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If you follow a few basic baking rules then you will find success in baking.

Find a good recipe
It's important to follow recipes exactly as your cake will only ever be as good as the recipe you use. Try and avoid recipes from the internet, as many may not have been tested.

Preheat the oven
If you put a cake into an oven that's not hot enough, it will affect the way it rises. Fan ovens can dry a cake slightly so for a longer shelf-life use the conventional setting.

Get air into the cake
Cream butter and sugar until the mixture lightens in texture and colour. This increases the air and volume of the cake, giving you a lighter result.

Sift other ingredients to add air and make them easier to fold in. Don’t overwork the mixture. Don't be tempted to whisk vigorously as this will knock out the air and result in a heavy cake.

Work with ingredients at the right temperature
Recipes require the fat and eggs to be at room temperature. If you take the butter straight from the fridge it doesn't cream well and cold eggs are liable to curdle the cake mixture.

Weights and ingredients must be accurate
Use the exact measurements in the recipe. Use proper measuring spoons rather than cutlery.

Keep the oven door closed
Cakes are usually placed on the middle shelf to ensure even cooking.

Also avoid opening the door until it's almost cooked. If you allow cold air into the oven the cake is likely to collapse.

Cooling the baked products
Recipes will usually give instructions for cooling but as a general rule, most sponge cakes are best left for a few minutes and then turned onto a cooling rack to avoid soggy edges.