A lot of people tell me that they just can’t bake!! They love to cook but when it comes to baking it never turns out! My first reply is you need to have patience, you can’t rush baking! The second is using the right ingredients and equipment is key to successful baking.
I want to take a moment and let you in on a few important ingredients and tools that make a huge difference when it comes to baking.
When it comes to butter, don’t cheap out! Butter is where a lot of your flavour comes from, especially in something as simple as buttercream icing. There’s nothing worse than having a delicious cake or cupcake and topping it off with weak tasting icing, eww! Also, cheap butter breaks down poorly causing insufficient and uneven baking.
Chocolate can be expensive, but you get what you pay for and is similar to butter in that flavour and quality will make or break a recipe. I use Lindt in all my baking, from truffles, and brownies to icing. I buy Lindt’s milk, white, and 70% dark chocolate and store it in the freezer. It has a nice finish and is easy to work with. Be careful when buying chocolate and cocoa powder that you are actually buying chocolate. There is a lot of ‘chocolate’ out there that isn’t actually chocolate but are ‘melts’ and is more like a wax.
3. Milk and Cream
Always remember full fat is better for baking! Use full milk, creams and of course buttermilk. Let’s face it, if you’re eating sweets, you might as well enjoy them! Less fat at this point isn’t going to make a big difference in calories- only in the quality of the dessert!
4. Stand Mixer
This can be a big investment, but you won’t regret it, I promise! A good quality mixer will last you a long time and will make your life much easier in the kitchen. My favourite is the Kitchen Aid line (KitchenAid K45SSOB Classic 4.5 Quart Stand Mixer, Onyx Black). There are certain recipes that just won’t compare when using a weak mixer (or handheld), like meringues! My Kitchen Aid mixer helps whip up my egg whites, light and fluffy in no time!
5. Ice Cream Scoops
Hit your local kitchen shop and invest in at least one large and one small ice cream scoop. This will help with making all your batches of cupcakes, cookies, and dough consistent in size, resulting in even baking and a more professional finish.
6. Parchment Paper
It’s a simple product but don’t underestimate it! It helps for even baking and helps cookies, brownies, and cakes from sticking to pans, makes for an easy clean-up, it creates a thin layer between the baking sheet that helps regulate the temperature,. Using parchment paper is also great so you don’t have to use extra fat to line pans. Depending on what you’re baking you can also reuse the paper. Not to mention, you can easily fold the paper to make a piping bag!
Other Useful Ingredients & Tools for Bakingfor Bakers
- Coarse Sugar
- Good Quality Pure Vanilla Extract
- Food Processor
- Offset Spatulas
- Dough Scraper
- Cake Turntable
- Piping Bags
- One Tart Pan, Bundt Pan, Spring Form Pan
There is a lot more we can talk about, but for now, we’ll start here. I’ll post a few more tips to help make baking a stress-free and fun pastime. And before you’ll know it you be saying I love baking and I’m pretty good at it too!