Please can you help a very novice baker?

(15 Posts)
listsandbudgets Wed 27-Apr-16 15:53:10

I have not baked since I was made to in home economics at school but feel its time to try after all I am 40 I should be able to bake a cake. If nobody minds I shall occasionally come back to this thread to ask for advice about my failures. Please feel free to treat me as ignorant and needing things explained in very simple words grin

Last night I tried making some little fairy cakes with chocolate chips in them. They turned out quite well but all the chips sunk to the bottom. How can I stop that happening please? also they didn't turn out easily despite me greasing all the little holes in the baking tray (muffin tray?) so lots of them stuck and came out odd shapes. I used butter - should I use oil, use more, less, baked them longer?

Also please can someone help me with a really easy recipe I can try for biscuits as I'd love to be able to make my own.

Thank you

Vilio Wed 27-Apr-16 16:00:12

I'm no expert but I like making fairy cakes and cookies.
Did you use a muffin tin and paper cases?
If you just used one or the other on its own, then its possible the cakes didn't take a good shape.
The choc chips might have sunk because of their weight. I'd try putting them on top or even just below the surface so they don't burn on top. They will still sink a bit but maybe not so much.

What kind of biscuits do you want to make? And Chewy or crunchy?

LittlePoot Wed 27-Apr-16 16:05:30

With a metal baking tray, you definitely need paper cake cases to keep the cakes to shape and get them out of the tin. I have got a silicone "tin" (wobbly and rubbery, not hard like a tin) and that is OK on its own, but otherwise cake cases all the way. Fruit and chocolate chips always sink for me too and I've been baking years. I vaguely remember something about oven temperature making a difference, but I've never been bothered enough to find out! Just sticking them in near the top before baking sounds worth a go.

listsandbudgets Wed 27-Apr-16 16:13:22

Cake cases blush. Never occurred to me to use them. I'll add tehm to my shopping list. Yes it was a metal baking tray I will investigate silicone ones.

Next lot of chocolate chips can go on top.

I don't really know what kind of biscuits I want - just simple ones really smile

lavendersun Wed 27-Apr-16 16:21:03

I find cakes much more moist than fairy cakes - love the use of 'fairy cakes' Lists, you must be from my generation!! I have a square tin that I can ice in the tin and cut into neat squares which I find so much easier.

I must be clumsy because I can never get the mixture in the paper cases without it spilling on the edge/down the tin.

I also find that using 4/3 of the recommended ingredients makes a better sized cake, so if my recipe was for 6oz butter, sugar, flour and three eggs I would do 8oz and four eggs.

Not sure about the chocolate chips and biscuits - for recipes I tend to use good food online unless I have got one I love.

I didn't bake a cake until I was 40 either - when I had a toddler who couldn't eat dairy and eggs I had to make them. They were quite grim to begin with but now I can use eggs and dairy they are very edible.

steppemum Wed 27-Apr-16 16:28:13

Ok, I hate silicone baking trays, I think metal ones and paper cases are much much easier.
When you buy them, be careful what you get. There are fairy cake cases (small) and then muffin cases and cup cake cases (about the same size) You probably have a muffin tin, so get muffin cases.

For any metal cake tin, the secret is oil plus flour. use butter/oil smeared all over the surface. then put some flour in on top and tap the tin until it has stuck all over to the oil. This make the tine pretty much non stick. Don't use any low fat/light spreads for cooking or oiling the tin.

Chips sinking - this is because the mixture was a bit wet. It should be soft, but not runny. You can always add a bit more flour as long as you mix it in well.
Remember to pre-heat the oven, so the cakes go in when it is hot. If they start off too slowly, that will make chips sink.

Other nice things with fairy cakes - a teaspoon or two of cinnamon, and a grated apple mixed in - yum. (add a handful of sultanas too if you like them)

steppemum Wed 27-Apr-16 16:34:54

sorry - second paragraph should say
The secret for greasing any metal tin ...

lavendar - you are using a basic Victoria sponge recipe, and you can make it any size. You need to find the size that fits with your tin.

eg
1 egg: 2oz sugar: 2oz flour: 2oz butter
2eggs: 4oz sugar: 4 oz flour : 4 oz butter
3 eggs: 6 oz sugar: 6 oz flour: 6 oz butter

I even have a large flat tin which I make a tray bake in, and I just do:

10 eggs: 20 oz sugar: 20 oz flour: 20 oz butter

but that wouldn't work in a round tin, the middle would take too long to cook

Lulooo Wed 27-Apr-16 16:49:59

Coat the chocolate chips in flour before adding them to the mix. It works when adding fruit. Not sure about chocolate chips.

lavendersun Wed 27-Apr-16 18:11:27

Yes, I know steppe, but what I mean is that I don't find most recipes fill the tin enough - delia's victoria sponge for instance - I prefer a deeper cake than most recipes seem to provide for their suggested tin dimensions.

Byrdie Wed 27-Apr-16 18:22:58

Just leave out the chocolate chips. Cover them in melted chocolate if you like but a cupcake doesn't need choc chips. You can flavour it with chocolate powder or make choc chip biscuits or muffins which are a thicker mix so the chips stay suspended. My top tips for baking - only ever use room temperature eggs, preheat your oven and use a stick to check if cakes are done. I also have a decent set of digital scales that can tare and a good electic mixer. Plus cake release spray has saved me on many occasions.

Byrdie Wed 27-Apr-16 18:24:12

Lavender - theres a good post online where someone worked out cake recipes for different sized tins. It's really helpful when making big birthday cakes. I'll see if i can find and link it...

BertrandRussell Wed 27-Apr-16 18:25:20

What sort of biscuits do you want to make? Roll and cut out or cookie type?

Byrdie Wed 27-Apr-16 18:28:59

http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/2013/08/11/how-to-adapt-a-cake-recipe-for-different-size-tins-and-a-10-madeira-cake-recipe/

Plus I have a really easy biscuit recipe i use with the kids... Hang on...

Byrdie Wed 27-Apr-16 18:33:57

175g butter or marg ( i use spreadable lurpac)
50g caster sugar
50g icing sugar
1 egg
Teaspoon of cinnamon or vanilla if you prefer
300g plain flour

Mix butter / marg with both sugars till creamy. Mix in the egg. Add spice and flour. Roll out on a well floured surface once you've got a firm dough. Use cutters. Alternatively you can just roll them into shapes and dispense with the whole rolling out. Bake on metal trays (you can line with baking paper but i don't bother) in a 180 degree over for about 8 - 10 mins. Leave to cool and that's it. Really simple and taste like shortbread.

BITCAT Wed 27-Jul-16 21:51:24

Very simple and kids love decorating them too. The traybake is really easy..you just mix everything together bake then cool and decorate. I used a lemon buttercream and smarties. The gingerbread men just need some jelly tots and some icing kids love doing them. I will find recipes tomoz and post them for you.

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