For many people baking is a relaxing and enjoyable hobby, it’s a great way to spend your time and there’s nothing better than sharing the results with your friends and family. If you want to improve your baking then follow these tips for easy, stress-free baking.
- Buy good quality baking equipment. Heavy-duty cake tins may cost more money but they are much more durable and last a lot longer. They are much thicker than standard baking tins, which means they protect the edges of your cake from burning during lengthy baking times.
- Prepare your baking tin. Have your baking tin greased lined and ready to go. If you haven’t done it in advance and you leave your mixed cake batter for too long the gluten over develops and leads to a denser texture.
- Pre-heat your oven. This sounds a little simple, but forgetting to turn your oven on and putting your beloved cake in a cold oven spoils it. It will take longer to bake and won’t rise and be as light and fluffy as it should. Always double check your oven is on the correct setting; and just in case you’re wondering- grilling cakes doesn’t work. Believe me.
- Use quality ingredients. If you’re using crappy ingredients, you run the risk of getting crappy results. Use cake flour which is finer and gives cakes a lighter crumb. Never use essence to flavour your bakes, always use pure extract. Make sure your eggs and butter are fresh and that your flour isn’t old. It’s also worth getting bicarbonate of soda/ baking powder in sachet form because as it gets older it has a tendency to lose its ability to raise.
- Get organised. Weigh out and prepare all your ingredients before starting your recipe, this way nothing will be forgotten. This may sound a bit patronising, but this comes from the girl who made cheese straws without the cheese. As the other half pointed out- they were just straws…
- Use ingredients at room temperature. Cold eggs and cold butter make it harder to cream them together and you won’t get the light fluffiness required to give a good rise to a cake. Allow hot ingredients to cool down; for example if using melted chocolate or butter let it cool down before using it or it may scramble and curdle the eggs.
- Don’t over-mix the cake batter. Mix your ingredients until they are just combined, over-mixed cake batter creates a heavier cake texture and no-one likes chewy cake!
- Keep that oven door shut! Treat your beloved bake as you would a yorkshire pudding; if you keep opening the door and lowering the temperature you’ll end up with a flat, tough cake. If you want to check its progress then wait until it’s had two-thirds of the recommended cooking time.
- Experiment and be adventurous! Now I’m not recommending swinging, but try and swap some of the ingredients! Use ground almonds instead of plain flour, use coconut oil instead of olive oil, use light brown sugar instead of plain old caster sugar. Little changes can make a big difference and you’ll have people clamouring for the recipe!
- Share the love! It is a truth universally acknowledged that cake is a great motivator! Take it to work, share it with friends and family and soak up all that positive praise. Offer it smugly to your sworn enemy and nemesis, and bask in the knowledge that even though they may not like you, they still can’t help but love your cake (insert evil laugh here!).
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Happy baking everyone!!!
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