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I have never baked before - what are your top tips?

(64 Posts)

I have bought muffin tray, baking sheet, wire cooling rack, baking powder, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla essence.
And those paper fairy cake things - do you bake the mixture inside them, inside a muffin tray?

Have in cupboard currants, butter, choc drops, easy cook oats, nuts and cheese (cheese scones only thing I've ever baked). Oh, and toddler cookie cutters and rolling pin!

Also have mixing bowl, whisk and scales.
DO NOT have baking sheets (what are they? Will foil do?) and DO NOT have electric blender whisking thing so will be doing it all with spoons, whisk and fingers. In a hot country.

I don't have sweet tooth so never bothered before but now I am mum to toddler feel I ought to attempt it - things he can join in with even better ( he is mad on Peppa Pig whose mother is always baking).

EllieArroway Tue 02-Apr-13 20:18:09

Can you get an oven thermometer? Getting the exact temperature can sometimes make all the difference.

Filibear Tue 02-Apr-13 20:19:30

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Emilythornesbff Tue 02-Apr-13 20:22:48

Use the paper cases inside the muffin tin. (there are 2 sizes of case -well three but leave that for now- fairy cake and muffin).

Use eggs at room temperature

Get an oven thermometer. Knowing the temp of your oven can Make the difference between great cake and shit cake.
Always follow the recipe to the letter.

Not sure what you mean by the baking sheet question. You might need baking parchment depending on the recipe. But most biscuits can be cooked directly onto metal baking tray.

Happy baking.

noblegiraffe Tue 02-Apr-13 20:23:08

Buy a kids cook book, they have really simple instructions and cakes that are easy for children to make.

PoppyWearer Tue 02-Apr-13 20:24:41

Start with Nigella. Fairy cakes and jam tarts, designed to be made with children. Bung it all in a blender and go. I was a baking dunce about 18 months ago and Nigella saved me!

noblegiraffe Tue 02-Apr-13 20:25:57

I baked fairy cakes the other day using www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/fairycakes_93711 this recipe and they were really nice.

You'll need to buy icing sugar, maybe food colouring and sprinkles or sweets to put on top.

Muffin tin. One paper case in each one.

Preheat oven to 170.

Weigh two eggs in grams in their shells.

Weigh out the same weight each of self-raising flour, butter and sugar. Sift the sugar and the flour because it stops lumps and makes the whole thing fluffier.

Break the eggs and add them to the other ingredients and a few drops of vanilla (about 1/4 of a teaspoon). Then add a handful of raisins.

Mix together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until runny and fluffy.

Use a teaspoon to put a little bit of mixture into each case. No more than 2/3 full.

Put in oven. After twelve minutes, have a quick peek. If slightly brown on top, remove. If not, give another three minutes and repeat.

Remove from oven. Leave in tin for a few minutes until it is cool enough to touch. Then take each bun out, and leave them on a wire rack (preferably, or a chopping board) to cool completely.

Scoff. You'll be glad and proud.

Then buy the Hummingbird Bakery book. Foolproof.

FlowersBlown Tue 02-Apr-13 20:26:53

Get an electric mixer! You will get more air in which helps the cakes turn out nice and light. Also, it's not easy to beat the butter by hand. Don't try making buttercream icing without an electric mixer.

I've given up on baking.
If I say so myself, I'm a great cook, but my baking is so hit and miss, usually miss that I've stopped doing it.
DD is the baker in our house now.
What you do need is a good, reliable book, I'd suggest Mary Berry or Delia.

hypnotizingchickens Tue 02-Apr-13 20:28:58

Top tips: Don't let little one anywhere near the oven, or anything hot. I've given myself enough horrible burns over the years to know that things can be surprisingly hot.

Lay all the ingredients out on the table before you start.

Get an easy recipe off the internet. (A BBC Good Food recipe is a good bet.)

I used to get my littlie to read the recipes with me and choose what to bake. Very educational. but then I'd go all control freaky and be very sparse with what I;d actually let him do. I applaud you, but I have to admit, I found it a bit stressy.

50ShadesOfGreggs Tue 02-Apr-13 20:31:22

Weigh out your ingredients as accurately as you can.

Make sure the measurements of your cake or tart tins match the ones in the recipe.

Start looking through the oven door window to check on your cake a good 10-15 min before it is meant to be ready.

If a recipe starts with mixing butter and sugar or eggs and sugar, don't just mix until combined; give it a really good whisk (about 10 min by hand), or your cake won't rise.

