7 Of My Must Know Baking Tips And Tricks - 07/02/2024

Welcome back to my blog. I wanted to give you some handy hints that I have learnt over the past year since Mimi’s Treats & Sprinkles began. They will save you a lot of time, money and tears! Honestly, in the beginning I had so many baking mishaps because I didn’t do these 7 simple things. Think of this as your cheat sheet for baking success

1. Read the recipe before starting

This seems like such a simple tip and some would say ‘well that’s just common sense’ and I agree, however, even the most sensible person (me) can often overlook this simple thing, especially when they’re eager to get on with baking! There have been several times when I have needed to, for example, pre-prepare ingredients to use in step 4 of a recipe, and because I didn’t read first I wasn’t prepared. This meant that I was faffing about at that point and getting all flustered. You do not want to be flustered while baking, it leads to so many mistakes! For the sake of a few minutes, read the recipe through before you begin. It will save you time in the long run.

2. Use good quality ingredients

Have you ever heard the saying ‘Good cake isn’t cheap, and cheap cake isn’t good’? This saying is so true. Right from the beginning I have always believed that using good quality ingredients results in a better tasting, better textured cakes, cookies etc. I have experimented with inferior substitutes to try and keep costs down for my customers. However, I could significantly tell the difference in the taste and texture. Despite my desire to make my products more budget-friendly, I can’t, in good conscience, compromise on the quality of the taste experience delivered to my valued customers. I know that not everyone will be able to buy high quality ingredients so I would advise you to buy the best quality ingredients you can within your budget.

3. Always be prepared

I think that was the boy scouts motto! Well, they knew their stuff because not preparing my ingredients and baking tins in advance led to a number of issues in the kitchen throughout the past year. So read through the list of ingredients, get them prepared on your counter and measure them before starting your recipe. You will then avoid scrambling around and rushing during the recipe process. And being prepared doesn’t just apply to your ingredients, always pre-heat your oven and prepare your baking tins, trays etc. You really don’t want to have to wait for your oven to heat up once your recipe has been mixed. It makes everything so much easier and straightforward to prepare in advance!

4. Weigh and measure your ingredients accurately

Baking is a science. For a recipe to be successful you need to have for instance a certain weight of one ingredient to a certain measure of another and sometimes ingredients need to be mixed in a particular order. Having incorrect amounts of ingredients or missing steps in the recipe can lead to catastrophe and inconsistent results. I would advise you to invest in a set of kitchen scales and measuring spoons, mine are probably the most used tools in my kitchen. If you are just starting out in baking or using a recipe for the first time then it would be best to follow recipes 100%. Don’t make any substitutions to the ingredients or process until you feel confident that you know how making those changes will impact on the end result.

5. Use the same temperature ingredients

Unless the recipe says otherwise always make sure your ingredients are the same temperature. There is always a debate about where eggs should be stored, to fridge or not to fridge? (that is a question for another time). If you keep your eggs in the fridge then be sure to take them out an hour or so before you want to use them, the same applies to butter, chocolate, milk etc. I have learnt that when baking cakes having all the ingredients at room temperature prevents curdling, will bake more evenly and overall results in the perfect bake.

6. Always use the correct temperature/consistency butter

Up until I started baking I didn’t know that the incorrect temperature of butter could have such an impact on the texture of cakes etc. So, it is important to follow what the recipe suggests. There are 3 types of consistencies of butter that recipes usually call for.

  · Most advise you to use room temperature butter (this is so ambiguous, your environment could be melting hot or freezing cold). When they say ‘room temp’ they mean butter that is cool to the touch and when you press it your finger will make an indent. It will not be slippery and your finger will not sink into the butter.

  · Chilled butter is butter that has been refrigerated for enough time that it is cold to touch and hard, you should not be able to easily make an indent with your finger when pressed

  · Melted butter should be liquefied and lukewarm. If your melted butter is too hot it can cook the eggs in your batter

7. Invest in an oven thermometer

One of the biggest problems with baking is ensuring that you bake at the correct temperature. You would think that when you set your oven to a certain temperature your oven will bake at that exact temperature. Oh no! nothing can be that easy. Your oven, like mine is probably inaccurate. Mine runs about 20°C too hot so when I first began baking I would set my oven to 170°C, set my timer and return to cakes that were way over baked, I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I brought an oven thermometer and realised what was happening. Oven thermometers are relatively inexpensive but they are invaluable in the kitchen. An inaccurate oven can ruin your baked goods, waste the hours spent on the recipe and the money spent on ingredients.

So there you have it, my 7 top baking tips that will hopefully save you time and money and result in delicious cakes. Happy baking!