Duff Goldman Shares The Biggest Baking Mistakes You're Making At Home - Exclusive

Baking at home can be an adventurous, creative, and messy affair (plus a delicious one, too); but it can also quickly turn into disaster when with the slip of a single missed step or measurement. That's one of the many things pastry chef and TV personality Duff Goldman is exploring in his new food science show, "Duff's Happy Fun Bake Time," streaming on discovery+.

As a master of cake baking and decorating, Goldman has seen it all and more. The professional baker and former "Ace of Cakes" star has pulled off some of the most elaborate, mind-boggling edible creations you've likely ever laid eyes on, facing every obstacle imaginable along the way. In his new show, Goldman is helping us all learn the basics of baking and understand the science behind some of our favorite treats. 

And Goldman's got some advice to pass along to all the amateur bakers out there. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, the star laid out some of the biggest mistakes he sees bakers making at home, and explained how this could be ruining your cakes, cookies, and more. Goldman also shared the one kitchen tool he thinks every home baker should invest in.

Duff Goldman says don't try and wing it when you're baking

We understand that recipes can be long and tedious, especially when baking — but according to Duff Goldman, the tendency to skip a step or ingredient, or try to put your own spin on things, isn't necessarily a wise one. Goldman told Mashed, "sometimes when you're reading a recipe, you'll think 'oh, I don't need to do that stuff,' or something like that. But the thing is, cooks and bakers, they don't really enjoy writing so much. So if somebody took the trouble to write it down, it's probably a good idea to follow directions."

Goldman admitted he's guilty of this habit himself, but explained that each specific detail is important for the perfect end result. He used sifting as an example: "One of the things that people don't do is they don't sift their flour and sugar and all the dry ingredients." And while this may not seem like a big deal, Goldman explains that it actually "makes a big difference in how aerated your cake is going to be. It just makes it lighter and fluffier ... you can always tell when somebody has sifted the flour."

When it comes to decorating, Duff Goldman says to step away from the fresh fondant

Making cakes at home isn't as difficult as it seems if you follow the recipe; decorating on the other hand, is a whole different story. There aren't really any rules when it comes to cake decorating, and it can be so much harder than you think to bring the vision in your head to life on an actual cake. But Duff Goldman has done it, and he has a tip for bakers to help make your cakes look sharper when decorating with fondant.

Goldman says, "when you're doing flat decorations and you want to cut things out of fondant using an exacto knife or something, when you roll the fondant out, you want to let it sit for about a half an hour and let it dry." This is because, even if you're using a super sharp knife, "the fondant is kind of sticky and it does want to stick to the blade. And so if the outside of the fondant isn't dry, the shape that you're cutting will warp because you're dragging it with the knife," according to Goldman.

On the other hand, Goldman explains that "if you let it dry, the knife slides through really clean and it doesn't stick as much, and so the shape that you're trying to cut out will stay that shape ... you get super-duper clean lines."

The baking tool that everyone should have, according to Duff Goldman

In light of the fact that following your recipes to a T is crucial when it comes to baking, Duff Goldman says there's one kitchen tool he thinks every home baker needs to make sure they're getting precise measurements every time. Goldman told Mashed, "I think everybody should invest in a digital scale and weigh all their ingredients." As for why it's so important, Goldman put it this way: "If you know that you need 96 grams of flour, then you put a bowl on the scale and you weigh out 96 grams of flour. If you need a cup of flour, it's like, well, what's a cup? How much do I press it down? Do I pack it all the way in there, do I leave it very loose? And when you're weighing ingredients, you get the same result every time."

Goldman added that this doesn't just work for dry ingredients. "If I got a cookie recipe and it calls for 100 grams of butter, I'm going to get 100 grams of butter every single time. If it calls for 1⅓ cups of butter, then what are you going to do? You're going to jam all the butter into the thing, and it's just a big mess. So, it's so much easier to weigh everything out." Well, you've heard it from the expert. Get yourself a scale and you'll have a much more successful time baking.

For tips like these, plus some fun puppet friends, be sure to check out "Duff's Happy Fun Bake Time," streaming now on discovery+.