There’s no doubt that baking from scratch is incredibly rewarding and delicious. Not to mention how popular it makes you with friends and family- even moody London neighbours seem to get giddy at the mention of surplus baked goods!
But when it goes wrong? Well, then it can be a spectacular failure with ingredients going straight in the bin.
Poor Dorret, the Bake Off tent wasn’t kind to her | pic via Daily Mail
It’s no wonder that so many people find baking daunting. We do it every day here at Anges and have got mishaps down to a minimum, but we still have days when the humidity messes with our meringue and our ingredients aren’t at room temperature when we need them.
After years of pro baking, I know the key to managing your stress levels is having a handy arsenal of tricks that will save the day, especially for that last minute birthday cake.
Discover my secrets for perfect baking results every time with these baking hacks
Image via What Sarah Bakes
Baking Hack 1 : Use a wet finger to remove eggshells
There’s nothing worse than taking a bite of fluffy cake and hitting a piece of eggshell! If you find that a bit of eggshell has made its way into your bowl of cracked eggs, don’t mess around trying to scoop it out with a shell. Wet your finger and the pesky shell will magically stick to it!
Baking Hack 2: Save split ganache with warm milk
Seeing 1kg of beautiful couverture chocolate seize up and go all grainy and oily is enough to turn anyone’s hair grey. We make buckets of ganache every week and all sorts of things can cause it to split, but if this happens to you please don’t think it’s beyond saving! Try warming a little bit of milk and, very gradually, beat it in until it starts to come back together.
Baking Hack 3: Stop cakes sticking by greasing and flouring your tins
OK, so it’s not exactly the fun part of baking, but when it comes to cakes, preparing your tins the old fashioned way really pays off. Grease them with butter, then dust with a little plain flour, rotating the tins until coated. If that sounds like too much hard work, try a ‘magic’ cake release spray, which you’ll find in most supermarkets.
Image via BBC
Baking Hack 4: Use dental floss to perfectly level your cake
The secret to professional looking cakes, both inside and out, is perfectly level layers. But it can be tricky to do this with a knife by eye. Measure where you want the cake layer to be, insert toothpicks all around at the same level and wrap a long piece of plain unflavoured dental floss around the cake, using the toothpicks as guides. Cross over the ends of the floss and pull in opposite directions. Easy peasy!
Baking Hack 5: Put eggs in warm water to get them ready for baking
Having your ingredients at room temperature makes a huge difference to your baking results. If you get the urge to throw on a pinny and can’t wait for them to warm up, put your refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm water for half an hour and it will bring their temp up.
Image via Craftsy
Baking Hack 6: Turn granulated sugar into icing sugar
If you find yourself with a rising sense of panic as you rummage through the cupboard for the box of icing sugar you could’ve sworn was there- stop! If you have granulated sugar and a food processor, you have icing sugar. Blitz it for a few minutes until you get a powdery consistency and save yourself a dash to the shops.
Baking Hack 7: Use oil to help sticky ingredients release
I love making gingerbread, but there’s one bit that is barely worth the effort- trying to pry every last bit of the golden syrup and treacle from the measuring spoons. That is, unless you lightly oil the spoon or measuring cup, and then the sticky stuff releases without any trouble at all!
Baking Hack 8: Cut through butter fast with a hot knife
If it’s cold, it’s rock hard and if it’s soft, it sticks to everything! Of course I’m talking about butter, the cornerstone of all baking. Fill a jug or tall glass with hot water, dip your knife in to warm up, and you’ll make light work of chopping up butter. This trick is also great for cleanly serving up cake or brownies, just wipe the knife with kitchen paper between each slice.
Image via Food52
Baking Hack 9: Soften brown sugar with a slice of bread
Soft brown sugar seems to stay soft for all of 10 minutes after opening and then big ‘ol chunks of the stuff form, which is less than ideal for perfect chewy cookies. Pop a slice of bread in with the leftover sugar in an airtight container and leave overnight for squidgy sugar to use in your recipe the next day.
Baking Hack 10: Keep cakes tender by brushing with sugar syrup
Make dry cake a thing of the past by brushing the layers with a small amount of sugar syrup as you assemble it. Heat a cup of sugar and a cup of water in a pan until the sugar dissolves and allow to cool. The syrup will keep for a month in the fridge and you can flavour it with spices and citrus to enhance your cake flavour.
Is the thought of all that baking far too much effort? Let us take care of your next birthday, celebration or wedding cake and get in touch to order today.