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Completely new to baking. What do I need? What is easy to start with?

(30 Posts)
StockingFullOfCoal Sat 01-Aug-15 16:55:07

I currently have a madeira cake in the oven. It looks okay so far

I've never baked anything other than those crap box things with the DCs.

What are essential pieces of kit?

Where's best for ingredients?

What are easy recipes to get me started?

TheSpottedZebra Sat 01-Aug-15 17:08:30

The easiest is the old 4 4 4 2 cake. Or scaled up and down versions.

It's 4 ounces of each of self raising flour, fat (butter or marg will both work), and sugar. And 2 eggs. Mix it all together and bake, as fairy cakes or as big cakes. Scale down to 2 2 2 1, or 6 6 6 3 etc.

So that's your basic cake. You can take some flour out and replace with cocoa powder to make a choc version.

To make that recipe nicer or for any basic cake really, cream the fat and the sugar together til the sugar has dissolved and it goes a bit pale and fluffy. You can't mix too much at this stage. Then add in the eggs separately, mixing well after each, and maybe adding a spoon if the flour amount with each egg to stop it curdling. You can mix that pretty well too. You really want to add in the flour quite gently, folding if poss, to keep the lovely air that you've worked into the fat/sugar/egg mix. You don't want to mix it with the full flour amount much at all.

Bunbaker Sat 01-Aug-15 17:09:07

A basic Victoria sponge recipe is good because you can vary the flavourings to make chocolate cake, coffee and walnut cake, lemon cake, orange cake etc.

The most essential kit you need is the correct size cake tins, some baking parchment circles, an electric hand mixer and a good recipe book.

I suggest you buy 2 x 7" sandwich tins to start with, and Mary Berry's baking bible.

Basic Ingredients:
Self raising flour
baking powder
caster sugar
Butter or Stork margarine (I usually use tub Stork and my cakes are much sought after)
Large eggs
Vanilla extract (not flavouring - it hasn't been anywhere near a vanilla bean)

I just buy the above at any supermarket.

The key things to remember when baking are: use the correct size tin, measure your ingredients exactly and bake at the correct temperature. Baking is far more scientific than other cooking and you can't just cobble something together and hope for the best.

Good luck.

Bunbaker Sat 01-Aug-15 17:11:15

I always use the all-in-one method for making sponge cakes these days as it is quicker and easier than the creaming method. Just add some baking powder to the basic mix and throw all the ingredients in at once. Only mix until thoroughly combined and don't over-mix because it will develop the gluten in the flour and the cake won't rise.

TheSpottedZebra Sat 01-Aug-15 17:14:34

Other recipes depend on what you like, really! I actually find muffins quite hard to make, as they can be over mixed in a jiffy. Flapjack is lovely and easy, and there's an easy recipe on here.

Kit you'd need a couple of bowls, and some scales. Make sure that the bowls have a base that fits in the weighing bit of the scales, makes it easy to stick the bowl on the scales and add bits in. A wooden spoon, a silicone spatula thing, and maybe a hand mixer - cheap is fine. Perhaps a set of teaspoon measures,a nd cup measures if you're likely to do American recipes. Ooh, and a measuring jug.

Then a 12 hole bun tin, and pick a size of sandwich tin, eg 7 or 8 inches. Loose bottomed good. Then maybe a bigger, deeper, springform tin , which is the one that you unbuckle the side from. And maybe a flat, tray bake type tin if you think you might cook that kind of thing.

Pipbin Sat 01-Aug-15 17:14:40

I agree with all of the above.

Can I also suggest a couple of good size bowls and a measuring jug. It's worth having two bowls because you might well need to mix dry in one and wet in the other for example.
Also, good scales.

And, get to know your oven. Many ovens cook hotter on one side than on the other.

I agree with the Mary Berry book. Good honest recipes, nothing fancy or scary.

PurpleDaisies Sat 01-Aug-15 17:29:42

I'd add a 2lb loaf tin (and liners) to to your shopping list. Then you can do all manner of delicious things like banana bread, lemon drizzle cake etc.

I made this for breakfast and it was quick easy and delicious...

Also with a loaf tin you can do the easiest cake ever that keeps for a week without going dry (alledly!).

Tip one pot of yoghurt (full fat standard pot of basically anything-I usually use natural yogurt) into a bowl. Use the empty pot to measure out one pot of sunflower oil, two pots of caster sugar, three pots of self raising flour. Add three eggs and a splash of vanilla extract. Mix, put in the tin and bake at gas mark four for about an hour.
Variations include adding a pot of dedicated coconut to the mixture and sprinkling some on top when it is in the tin so it gets lovely and toasty. I've also added lemon or orange zest instead of the vanilla, or chocolate chips. Basically add whatever you want and it usually tastes nice.

