    • Tip: At the end, use baking soda if it calls for baking soda. Use baking powder if it calls for baking powder. Do a quick trip to the grocery store or find a different recipe
  • My cake, banana bread, or muffins came out gummy. What happened?
    • Simply: The texture was damaged. Something happened when developing the batter.
    • Causes: Either over mixing the batter or using wayyyy too much moisture
    • Tip: Slow down on mixing the batter when you are adding the dry ingredients. Avoid using the standing mixer and hand mix the dry ingredients.
    • Tip: Using ingredients with a whole lotta moisture, like shredded carrots or zuchinni? Make sure you squeeze ’em between paper towels to remove all the moisture. Or, if you are using applesauce or mashed bananas, scale back the amount (1 tbsp – 1/4 cup -ish)
  • Can I freeze desserts?
    • Simply: Well, depends. Good news is most baked goodies can be made ahead and frozen
    • What cannot be frozen:
      • Custards (think: creme brulee, cream pies, trifles, or puddings)
      • Meringue topping for pie (meringue cookies are OK…fragile but OK)
      • Jam filled cookies, turnovers or pastries
      • Chocolate truffles: Chocolate is sensitive to temperature. A super cold environment will bloom the chocolate, giving an off-flavor.
    • Cause: If you do freeze a dessert that cannot be frozen expect to see lots of moisture oozing out
    • Tip: Make a freezer safe and ready dessert, like my classic banana bread or chocolate cupcakes.
  • I am trying to make a gluten-free dessert. Can I use gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour?
    • Simply: Yes. Most gluten-free flours can be substituted for all-purpose, cup to cup.
    • Tip: Remember, gluten-free also means no gluten strands. Develop of the shape and texture will be different. Most of these gluten-free flours will be rice flour or tapioca flour-based. These will make your goodie a bit more tender and crumble-like.
    • Tip: Using a nut flour instead, like almond flour? You may need a little less nut flour because they are more dense.
    • Make my almond flour chocolate chip cookies, made with gluten free ingredients
  • I made a cake and it sunk in the middle. What happened?
    • Simply: When this happens, there are multiple reasons why. Here are the most popular:
      • Underbaked: it was removed from the oven too early
      • Wrong baking temperature: Too hot! Too cold! If your oven is new, there is a good chance it is running hot. If your oven is old, there is a good chance it is running cold.
      • Moving the cake pan when baking: don’t touch the cake especially in the beginning. The cake is just starting to take shape and let it be!
      • Over mixing: The dry ingredients were mixed in wayyyy too long or too virgourly.
    • Tip: Make sure the oven temp and time is correct. Is the recipe wrong? Either adjust or toss it out and get a new one. Don’t touch the cake in the beginning of baking and mix the batter until just combined.
    • Make carrot cake cupcakes to practice your cake skills

Remember, professional baking requires a whole lotta practice. The best part is the results are pretty sweet.


  1. Thanks for these insightful tips!

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