16 UNUSUAL BAKING HACKS

  1. Use a wine bottle as a rolling pin! (from Julia Haley)
  2. When making meringues, wipe the bowl with a small amount of lemon juice to get rid of any grease.
  3. Use a balloon to make chocolate cups, making a dessert more professional.
  4. If an apron neck tie is too long, I use a plastic bag clip to make it shorter and hold it in place easier.
  5. If it is hot and you need to whip cream, put the bowl in the freezer first.
  6. Picking out broken egg shells from a bowl of eggs you need to whisk – if you wet your fingers with water the shell will sticks to your finger rather than chase it round the bowl trying to fish it out. (from Leon Mills)
  7. For a really pretty finish on cakes (or other baking!) when you have nothing in the house, grab a piece of lace or a doily – anything that has a pretty holey pattern - and use icing sugar for a lovely lace effect on top.
  8. If you need to do icing decoration or piping but no tools, you can use a syringe or a food bag (just cut off the corner and can be made thicker or thinner depending on need).
  9. If using a loose based tin, put the bottom in upside-down – the cakes slide off easier!
  10. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute 2/3 plain, low, or non-fat yogurt mixed with 1/3 milk instead.
  11. Bring eggs to room temperature in five minutes with a bowl of warm water. (from Charlotte Derra)
  12. Put covered bread that needs proving straight into the dishwasher as soon as the cycle has finished so it rises perfectly in the warm environment! (from Sarah Keyworth)
  13. Melt chocolate in the microwave – short bursts and stirring in between each. Done in seconds and a lot easier than the old bowl over a simmering pan method! (from Stephanie Lear)
  14. Make sure your hands are really cold when you make pastry – my gran swore by it and she was a pastry cook! (from Pam C Smith).
  15. If you put a piece of parchment over your grater before grating zest off fruits, you can still grate the zest off and when you’ve finished pull the piece of paper off and your zest will be stuck to the paper and not in the grater.
  16. Listen to your sponge cakes! – depending on the bubbles, you can tell if it’s done! (from Emma Gardner)

12 BAKING INGREDIENT TIPS

  1. Over ripe bananas can be peeled then wrapped in clingfilm and stored in the freezer for use in smoothies at a later date… (from David Farquhar)
  2. If you have over ripe bananas these will make a great banana bread (the blacker the banana the better!).
  3. Soak dried fruit in apple juice/milk to keep cakes moist.
  4. Coat dried fruit in flour when breadmaking to keep even distribution – you can do the same for cakes.
  5. Quick way of coring strawberries:- Insert a clean sturdy straw through the bottom, and push up! (from Christine Banbury)
  6. If you get egg shell in your mix when you break your eggs, use one of the half egg shell to scoop it up, it acts like a magnet - no more egg shell in your bake
  7. I always test my egg freshness using a bowl of water (if it sinks, its good.. standing on end, it’s nearly out… and if it floats it’s off) – saved many a bake from being ruined!
  8. Eggs should always be at room temperature for baking. (from Comper57)
  9. Make your own buttermilk using milk and lemon juice.
  10. Meringue baking hack: bake on gas mark 1 and a half for one and a half hours – low temperature for longer and baked till slightly golden. (from Sarah Jane Stevens)
  11. Use vegetable oil instead of butter for moist bakes. (from Cindy Fairclough).
  12. For nice flat cupcakes, just half fill your cupcake cases! (from Baking Nanna).

TOP 20 BAKING TIPS

  1. When filling a piping bag, put the bag into a tall glass (pilsner are great) and fold the bag over the top for easy filling up!
  2. Use an ice cream scoop to put an even scoop of mixture into each cake case.
  3. Need to bake in advance? Cake sponge freezes really well, just fully wrap in some cling film and they will stay good for up to 2 months (ensure no gaps, to do this I double wrap!). (from Phillipa Singleton)
  4. If a recipe calls for buttermilk but you don’t have it, put a squeeze of lemon juice into a cup of whole milk and leave for 5 mins.
  5. Tie a tea towel around the top of your stand mixer to cover the bowl and avoid icing sugar going everywhere when making frosting. (from Bakes Box)
  6. Always weigh your eggs - eggs can vary so much in weight. To make the perfect victoria sponge, weight your eggs and add the equal amount of sugar, flour and butter - perfection every time! (from Bakes Box)
  7. Keep your cakes moist by storing them in a tin with a slice of bread! (from Bakes Box)
  8. Never worry about burning chocolate again! If you’re melting a small amount of chocolate to decorate, put it in a food bag and place the bag in a shallow bowl of hot water (don’t get any water inside the bag), leave for a minute and massage the chocolate inside the bag until it’s melted! You can then just snip the corner of the bag, and drizzle!). You can use little food bags for any piping requirement too.
  9. Roll pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper to avoid a sticky mess.
  10. Next time you make a batch of cookie dough, fill an ice cube tray with any leftover dough. Freeze this in the tray. You literally take a cube out of the freezer and 12 minutes later, oven-fresh cookies!
  11. Turn your oven down a notch and bake a little longer for a nice flat top on your cakes. (from the The Baking Nanna)
  12. If you don’t have baking beans use rice instead and keep in a jar to reuse again.
  13. Slightly under-bake your cakes – they continue to cook when you take them out of the oven! (from Nutteratnutwood)
  14. Pop a tray of water in the bottom of the oven whilst it gets to baking temperature then pop your sponges in as normal – the steam gives the sponges a big rise and a flatter top – thus deeper, fluffier sponges. (from J Cakey_janes)
  15. Wrap your baking tray with foil so it distributes heat evenly and food is piping hot. (from Atty_boo)
  16. If you’re planning a bake, prep all you can the night before – grease and line tins, weigh out ingredients, take butter out of fridge, weigh… then when you start baking, it’s a much smaller job! (from Ladysummerisle)
  17. Q: How do you tell if a cake is cooked? A: If it’s a sponge cake – then this should be springy to the touch, shrinking slightly from the sides of the tin and pale golden brown in colour. If you pop a fork into the cake, it should come out clean without any cake mix! If it’s a fruit cake – a fine skewer inserted into the center should come out clean and the cake should look the expected colour -light brown for a light fruit cake and darker brown for a traditional rich fruit cake. (from Eunice Clements Tweedie)
  18. Lay a tea towel over your cooling rack to stop your cakes having unsightly lines on them! (from The Baking Nanna)
  19. Roll citrus fruits on the counter and place in the microwave for 5-10 seconds in order to get max juice! (from Spatulas and sprinkles)
  20. When making pastry, if you freeze your block of butter, you can grate it into your flour making the rubbing process far quicker meaning the pastry remains colder so rolling is far easier.