Tips from the Test Kitchens

Our experts share their secrets. 

coffee cake

 Becky Luigart-Stayner

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Many hours in the kitchen yielded a few good lessons. Here's what we learned while preparing this story.

Degrees of Doneness

Different pieces of equipment may yield slightly different results. When preparing Orange Mini Bundt Cakes, keep these variables in mind:

• Ovens cook slightly differently. Use an oven thermometer to monitor the actual temperature.

• Darker nonstick-coated pans cook their contents more quickly. If your pan has a dark coating, check the cakes for doneness a few minutes before the recipe directs.

• Mini Bundt pan cups can vary in size. Depending on the volume of the pan you use, the size of the cakes and the cook time may vary slightly.

• Check the cakes with a wooden pick after 16 minutes as the recipe directs, even if the flat bottom sides of the cakes don't appear done.

Flour Power

Some of our recipes call for cake flour, while others use all-purpose flour. Cake flour generally contains less protein than all-purpose. It yields cakes with a finer crumb and more delicate texture for layer cakes, such as Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Bittersweet Ganache. Substitute 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch for 1 cup cake flour, if necessary. All-purpose flour is fine for homey sheet cakes like Mississippi Mud Cake.

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