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Basic Baking and Cake Decorating (1 Viewer)

Ideal for new bakers or those starting out.

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After speaking with a few relatives and friends recently, I realised that I need to get back to basics in order to help you the next generation of bakers on your merry way. There are lots of things around the site to help you with your venture, but I thought I would do a mini guide if you are starting from scratch. I've found that if you have a few essentials in your cupboard, then you can pick the rest up along the way, however, if you've never so much as picked up a spatula, then please...
Baking hygiene and safety is imperative for both the baker and the consumer and should be considered at all times. If you're a young baker then always ensure you have an adult on hand to help you out as there are lots of potential hazards which can occur in the kitchen. Now I'm not telling you this to scare you off, no far from it, all I'm saying is that it's always good to have someone there just in case you need them. Great rules for adults and children to remember are, go slow, be...
If you've decided to take the plunge and have a go at making some baked goodies, then it's worth having a few essentials in before you start. Here is a list of some of the key ingredients you should have in your cupboard or fridge before baking: Butter/Margarine Caster Sugar/Granulated Sugar Eggs Flour & Baking Powder Milk/Water/Juice/Oil - Liquids Salt Butter This is the fat element of the bake and will give your goodies richness and oodles of flavour. Margarine can also be used as an...
Cream of tartar, what is it, I hear you ask? Well, although it's probably something that's been shoved to the back of your cupboard, it's worth knowing it has many uses for baking right through to cleaning. So just to give you a little insight, here are a few facts about what it is and what you can use it for. Even though its name in part is cream, it doesn't actually contain any and is, in fact, a dry powdery ingredient. Cream of tartar is an 'acid powder', so if you don't have any in...
Have you ever heard the term crumb coat or dirty icing and wondered what earth somebody was going on about. Well, not to worry, I have you covered. And literally, that's all it is. What is a crumb coat? A crumb coat, or 'dirty icing' as it's also known, is the first thin layer of buttercream/frosting applied to your cake. This layer is used to trap all the crumbs in place, thus preventing them from spilling over into the decoration part of your cake. It is also another way of locking...
The muffin method is often used to make quick breads, some cakes and obviously, as the name suggests, muffins too! How do I use the Muffin Method? The Muffin Method is when you do the following process before baking: Method Mix all your wet ingredients together, including any melted butter, eggs, oil etc., into a bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients, i.e. sugar, salt, baking powder/soda (sifted), flour (sifted) etc., together in another bowl. Then make a 'well' in the middle of the dry...
The creaming method is essentially blending butter and granulated or caster sugar together and then adding additional ingredients to your mix one at a time in stages. This is an excellent baking method as it allows you to methodically go through a recipe and create your cake in stages. 1. Firstly, and most importantly, you would cream together your butter and sugar; you would do this by using a wooden spoon, a hand whisk or a kitchen aid. By mixing the butter and sugar together, you...
In order to ensure you have enough icing rolled out, you can use a handy trick. Get a piece of ribbon and place it on the end of you cake board (before using buttercream or jam etc.) then place the ribbon across the edge then up the side of the cake over the cake, down the other side of the cake and to the edge of the board as per picture 1. When stretched out, this will give you a rough idea of how wide the icing/fondant needs to be in order to cover your cake. Now see illustration 2...
What is a baking phrase? A baking phrase is a word or prompt that will subtly sit in your recipe, guide or tutorial. It is a small instruction that is placed to help you achieve the best bakes. Some will be familiar to you, some will be self-explanatory and some of them you may not be too sure of. So to avoid any confusion, I have put together a list of words and phrases that can be found throughout a whole host of recipes. Using the checklist below, you should now be able to read your...
Biscuits can go soggy when storing for some of the following reasons. If your biscuits contain fruits such as apricots or glacé cherries, they will also contain moisture, once sealed in a tin the moisture from the fruit seeps into the biscuit causing it to go soft. Ensure cookies and biscuits are cold when placing in a tin if you put your biscuits away too soon after baking they may still contain heat, thus converting to moisture and making another soggy biscuit. Never mix cake and...
As you are aware straws, come in an array of shapes and sizes whether it be straight ones, whirly ones, clear ones, stripey ones and now even the environmentally friendly paper ones to choose from. So you'll be pleased to know that as well as being an excellent drinking tool, they also come in handy for lots of different cake decorating techniques too. Here are five easy cake decorating techniques using straws: 1. By using different sizes of straws, you can make scale impressions for...
