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What are your top baking tips? Share your top cheats, shortcuts and tips with Flora and you could win a £200 John Lewis voucher NOW CLOSED

(180 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Nov-13 15:25:07

Flora have asked us to find out about Mumsnetters top baking tips and tricks.

Here's what Flora have to say, "At Flora were real fans of baking, but we're always on the lookout for tips and cheats to speed up the creation of cakes. We'd love to hear how you fit time to bake into your busy lives and how you make your cakes extra special with brilliant decorating designs that wow. (We'd also love to see photos of your creations, and we're running a great competition over on our Facebook page with some fantastic prizes, so pop over and upload your pics for a chance to win!)"

What are your top baking tips? Do you take any shortcuts when baking? Maybe you buy ready-made icing? Perhaps you use pastry from a packet? Or do you prefer making everything from scratch? Have you ever bought a cake and pretended that you baked it yourself?

Whatever your top baking tricks are, Flora would love to hear them.

Everyone who posts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £200 John Lewis voucher (in time for Christmas).

Please note your comments may be included on Flora's social media channels, and possibly elsewhere, so please only post if you're comfortable with this.

Thanks and good luck,
MNHQ

BlackberrySeason Wed 13-Nov-13 20:00:47

I've only discovered recently how fast it is to make my own pastry from scratch. So no more packaged pastry for me! smile

CrewElla Wed 13-Nov-13 21:11:33

My top tip is to use parchment paper to line tins, pans, & cookie sheets; it makes clean up so much easier.

I make a deal with dh when he wants a home made cake. I'll bake one if he does the washing up!!

choccyp1g Wed 13-Nov-13 21:21:53

I can tell you one thing; I've never used Flora for cooking, and am not likely to start.
However...
My top tip is if there is a cake recipe that you use a lot, experiment a bit to make it easier. I have a favourite cake that involves whipping egg whites, creaming butter, melting chocolate plus a few other steps, all in separate bowls, then combining it all in the order precisely designed to coat EVERY pan with mess.
I accidently did it in the wrong order and it came out exactly the same.
Next time, I joined a couple of steps together and it came out exactly the same.
Since then I have combined a few more steps every time, and only one has made any difference to the end result.

MadMonkeys Wed 13-Nov-13 21:27:01

Me too Blackberry, I'm a recent convert to making my own pastry and it is so easy, I wish I'd tried ages ago! And it is Trex all the way with pastry (sorry Flora!).

I use 'magic carpet' non stick baking sheets for loads of things - cookies, biscuits, bread rolls... They can be reused loads and loads and loads. Also, parchment tin liners are great for things like loaf cakes.

I've got a rubbery plastic spatula that is brilliant for getting the cake mixture out of the bowl and into the tin with virtually no waste. This also means I have virtually no waist...

HootyMcOwlface Thu 14-Nov-13 13:12:13

My top tip, when you don't have time for proper baking, is to use icing pens to decorate ready made cupcakes or biscuits/gingerbread men. Me and DH have had some good fun doing this for each others birthdays, or occasions like when one of us has had a promotion at work. So much fun, and the sillier the designs, the better!

MothershipG Thu 14-Nov-13 18:08:26

I love my pre-cut baking paper liners, I have them for my sponge tins and my loaf tins, I love being able to pop them in and not faff about with the scissors!

Helliecopter Thu 14-Nov-13 18:27:27

My top tip is to buy yourself an in-oven thermometer (not very expensive, about £3) and don't rely on the thermostat on the outside to get the correct temperature. It's amazing how much ovens can vary! Getting the right temperature is crucial for great bakes, particularly small cakes.

Helliecopter Thu 14-Nov-13 18:30:25

And also, concentrate on flavours. It can be so disappointing when you get a beautifully presented and decorated cake but the flavour is boring and uninspired. For me, it's all about flavour so play around. Get stuck in with the lemons, mint, chocolate, liquorice, rose...whatever you fancy!

