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    19 Professional Bakers Shared The Most Common Mistakes We're Making

    We've all tried to frost a hot cake.

    We asked professional bakers of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the most common mistakes we're making when baking, and their responses were super helpful.

    1. You don't read the recipe or follow it carefully, or you substitute ingredients.

    PBS

    "So many baking issues are solved by simply knowing what ingredients you need and when you’ll need them. And unless you really know what you’re doing, don’t mess with the recipe! Seemingly small changes — like decreasing the amount of sugar or substituting a different type of flour — can have huge effects on the finished product. I always recommend that the first time you try a recipe, you make it exactly as written. After you’ve done that successfully, THEN and ONLY then can you think about changing it up!"

    lizzielynn13

    2. You take preheating the oven as a suggestion rather than a requirement.

    Getty Images

    "It can really affect the texture and appearance, as well as the timings. Not preheating can lead to flat/hard cookies and dense/unevenly cooked cakes, among other things."

    x9plagne

    3. You don't weigh your ingredients.

    Getty Images

    "I cannot stress enough how important it is to weigh out all of your ingredients (all ahead of time, if you really want to bake like a pastry chef) on a digital scale. One cup of feathers does NOT weigh the same as one cup of pebbles, ya know? It's so easy to find volume to mass conversions online, and your baked goods will not only turn out better, but they will be more consistent."

    robynrowe19

    4. You dunk your measuring cup into flour and pack it.

    Getty Images

    "You have to spoon the flour into the cup, then level off. If you dunk the measuring cup into the flour it packs more flour by volume into the cup than what the recipe calls for, throwing off the recipe."

    kristinh4c3851073

    5. You bake warm or room temperature cookie dough rather than cooling it first.

    FOX

    "After you mix your cookie dough, REFRIGERATE IT so that the fat hardens and doesn't melt like cookie brittle or brownie bark — unless you like it that way!"

    kittenbags

    6. You crack your eggs on the side of the bowl rather than on the countertop.

    CBS / Hulu

    "I can't stress enough how you should never crack an egg on the side of the bowl. Fastest way to get egg shells in your batter. Always crack them into a flat surface then open them over the bowl. And if you're still nervous about getting shells in, then crack the eggs into a separate bowl before adding them to your batter."

    anamariah4bf291111

    7. You throw all your ingredients together at once and mix them without thinking about their order.

    Getty Images

    "If you see butter (or any fat) and sugar listed first in a recipe, it’s a creaming method — which means you mix together the fat and sugar first, until it’s light and kind of airy. When you add the eggs, add them one by one to make sure they mix in well and so that your batter keeps its light texture."

    catmercado89

    8. You forgo using an electric mixer because you think arm power is suitable for everything.

    BBC One

    "A lot of cakes require butter and sugar to be beaten together until pale and fluffy. You will never get the right consistency using just a wooden spoon/spatula. There are so many different mixers out there (hand or stand mixers) and you can use them for so many different things. You will really notice the difference in your cakes once you’re getting that extra air in there."

    anniedavies

    9. And even if you are using a mixer, you are mixing things incorrectly or are making the mistake of over-mixing.

    Getty Images

    "You probably aren’t mixing certain things as much as you should be, like creaming butter and sugar isn’t just combining them, you need to beat them until they’re fluffy. Same goes for adding eggs...you’ll get better cookies and brownies if you beat again until fluffy when adding eggs to your creamed butter and sugar. However you don’t want to over-mix once you add the flour, just mix until no more dry flour is visible. Over-mixing the flour can make your end product tough."

    waffleheist

    10. You don't sift your dry ingredients prior to mixing, which leaves large clumps behind.

    Getty Images

    "Always sift your dry ingredients. This is especially important for powdered sugar when making buttercream, because you want the butter and powdered sugar to mix seamlessly."

    maryhamiltonm

    11. You use cold ingredients (like butter and eggs) even though the recipe calls for them to be room temperature.

    Tasty / Via youtube.com

    "If the recipe says an ingredient is supposed to be room temperature, make sure it’s room temperature! Eggs are particularly important for this rule — room temperature egg yolks break more easily and incorporate better into whatever you’re mixing. And for something like cheesecake, or anything else with high fat content, cold eggs can actually harden the fat and make your mixture lumpy."

    alexe4ff5a27c4

    12. You use salted butter when your recipe specifically calls for unsalted butter.

    FOX

    "Not all butter is created equal. There isn't a set regulation for how much salt is added to salted butter made by different companies. One brand can have more salt in its butter than the next. Say your recipe calls for unsalted butter and 1 tsp of salt and you decide to use salted butter, which could already have 1 tsp of salt in it — you could be adding too much salt and throwing off the chemistry of your bake."

    katieposh

    13. You throw your batter into a pan without preparing the pan first.

    Tasty / Via youtube.com

    "Grease and parchment-line basically every pan you use. For cakes, cut out a circle the size of the bottom of the pan and put it in after greasing the pan. For square pans, have it overhang on the side so you can grab it and lift your brownies/blondies/whatever straight out. It makes life infinitely easier and things almost never get stuck in pans."

    heatherm44f20e0bb

    14. You constantly open and close the oven door and have yet to invest in an oven thermometer.

    Getty Images

    "When you put something in the oven to bake, its very tempting to peak inside. Try to do this as little as possible. When you open the oven door, all the hot air escapes, thus lowering the temperature of your oven. It's OK if that happens a couple times, but if you keep checking...it's going to take FOREVER to finish. Finally, invest in an oven thermometer to know the true temperature of your oven. Some ovens just aren't accurate when reading temperature."

    markiem3

    15. You frost hot cakes and always end up making a huge mess.

    Chowhound / Via youtube.com

    "Just stop. Be logical — if you apply icing to a hot surface it will melt. The cake should at the very least be room temp or even cold if you are doing more intricate decorating."

    z4d8db7a79

    16. You skip the crumb coat when decorating a cake and don't add simple syrup to keep your cake moist.

    Getty Images

    "When it comes to cakes, always lightly soak your layers with a simple syrup to keep them moist instead of having dry cake with your frosting. Also, crumb coats are your best friend when decorating your cake. Apply a thin layer of frosting on your cake (smooth it out just like it is your final product) so it can catch all the crumbs that would otherwise ruin the beauty of your finished cake. After you’ve applied it, chill the cake in your fridge or freezer and apply your final coat of frosting."

    christasmith1918

    17. You stack cakes without giving them the proper support.

    Cakesupport / Via youtube.com

    "Tiered cakes need boards and supports! You can’t just stack eight layers of cake and frosting on each other with all their weight, and expect it to hold itself! Do your research before you DIY a wedding cake and don’t balk then at why bakeries charge what we do for them."

    cakester

    18. You skip out on salt when it's called for.

    Nickelodeon

    "All my frostings have a healthy pinch of salt in them and people are amazed that they’re never too sweet."

    erinb490c791aa

    19. And finally, you add a bunch of food coloring into your buttercream before letting the color develop.

    Getty Images

    "Just dumping a bunch of food coloring into your frosting will ruin the texture and leave you with dyed teeth. Add a little dye to your frosting, let it sit a few hours (in the fridge if it has eggs, on the counter if its American buttercream), and if it needs more to get the color you need, add more and repeat the process. Or, for really dark colors (like black), start with a chocolate frosting base."

    lbburgess

    Now it's your turn! What baking mistakes do you think way too many people are making? Share yours in the comments below for a chance to be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed Community post and/or video!

    Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.