Preheat the oven 5-10 degrees higher than stated, this allows for the hot air that escapes when the oven door is opened. Turn the oven to the correct temperature once the cake is in the oven.
Use ingredients at room temperature, unless otherwise stated: soft margarine/butter facilitates easy creaming and room temperature eggs beat up to a greater volume.
Self-raising flour can be substituted with cake flour and baking powder: 250ml self-raising flour = 250ml cake flour + 7ml baking powder.
Cakes should be baked as soon after mixing as possible. However, if the cake cannot be baked immediately, place the mixture in the pans in the fridge until they can be baked. If the unbaked mixture is left standing too long, the cake will have a coarse texture
Cake tins should be placed as close to the centre of the oven as possible. When two cakes are being baked at the same time, there should be enough space between the tins for even circulation of hot air between them.
Adjust the oven racks to the correct height: small cakes/biscuits - one above the middle; cakes/loaves - the middle shelf and large/rich fruit cakes - one below the middle.
When making pastry, always have the ingredients as cold as possible. Allow the pastry to "rest" in the fridge before baking. Bake in a hot oven.
To test to see if a cake is baked: for sponge cakes, test by pressing the centre of the cake with a fingertip - if the cake springs back it is baked; for heavier type cakes, test by using a clean ckewer - if the inserted skewer comes out clean and not sticky, the cake is baked.
Cakes should stand for ±15 minutes before removing from the pan. The cooling period allows the centre of the cake to become firm.
Dip spoons used for measuring syrup or honey in boiling water or grease lightly. This facilitates easy pouring.