Relax! If you're new to baking you are bound to have the odd disaster, just take it in your stride if it happens.

If your cake doesn't rise or is too dry, you can always slice it and make french toast with it in the morning! smile

Flossbert Tue 02-Apr-13 20:34:55

In terms of getting the toddler involved, sometimes I just make pastry. DD can roll it and squish it and cut shapes as much as she wants. Like hypnotizing, if I'm actually making something I'm going to want to eat, I find it hard to let DD get quite as involved as she'd like.

Not Nigella, her recipes never work well for me they don't Go for Mary Berry, completely fool proof!

I'm not one to big myself up but I'm an excellent baker, my tip, never beat the mixture once you've put the flour in, just fold until its all mixed in. Otherwise you will have a flat cake. hmm

Never open the door for the first 15 mins, make sure cakes are completely cool before decorating.

Last tip, enjoy x

Wow so many fab tips so fast!
Thank you all!
I'm going to see what I can do by hand that's quick and easy before I buy a mixer but when I do, what kind is best for simple stuff? I'd rather not spend heaps as I am not a serious baking fiend. Also not much space in kitchen so a thing that just zaps cake batter, folds and fluffs mixture would do...

Baking sheet doh! Yes I meant the mysterious parchment which no supermarket here seems to sell. Can I cover baking sheet with foil or lightly grease it instead? Or just not bother?

Thanks again smile going to try to when Ds in bed tomorrow night and by weekend hopefully he can join me for rolling, stirring and scattering choc drops and currant duty...

Another random question. Will flour be ok in ziplock air tight bag? I live in tropics and weevils are a problem unless things live in fridge, which I assume not good for flour?

LokiTheCynicalCat Tue 02-Apr-13 20:48:25

I second BBC Good Food and the Hummingbird Bakery, especially the latter.

I went through a baking phase instead of nesting when DS was due and by God was it good! I made HB peppermint tea cupcakes for my birthday and they were fab too, although I don't like huge amounts of frosting so I make two-thirds the amount specified in the HB book but it is plenty.

You can keep flour in the freezer in ziplock bags so fridge should be fine. Safe from water is what matters.

Not foil, it will stick. Grease and flour. Or get imports... grin Silicon paper is bombproof, and the better brands can be washed and used again.

Ooh excited now.
Jam tarts, I think I remember making them with mum. It's just pastry cut out in rings and put in muffin tray (greased first) with jam plopped in, or is that a made-up memory from 36 years ago?

JollyPurpleGiant Tue 02-Apr-13 21:04:22

Follow the recipe. Every time my baking goes wrong it is because I've changed the recipe. Once you know what you're doing you can change it.

Yes, that's it for jam tarts. I use frozen pastry and shop jam <slattern> and you can avoid greasing by using paper cake cases in a muffin tin...

Or use puff pastry and prick the centre before you put the jam on. Goes like vol-au-vents.

More dingbat questions.
Can I just use a simple hand held electric mixer and a big metal or ceramic bowl rather than a fancy system that costs loads of cash?

Basically I want to whip up fairy cakes, savory muffins, muesli bars and cookies to freeze and take to play dates and hand out as snacks/pack lunch to DH and DS. Maybe a coupes of birthday cakes.
I don't actually like baked goods much and would rather just eat cheese and apples yes I know it is a bit weird

So something that helps me make nice cake mix and pastry, that whips and folds so I dont have to crumble and rub mixture with hot hands. I think mum had a basic Kenwood thing and a crap small plastic bowl which she discarded and used a huge ceramic dish instead.

I have a bladed whizzing thing that makes smoothies and sauces and soups already. So I don't need a great big fancy food processor do I? There is only me DH and toddler DS to feed, I don't want to spend serious money but every recipe says to use a mixer.

GrandPoohBah Wed 03-Apr-13 05:39:08

Just get an electric hand mixer - there is no point in yOu buying a stand mixer if you're not a committed baker; it'll be a waste of money.

Do pastry in your blender - it's the best way, particularly in hot countries smile

Maggie111 Wed 03-Apr-13 07:41:19

I do a lot of baking - all I recommend is a small cheap electric hand held whisk. If you have the blade thingy, seriously you just need £5 on a whisk and you're all set.

My best tip is that "creaming the butter and the sugar" together means whipping it a lot more than you would think - it should go light and fluffy. If it's still yellow and lumpy it needs to go more. That's why it helps to have an electric whisk smile

Good recipes are definitely important - always get a recommendation before you start - otherwise it will put you off baking for life!

www.bbcgoodfood.com/ is a great resource!

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