Q Every time I bake a cake, the crust turns soggy. What do you think I’m doing wrong?
A I think you’re leaving the cake in the cake tin for way too long.
Cakes are fragile when they are freshly baked and just removed from the oven. So leave them to cool in the cake pan for no more than five minutes and then turn them out over a wire rack to cool down completely.
If you leave the cake in the pan longer than five minutes, then it’ll sweat and the crust will turn soggy.
If you’re worried the cake might be stuck to the pan, then run a flat blade around the inside of the pan before removing the cake. You won’t have that worry if you use greaseproof baking paper. Remove the paper and the cake comes out with it.
Q I just can’t seem to make a good hollandaise sauce. At every instance, it either splits or is too thick. What should I do?
A Hollandaise is one of those sauces that seems easy to make, but actually requires practise and patience. Here’s how to make it.
Melt 100g unsalted butter in a saucepan with a lip over low heat. Set aside. Break 2 egg yolks into a bowl, and place the latter over a pan with simmering water. Ensure that the bottom of the bowl and the water do not come into contact with each other.
Fill a bowl with ice cubes and keep it within easy reach. Now, whisk in 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp English mustard, then add small splashes of the melted butter, whisking well between each addition. If you feel the sauce is splitting, add an ice cube and whisk.
Once all the butter has been added, you should have a smooth, creamy sauce. If you think it is too thick, whisk in a splash of white grape vinegar.
Ideally you must serve it immediately, but if you’re going to serve it after a while, then whisk in warm water until you achieve the desired consistency.
For added flavour, whisk in some cayenne pepper.