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Hints, Tips and Tools (2 Viewers)

Baking tips, helpful hints, how to guides, decorating, tools & their uses...

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If you find your sugarpaste, icing or fondant is too pliable, overworked and is too gooey (for want of a better technical term) and you need to revive it then all you need to do is this. By adding smalls amounts of either CMC, gum tragacanth or Tylo powder and kneading it in, it will begin to slightly harden your sugar paste and bring it back to life.
 
To ensure that your egg whites foam please do the following:- 1. Use a clean bowl. 2. Use eggs at room temperature. 3. Ensure that NO amount of yolk is in your egg whites if there is the slightest bit of yolk your eggs will not foam. 4. Use an electric whisk on full speed, the foaming will happen over the course of five to ten minutes. 5. You cannot foam egg whites manually the speed from the beaters allows you to froth the whites by trapping the air and increasing their volume.
 
A few tips for chocolate moulds are, always rest the mould on a tray before you fill it! If you don't, the mould will bow under the weight of the chocolate and leak all over making a mess. By using the tray, you are creating a support system which allows you to move the moulds more freely and easily to the fridge. Once you have poured the melted chocolate into the silicone mould (only fill them about two thirds full to start with) either tap it on your kitchen work surface or slightly...
 
To keep your cheesecake base from crumbling, you may wish to add a little melted chocolate to your biscuit and butter base. This will help solidify the mixture together, making it crunchier and help keep it stuck together when slicing.
 
When using moulds with icing fondant it is best to lightly dust them with cornflour rather than icing/confectioners sugar. This is because cornflour sits on the top of the mould and ensures the icing does not stick allowing it to release easier. Icing sugar or confectioners sugar is known to absorb into icing and can cause the icing fondant to stick in the ridges of the mould. Cornflour is also known to leave dust marks on dark colours such as black, red, green etc therefore if you do use...
 
When baking, I tend to opt for whatever sugar I have available in the cupboard, however certain sugars assist with your baking process and help you create better results. So if you wish to enhance your baking and end up with crumbly cookies and super light sponges then here is a quick rundown of what sugars you should use. Icing or Confectioners Sugar is used to make the buttercream, royal icing, glace icing and can also be used for dusting your work surface before rolling out icing...
 
A skewer is a metal, plastic or wooden stick that is used for a variety of things when baking or cooking. A metal skewer is pointed at one end and has a handle or a rounded-off end at the other which enables you to hold it. These are inserted into a baking cake to see if the middle has completely baked. If the skewer comes out gooey with cake residue on it then the cake is not yet baked, however, if the skewer comes out clean then cake is baked and can be removed from the oven. A...
 
To check if airbrush colours are okay to buy then tip them upside down if it takes the liquid longer than a few seconds to reach the top then don’t buy them because the liquid is too thick!
 
To prevent excessive crumbling when you are carving a cake ensure the cake you are using is very cold or slightly frozen as this will assist in the reduction of crumbs and help you have a better finish.
 
To help bananas stay fresher in your fruit bowl simply wrap the cluster part of the bananas, i.e. the top part where they are grouped together with clingfilm (saran wrap) and then place them on top of your fruit or hang them on your bowl. When you remove a banana to eat simply tighten the clingfilm back around the cluster part. By wrapping this section, the bananas will ripen at a much slower pace.
 
If you add cornflour to chopped up processed strawberries before adding them to cake batter, it absorbs the moisture and water and won't make your cupcakes soggy. :)
 
Here is a quick way to clean up all those little pieces of extra icing fondant from your silicone mat, without dropping them all over the floor! Simply get an extra piece of icing fondant and press that into the smaller the pieces on your mat, the small pieces will squash into your bigger piece and collect quite quickly thus leaving you with an icing fondant free mat. You can also use it to absorb any excess icing sugar too.
 
Store eggs point side DOWN! Eggs on the bottom of a bowl of water are FAB to use! Eggs that stand up on the bottom of a jug of water are good. Eggs that are floating are rubbish and should not be used.
 
Ground almonds are made by grinding ground sweet almonds in a food processor or blender. Once the untoasted almonds have been processed, they will look like a fluffy powdery type ingredient. What are flaked almonds? These are sliced blanched almonds. What are blanched almonds? These are almonds that have had their skins removed. How do I blanch almonds? 1. Place your raw almonds into a pan of boiling water. 2. Leave them in there for 60 seconds. (If you leave them any longer they...
 
When you are covering a cake with icing fondant, buttercream or any frosting, you will need to ensure that the cake does not slide or move. In order to keep the cake in place simply put a blob of buttercream, frosting or jam on the middle of your cake board and place your cake on top. This will act as an adhesive between the cake and the board and will ensure your cake stays in its place while you decorate. If you have any excess showing on the board, then remove it with a slightly...
 
Make your cookie dough and roll the cookies into shape. Chill them in the fridge for about 30 mins before placing in the oven. By chilling the dough beforehand, you will stop your cookies from spreading when they bake. This is because you are solidifying the fat in the dough, so when the cookies bake the butter in the mixture takes longer to melt than standard room temperature butter, thus holding the shape of the cookie for longer and preventing it from spreading. To prevent additional...
 
Frozen or Cold Ingredients - Frozen butter, cold ingredients and cold bowls are a key factor in making the perfect pastry. People often place their mixing bowl in the freezer prior to making pastry to ensure that it is created in the coldest environment possible. (That's if it will fit).:D Others have been known to chill the flour and freeze the butter before use. Mixing by Hand - If you are mixing by hand then ensure your hands are cold before rubbing the ingredients together. Run them...
 
If you place your cupcakes on a damp tea towel before piping, they will stay in place and allow you to pipe more freely.
 
As a general rule please note that cake boards that are purchased from supermarkets or cake stores are disposable and should not be reused. However, if required, you can actually purchase reusable cake boards. They are made from acrylic or perspex are food safe and can be purchased from cake stores, eBay, Amazon and even plastic manufacturers. These are very chic and work well with stacked wedding cakes and showpieces.
 
Do you find that your butter sticks to the knife when you are cutting it into cubes? If so there is a little trick you can do to prevent this, simply sprinkle a little flour onto the butter and this will prevent it from sticking to the knife thus making making your cubing process much more easier.
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