Catastrophe in the Kitchen? Bakers Must Learn from Mistakes



Everyone makes mistakes while baking, but reflecting on those mistakes will help improve the finished product next time.

Francesca Rivera, Junior Chief Advocate

WOODBURY — You use an ideal cake recipe with a five-star rating, but your cake comes out looking like a pile of slush with a crumbly texture and melting frosting. The perfect picture you had melted into a harrowing image. Why isn’t my frosting smooth and airy? Why didn’t my cake hold together? What did I do wrong?

What mistakes do you make when baking? Many have a story because they have taken baking as a hobby since the start of COVID lockdowns.

Michael Hadoulis, a culinary teacher at Woodbury Middle School, cited one item as a tough task to bake.

“The hardest thing for me to bake was Biscotti,” Hadoulis said, referring to the twice-baked Italian cookie that needs perfection. 

He failed to bake it correctly the first time, and he said if he were to do anything differently the next time, he would pay better attention to the recipe and put in more attention. 

Hadoulis also says he has a huge amount of respect for people in the baking business, and that it’s almost like an art form itself.

A lot of the time people think their recipes will turn out fine with no measuring, but really you need to measure your ingredients. You could slip by without measuring a few of your ingredients, but when it comes to measuring baking soda or any leavening agents, you might have a problem if you eyeball it.

Leavening agents are the cause of why batters rise. They give a good texture — without them, you’re doomed to end up with a mess of a recipe.

People are also likely to not read directions carefully, but believe it or not, in some recipes you need absolute perfection, and you will need to give your undivided attention to your directions. 

Adding too much of one ingredient is never good, and Isabella Garcia agrees with this claim.

“The hardest thing for me to make was frosting,” Garcia said. “I added too much powdered sugar and the frosting was way off, and it was more liquidy than fluffy.”

Garcia’s reflection on the process would be to go a bit slower and take her time to measure.

Baking is always a fun hobby and a fun thing to do with family and friends. Sometimes people even take it as their career. But what really brings the pleasure to baking is being able to eat the delights that you have created. Taking your time and really putting care in what you’re doing will give a great outcome.

This story is part of the Junior Chief Advocate series, which publishes articles written by eighth-grade students from Adam Brutting’s English classes at Woodbury Middle School. More stories from the Junior Chief Advocate can be found here.