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Hints, Tips and Tools (6 Viewers)

Baking tips, helpful hints, how to guides, decorating, tools & their uses...
Always ensure that if you are melting chocolate using a bain-marie and, that no water or steam comes in to contact with chocolate whatsoever. If it does, it will cause the chocolate to 'seize' and will become a thick mass of clumps. In order to rescue 'seized' chocolate simply add a little cream or vegetable oil until your chocolate has returned to a smooth consistency.
If you are adding flavour to your cake mix /buttercream etc. only add a teaspoon or a few drops at a time, stir/whisk into your mix and then taste test. You can always add in stages until it tastes to your liking. Remember, you can always add in, but you can't take out! :) Also see: https://www.helpmebake.com/threads/how-to-test-your-cake-flavours-before-baking.1189/
In order to perfect your piping skills simply practice on the side of a cake tin until you’re confident enough piping onto the side of a cake. If you do it wrong (using buttercream) simply scrape it off the tin, place it back in your piping bag and try again! This tip was provided courtesy of Lorelie from Wedding-cakes-for-you.com.
If you run out of piping bags at home, then an easy solution would be to use a plastic food bag or a ziplock bag as an alternative. Just snip a corner, add a nozzle and then add your frosting. If they're a little flimsy, you could always double bag the mixture. :)
If you have run out of self-raising flour and only have plain flour in your cupboard then you can make self-raising flour by adding plain flour and baking powder together. Method:- 1. For every 110 grams of Plain Flour (used) add 1 rounded teaspoon of Baking Powder. Either that or check the instructions on the side of your baking powder tub.
There is only one secret ingredient that I add to any of my cakes or bakes, so whether I'm baking with my daughter or making something for somebody else then I always remember to a sprinkle a little LOVE to the batter mix prior to placing it in the oven. I was surprised at the difference this made to my cakes and bakes and I usually find this makes them taste much better. Passion and perseverance are the key to great bakes! :D
If you do not use all your icing fondant or sugarpaste and wish to keep it; then store it in an airtight food bag, or ziplock bag with all the air removed and then store in a cool, dry place/cupboard. If you do wrap your icing fondant or sugarpaste in cling film or saran wrap ensure you place it in an airtight container or additional sealed food bag as cling film breathes and will cause your icing or fondant to possibly sweat, crack or go hard. However, if you do the additional measures and seal it correctly, it will last as long as the expiry date on the packaging. Never store icing in the fridge as it sweats.
Here is a set of Wilton Tools and their uses. They are listed in the order they are shown in the box. Palette Knife Can be used to aid lifting delicate items such as petals, flowers and assist in placement on your cake. It will also assist you in removing icing that has stuck to a surface without tearing it. Modelling Stick #1 & #2 These sticks are used for creating filler flowers, frilling the edges of petals and may be used as a very mini rolling pin if you have very thin icing. Small & Large Veining Tool The veining tool is used to enhance your petals and makes thin/thick marks on your flower petals or leaves. You could also use it to score a wiggly line in your icing. Shell Tool & Knife The shell tool makes a decorative border...
Cupcake dummies are used to help you perfect your decorating techniques. 1. If you cover the centre with sticky tape, you can then pipe over them and enhance your piping skills. If you do it wrong, simply scoop the buttercream off your dummies, place it back in your piping bag and then start again. 2. You can also cover the dummies in icing fondant by adding a little water to the surface and then cutting out some icing fondant circles. You can then have lots of fun creating multiple designs on the surface of the dummies. https://www.helpmebake.com/threads/how-to-make-easy-alien-cupcake-toppers-tutorial.2051/ https://www.helpmebake.com/forums/easy-cupcake-toppers.41/...
If you are a keen baker then measuring spoons are a great addition to your equipment. The spoons are connected via a loop and range in size from a tablespoon down to a ¼ of a teaspoon. They are used for measuring out both liquids and dry ingredients and can be purchased at any supermarket or a cake supply store.
The difference between cupcakes and muffins is the fact that Muffins are larger in size and depth. Therefore, when baking please ensure you use the correct tin or tray. Below is a picture of both a cupcake and muffin tin. The silver one is the one used to bake small cupcakes (fairy cakes) and the black one is used to bake muffins.
I have listed the converted baking temperatures for you:- Gas Mark 1 - 150°C Electric - 300F Gas Mark 2 - 160°C Electric - 320F Gas Mark 3 - 170°C Electric - 338F Gas Mark 4 - 180°C Electric - 356F Gas Mark 5 - 190°C Electric - 374F Gas Mark 6 - 200°C Electric - 392F Gas Mark 7 - 210°C Electric - 410F Gas Mark 8 - 220°C Electric - 428F Gas Mark 9 - 240°C Electric - 464F
This tool is used for modelling and adding effects to your icing/fondant. It has three interchangeable wheels that create quilting, stitching, zig-zag designs etc. Please see my Lemon Flower Cupcakes for some effects.
When grating a Lemon ensure that you only lightly grate the peel (zest) which is the yellow bright colour of the citrus fruit. Do not grate down to the inner white layer which is called the PITH as this has a bitter taste and will affect the taste of your bake. The above picture shows how far into the fruit you should grate to if the fruit appears white or you have grated to the flesh of the fruit then you have grated too much. Tip: If you grate finely and constantly rotate the fruit you will be less likely to hit the pith.

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