Jacques Torres Has Some Tips And Tricks For At Home Bakers - Exclusive

As the presiding judge and pastry expert on Netflix's hit show Nailed It!, Jacques Torres has basically seen it all when it comes to baking blunders — and while the amateur baking competition is meant to demonstrate that kitchen fails can still be fun, Torres doesn't think would-be bakers watching at home have to make the same mistakes. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Torres shared some tips and tricks to help amateur bakers "nail it" every time.

Torres says, first and foremost, that the most important thing you can do happens before you ever pick up a whisk. "When you bake, make a plan," advises Torres. "So spend a couple of minutes thinking okay, what is my first step, second step, third step." According to the respected pastry chef, having a plan will help you not only avoid getting lost in your recipe, but also make the most of your time. He says "you have to think okay, now the cake is going to be in the oven. When the cake is in the oven, what can I do? Okay. I'm going to do those decorations. And then when the cake comes out of the oven, I put it in a blast freezer. That's another six minutes, eight minutes." Bottom line, Torres says, "you have to have a roadmap before you start ... things will change, but at least you have the big direction." But that's not the only advice Torres has for home bakers.

Jacques Torres shares a tip for glazing the perfect cake

As anyone knows from watching Nailed It!, having a great tasting dessert can be easily overshadowed if the decorations make it look anything but edible — but that can be easier said than done for those of us at home. Luckily, Jacques Torres has a genius tip for bakers to help them put their best cake forward every time. According to Torres, "when you glaze a cake, a lot of [the] time, you should glaze it two times." The last thing anyone wants is lumpy frosting all over their cake, and Torres says "by doing it a second time, it becomes very nice and very smooth." 

Whether you ice your cake once, twice, or 10 times, Torres also points out that the quality of your buttercream matters. "Buttercream most of the time is too heavy," he says. To avoid that, Torres says to make sure and "aerate your buttercream on the mixer long enough," that way it will "become very light and very pleasant and not like a brick inside the cake."

The one thing you should always cook with, according to Jaques Torres

No matter if you're baking cookies, mixing cake batter, preparing a pie, or anything in between, Jacques Torres says there is one thing you should always be cooking with... and it might surprise you. "I always say cook with wine," shares Torres. But that doesn't mean he wants you to pour booze in your brownie batter (although there are recipes, like this one from The Spruce Eats, for that, too). Torres explains, "what I mean is have a bottle of wine open somewhere and have a glass of wine from time to time."

Now, you might be worried that having a drink or two may alter your already shaky baking skills, but Torres has another perspective on it. "What I mean is, look, have fun," he says. "Anyone can go to the baker and buy a cake. Now you're making it, at least have fun doing it. If it doesn't look perfect, it's okay ... It's not the end of the world. It's a cake. It's fine." We'll definitely raise a glass to that. 

You can catch Jacques Torres in the newest season of Nailed It!, now streaming on Netflix.