Make sure all required ingredients and tools are available and laid out within reach.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT START A BAKING PROJECT WHEN YOU ARE DISTRACTED OR ON A LIMITED TIME CONSTRAINT, AS YOU WILL BE STRESSED AND TEMPTED TO TAKE SHORTCUTS.
Instant or self-rising flour should be sifted (or not) according to package instructions.
Whole grain flours should not be sifted.
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, use straight edge of knife or spatula to level flour in the measuring cup.
Make sure butter or shortening is softened before beginning. Using electric mixer, wooden spoon or whisk, beat briskly until butter is light and fluffy.
Add sugar in small amounts, creaming thoroughly after each addition.
Thorough creaming insures a fine-grained cake.
1). Whole eggs or yolks only - beat briskly with whisk until thick and well blended
2) Egg Whites - Beat with electric mixer or whisk as follows:
Frothy: entire mass forms bubbles and rounded soft peaks which slump slightly when beater is slowly lifted upright
Stiff Peaks: Peaks should remain stiff and standing upright when beater is slowly lifted upright.
You should always start with dry ingredients and end with dry ingredients.
Scrape sides of bowls with spatula when mixing to assure entire mixture is well blended. BE SURE YOU TURN THE BEATERS OFF WHILE YOU ARE SCRAPING THE SIDES.
Use low speed on mixer when adding dry and wet ingredients.
Once all ingredients are mixed, increase speed to medium to assure a light well blended mixture.
Fill cake pans only 1/2 to 2/3 full
Tap bottom of cake pan sharply with hand or on edge of counter to release air bubbles before baking in ovens.
Cool cakes completely on wire rack before frosting unless recipe instructs otherwise.
Preheat oven to 425º.
Place one pie crust into pan, smoothing out and up sides gently with fingers.
Press crust down on top edges to seal it onto pie pan.
Prick bottom of crust about 4 times with fork
Place in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly brown.
Remove from oven, pour filling mix into crust and continue baking per pie recipe instructions.
FOR FRUIT PIES, DO NOT COOK FIRST:
Place one crust into pie pan and smooth out of bottom and up the sides gently with fingers, pressing top edge of crust down on top edges to seal it to pie pan.
Pour filling into crust, add top crust over filling.
Press edges of top crust onto edges of bottom crust with fingers or a fork to seal together.
Continue cooking in preheated oven according to pie recipe instructions.
Optional: For a richer browned crust, brush top crust with egg whites before placing in oven