We're always looking for ways to streamline our kitchens and make less mess. Sheet pan suppers? Check. Easier lunch prep? Check. But what about tools that change our habits big time? Food scales(Opens in a new window) are the not-so-secret tool we use to improve our baking skills. Nowadays, recipe writers are increasingly listing weights (ounces or grams) alongside cups and tablespoons. This makes cooking with a food scale easier than ever before -- and more necessary.
Why You Should Bake With a Food Scale
Instead of dirtying a handful of measuring cups(Opens in a new window) and spoons(Opens in a new window) to portion out several ingredients, a scale allows for ingredients to be measured directly into a mixing bowl. Plus, from an accuracy standpoint there’s nothing more precise than using a scale. When baking, this sort of attention to detail is a necessity.
Many home cooks also rely on a food scale for portioning. It’s a great tool for health conscious cooking(Opens in a new window), but also for ensuring even distribution of batter between cake pans(Opens in a new window), especially when making equally sized balls of pizza dough. To guarantee both accurate measure and easy readability, OXO designed its scales(Opens in a new window) with a pull out display made to accommodate large bowls.
How to Get Started
Begin with your mixing bowl on the scale, then zero out the scale by hitting the “tare” button. Add your first ingredient slowly until you reach the weight needed. Then, zero out again and add the second ingredient and so on.
Tip: When scooping in ingredients like flour or sugar, use a spoon to add the last bit of weight and allow maximum precision. This can also help prevent accidentally adding too much weight when pouring.
Now that you’re ready to get started, let’s put those new skills to work. We’ve adapted a yellow cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen(Opens in a new window), which works well to make a 9x13 inch single layer cake(Opens in a new window) or about two dozen cupcakes when using the Silicone Baking Cups(Opens in a new window).
Classic Yellow Cake
- 500 grams cake flour
- 10 grams baking powder
- 10 grams baking soda
- 5 grams table salt
- 2 sticks or 225 grams softened unsalted butter
- 400 grams of sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk (475 ml)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place a medium bowl(Opens in a new window) atop the food scale and zero it out by pressing the “tare” button. Slowly add flour into the bowl, using a spoon to add the last bit until the scale registers the correct weight (500 grams). Zero out the scale and continue the process with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Using a large bowl(Opens in a new window): measure out the sugar using the food scale, add the butter and beat until the mixture is fluffy. Mix in vanilla and add eggs one at a time, making sure each addition is well incorporated. Stir in the buttermilk. Working in a few batches, add the flour mixture slowly until it is combined.
- Spread batter evenly in a 9x13'' cake pan. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. To be sure, insert a cake tester(Opens in a new window) in the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is finished. Let it cool completely and top with your favorite frosting(Opens in a new window). (We’re a fan of the Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting(Opens in a new window)!)