10 Baking Tips For Your Kitchen!
Whether you find inspiration from activity in the Great British Bake Off tent or you’re loyal to your grandmothers recipes, baking is big news right now - #NationalBakingWeek or not! Off the back of prime time shows like GBBO there has been a significant increase in home bakers plying their skills, and to mark its growth and celebrate National Baking Week, we thought that we’d bring you some top tips on baking cakes.
Weighing out your ingredients is extremely important. If you weigh them out by eye then you run the risk of damaging your flavour and consistency. It isn’t a hard task, so there shouldn’t be any excuses! If you get the measurements right of your ingredients, then you’re setting the best foundation possible for the perfect cake!
#2 Understanding Your Equipment
The way in which you knead your cake dough, the instruments used and the strength of your oven will all have a bearing on the finished cake. It might be worth noting down your own findings from the first bake, just so you’ll know how your process and equipment may affect the final creation next time around.
#3 Don’t Diss New Baking Technology
We all have our favourite baking equipment but you shouldn’t always dismiss new gadgets which may make the baking experience easier, and more importantly, go on to make your bake a greater success! If something like a processor helps to save time and effort compared to using your hands, then why not! There’s plenty of manual skill involved in the baking process, so where possible, why not try speeding some parts up. People will judge you on the flavour and texture of the cake, not the equipment they see scattered around the kitchen.
#4 Baking Powder
Keeping a close eye on how much baking powder you add to the mix will prove to be a wise move! Adding too much, and you’ll discover that your cake rises and falls quickly, resulting in a dry cake. It’s a brilliant ingredient BUT it’s something that needs to be treated with diligence.
#5 Time Is On Your Side
Say that you have to pick the kids up in an hour but your bake takes 70 minutes, it might be worth stopping what you're doing and trying that particular creation another time. Allowing yourself some extra time during the baking process is a great idea because let’s face it, we never know when something may need further amendments and attention, which often eats up more time. Rushing the baking process usually doesn’t end well!
#6 Tin Troubles
Most of the tins available are not a one-size-fits-all, different cakes require different tins. It all depends on the ingredients used and how fast you want the heat to infiltrate the mix. You may have a very stylish and expensive tin but that isn’t to say it will be the best one for what you’re baking. Reading the recipe and learning what equipment you need before the bake will save a lot of heartache!
#7 Don’t Let Distractions Derail You!
Ensuring your ingredients are weighed correctly, your mix is good, the temperature is monitored and your timings are spot on is hard enough to get right without added distractions as well! If you’re baking in a busy environment or you have people watching your every move, there’s no harm in politely asking them to give you a few minutes to concentrate. Minimise multitasking to give you the best opportunity for the perfect bake!
#8 Don’t Only Rely On The ‘Toothpick’ Test
The toothpick test is a good one but if the cake fails to produce a golden colour, then it isn’t cooked. Why not combine this test with checking its colour or even placing your hand on top of the cake – if it pushes down and springs back, then odds on your cake is ready. If not, you’ll require more oven time!
#9 Jam Before Coating
If you want to create a thick, flavoursome and uninterrupted layer of icing, then you can try brushing the cake mixture with a jam of coating first! By doing this you’ll seal the cake, as it acts as a base for icing to be added, creating a constant top level that stops cake bits and crumbs from appearing within.
#10 High Five For High Fat
It might sound like it goes against the ‘healthy’ code of conduct but having a high fat content in the butter or margarine you’re using will make all the difference. Lower fat butters and spreads often have a higher water content, so when it evaporates it causes the layers to bind together in the mix.