Knowing the difference between baking chocolate and regular chocolate. The difference is that baking chocolate is usually bitter in taste and does not have any additional sweeteners in it whereas regular/normal chocolate does.
Writing on Cakes Its not as hard as made out. There are rules of thumb ,which if you follow, will make it much easier. 1. First do it with a marker pen, a lack of good handwriting is irrelevant, my handwriting is terrible with a pen. Break the words into steps, theres no need to write the whole word in one go. Practice the most common word first ...HAPPY. Practice the H and only the H. Do 10 x H's before moving on, make sure you've got it down. Its the anchor that will encourage you to...
I couldn't post a pic so I made a 2 minute vid demonstrating the features. It came from an old french pastry chef who died, his son gave me his box of tools.
In baking, there are two ways in which we can mix butter into a cake batter. The first is using the creaming method, and the second is by a technique known as the reverse creaming method. The creaming method is when you beat the butter and sugar together, whereas the reverse creaming method requires you to combine the (solid) butter with the dry ingredients instead. Reverse Creaming Method Combine the dry ingredients first, including the sugar in one bowl. Then mix the wet ingredients...
At certain stages of baking, you are sometimes asked to 'fold in'. The term folding in is the process used to stir two ingredients together slowly and softly (without mixing or beating them vigorously) until they have combined. How to 'fold in' ingredients: A lighter mixture such as whipped egg whites is placed on top of your heavier cake batter. You would then incorporate them by running the silicon spatula straight through the middle of the lighter top mixture and denser bottom...
If you wish to avoid a recipe for disaster and want to maintain excellent standards in the kitchen, then be sure to run through this quick list of tips to avoid problems and ensure that you bake safe. Coughs and Sneezes If you have any general feelings of being unwell, then you should steer clear of baking or any kind of food prep or decoration. Produce/Ingredients Dented cans, torn packaging, cracked eggs or out of date ingredients should never be used in bakes unless it is for...
Blind baking or baking blind is the term used to bake pastry or a pie crust in the oven without any filling. To assist with this process, the pastry is weighed down with baking/greaseproof paper and some form of ceramic beans, uncooked rice or pulses while it bakes. Reasons why we blind bake: Pre baking the base allows it to set so that a cold filling can then be poured into it. The shortcrust pastry is pre-cooked because the filling that's added has a shorter cooking time or lower...
You'll sometimes notice that cupcakes and muffins can go stale rather quickly. Therefore to combat, the problem I've put together a few ways to enhance your bakes and keep them moister and fresher for longer. Hand mixing cupcakes - This is sometimes the best method to use as you control how much mixing occurs. The trick is to lightly work the batter until it has combined. By doing so, you prevent the mixture from being overworked, which in turn stops the cakes becoming dense and heavy...
If you are making a bundt cake and are worried that the cake may not slide out in one go (because you cannot line it), then make sure you do the following steps to allow for a stress-free bake. 1. Grease the tin/pan thoroughly with a cake release spray or using a pastry brush put melted butter, vegetable oil or shortening into all the crevices of the tin. You then have the following options for coating:- a) Add a little flour to the greased tin and shake out any excess. b) If you are...
If you are having problems with scones not rising properly, and they're not looking as gorgeous as you had hoped then here are a couple of reasons as to why your scones may not be rising properly. Cut Straight - When cutting out your scones always ensure that you cut them straight down. If you twist the cutter, you run the risk of binding the dough together, thus preventing your scones from rising properly. Another reason may also be... Egg Wash - If you brush the top of your scones...
If you have ever had problems with cake leaning or tilting, then you may wish to have a glance at this post to see if any of the following explanations can give you a clue as to why this has happened and tips on how to prevent it. Trapped air/settling - this happens when air pockets form after the cake layers have been stacked and then begin to settle. To prevent this, try using a thicker buttercream/filling to help the cake support its own structure and weight. Another solution is to...
As a rule, I would not opt to store iced or fondant covered cakes in the fridge because they will sweat and go sticky. Cakes that have been filled with buttercream can be stored at room temperature. If a cake requires a filling that needs to be refrigerated, then it shouldn't be covered in icing/sugarpaste/fondant. To keep cakes clean and cool store them in a cardboard box and place them in the coldest/driest places in your kitchen until required.
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