Suddengeekgirl Thu 14-Nov-13 18:39:26

I always forget to take the butter out, but 10 seconds in the microwave sorts that. smile

Having a kitchenaid mixer (or any stand mixer) makes a lot of jobs quicker. smile Still one of my favourite ever birthday presents!

BlackberrySeason Thu 14-Nov-13 19:37:39

Ooh yes mad - I am also using trex grin

SaltySeaBird Thu 14-Nov-13 21:15:25

I love baking!

I do always buy pastry though. My top tip when making biscuits is to freeze some of the dough in small discs. You can pop them in the oven and have fresh home made biscuits in no time at all (with no washing up).

ParkerTheThief Thu 14-Nov-13 21:25:27

Put cake mix into warm tins, I'm not sure why but it always makes them rise beautifully.

manfalou Thu 14-Nov-13 21:33:06

Use greaseproof paper and if you're having a 'serious' baking session i.e. not mainly for the kids but they still want to join in, let them have their own ingredients to mess with. My LO gets bored half way through so this keeps him happy for the time he's interested if we're baking for a cake stall or something.

sharond101 Thu 14-Nov-13 21:46:53

Write the size of tins on the bottom of the tin in permanent marker so it's easy to find the size you need when you are covered in flour and in a hurry.

LegoCaltrops Thu 14-Nov-13 21:51:14

I use silicone lining sheets rather than greaseproof paper for lining flat trays, I also have the pre-cut reusable silicone cake tin liners. So much easier, and mine have lasted many years so far.

For pastry I use half butter & half hard cooking margarine (or all butter if it's for something decadent). Use about a quarter self-raising flour, three quarters plain flour, it just gives the pastry a bit of lightness.

I really dislike oily cakes (eg carrot cake) so I just replace the oil in the recipe with the same weight of butter & gently melt it before adding to the mix. No hassle & no more oily cakes!

CakeMonster100 Thu 14-Nov-13 22:31:21

I've recently discovered that you can cook cakes quickly in the microwave! Put a generous squirt of golden syrup in a large microwavable bowl, add a simple sponge cake mix on top and cook for approx. 7 minutes in the microwave for an awesome golden syrup sponge without having to have the oven on for ages.

It's also our dessert of choice when we go camping where we've got an electric hook up but no oven.

telsa Fri 15-Nov-13 09:20:28

I have recently discovered ready made pastry...even croissants in a can! but I feel terrible using it. Did use some samosa sheets recently, as I figure that really thin stuff, like the Filo pastry, is just too hard for most mortals.

I wouldn't attempt to bake if I didn't have all of the right kit. Our Kenwood Chef is a 1970s hand-me-down, but going strong and I just bought the lid attachment so that I can add icing sugar or flour without covering the kitchen. Ready cut circles of baking parchment are great.

MrsKwazii Fri 15-Nov-13 14:20:10

Baking is a science, not an art, so follow recipes carefully to get the right result. Digital scales are a Godsend to help with this and aren't expensive anymore. They've made a huge difference to my baking.

AnnaConda Fri 15-Nov-13 14:31:47

Top cheat for a fancy home-made birthday cake for dc:

Buy several Madeira cakes. Chop into pieces to form the shape of whatever you want to create - we have done a dog and a fish, amongst others.

It will look a bit of a mess at this stage but then you cover it with a thick layer of ready-made buttercream icing and then go to town with decorations, eg using various sweets and ready-made coloured icing to make the dog's eyes and tongue.

Queen of the Ready-Made

gingganggooly Fri 15-Nov-13 14:41:19

When a recipe calls for melted butter (ie flapjacks, gingerbread men, brownies), I always melt the flora in the microwave, sooooo much quicker and neater!

TwoMs Fri 15-Nov-13 14:41:42

When making short crust pastry I always wash my hands in cold water prior to rubbing the fat into the flour. It makes a perfect breadcrumb consistency. I also use a mixture of margarine & lard. Everyone seems to comment on how good it is smile

LaTrucha Fri 15-Nov-13 14:45:50

Whe cooking with little children I have discovered that with simple baking exact proportions and methods don't make that much difference. It makes life a lot more fun!

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