StockingFullOfCoal Sat 01-Aug-15 17:37:01

Thanks grin You lot are fab.

I dug out my old WW digital scales, new battery in and they're great. Electric hand mixer, grabbed one from ALDI last week. American cup spoons and tbsp/tsp spoons, got.

Its just occured to me that I have no jug confused Wonder where thats gone?! will probably find it under DDs bed Have written the rest down. Mary Berry book on my Amazon wish list (emailing it to DH shortly for our wedding anniversary which is in a fortnight!)

I've never been able to crack baking, and I've made it my mission to get it nailed between now and Christmas. I need a hobby and I do love it, despite being utter rubbish at it!

MrsAukerman Sat 01-Aug-15 17:40:37

Silicon bakeware has been a revelation for me. No more stuck cakes because I've forgotten to grease or line metal cake tins.

PotteringAlong Sat 01-Aug-15 17:42:34

And great British bake off starts on Monday too for some inspiration!

PurpleDaisies Sat 01-Aug-15 17:44:56

The BBC good food website is brilliant for free recipes which often have comments from users who've tried them and have helpful tips on whether the cooking time is right or if anything needs adjusting.

For learning really easy delicious recipes look no further than the cheap and cheerful be-ro baking book. I've had several copies over the last 20 years and still use it more than the dozens of celeb books I but. Great for basic scones, shortbread, cakes, biscuits and pastries. Also bbc good food magazine and website is great for all levels smile cake

FeelingSmurfy Sat 01-Aug-15 17:52:45

Low and long - low oven temperature for longer time, fan oven is best if you have one. I do around 170° fan oven

Poundland have a range of baking equipment if you want to get a few bits without spending too much

I would go with silicon for baking in, means you can just pop it straight out

Icing hides a mistakes very well grin

StockingFullOfCoal Sat 01-Aug-15 17:57:32

DH & I got addicted to GBBO last year, can't wait for it to start! I was hoping iPlayer would have some past seasons on to tide me over, but nay, there's nuffink on there.

Bunbaker Sat 01-Aug-15 17:58:45

I disagree about using a fan oven for better baking results.

The reason I have a gas cooker is because I do a fair amount of baking. Sponge cakes baked in a gas oven are more moist than those cooked in a fan oven. Cakes baked in a fan oven are fine, but on a side by side taste test gas oven baked cakes win every time IMO.

Pastry might be a different matter though as you want crisp results (and no soggy bottoms)

cathcustard Sat 01-Aug-15 18:01:19

I learned to cook using Delia's books and my DM's Good Housekeeping.
Second the BBC Good Food website, especially the user comments.

So much baking is trial and error, be prepared for a few disasters and definitely watch GBBO next week grin

StockingFullOfCoal Sat 01-Aug-15 18:02:37

My oven is a PITA, everything gets put on low and at the bottom or it doesn't get cooked properly angry In the market for a new one before Christmas, can't see me cooking dinner in that, its driving me mental.

Bunbaker Sat 01-Aug-15 18:05:20

I forgot to add that one of the key principles of baking is to bake at the correct temperature.

My sponge cakes get cooked at gas mark 4 (180deg C or 160 deg C fan oven).

It might be worth getting an oven thermometer and checking your oven out.

PurpleDaisies Sat 01-Aug-15 18:09:24

I'm with bunbaker- gas oven gets my vote if you've got a choice. I changed my dreadful old oven to a shiny new gas one last year and initially I kept burning things but now I've figured what temperature is equivalent I absolutely love it.

I'd recommend silverwood cake tins. Fantastic non stick and the cakes cook quickly and evenly too. I don't get on at all with silicone tins but it's a matter of personal preference.

Bunbaker Sat 01-Aug-15 18:10:41

I don't get on with silicone either. I just have good quality tins that I line with baking parchment.

Happy36 Sat 01-Aug-15 18:14:07

I prefer baking tins to silicone. Lining with parchment is less fussy than greasing.

Don´t add icing or jam or try to cut up the cake until it is stone cold.

Follyfoot Sat 01-Aug-15 18:15:45

These are lovely and so easy to make. I cook the shortbread base for a bit longer, until its golden all over. The number of compliments when I took them into work was a bit embarrassing, they are dead simple to do. I mix half milk half plain chocolate for the topping, its perfect.

Bunbaker Sat 01-Aug-15 18:19:56

That link doesn't work.

StockingFullOfCoal Sat 01-Aug-15 18:26:35

Dear Lord, I have ventured onto the baking section of the Lakeland website...

StockingFullOfCoal Sat 01-Aug-15 18:27:12

YY to gas oven, I last had one 7 years ago and I really miss it!

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