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Stupid questions from a novice baker (that would be me)

(23 Posts)
OrchidLass Mon 01-Apr-13 17:30:57

I have NO idea what I'm doing but I've caught the baking bug.

What is the difference between baking powder and bicarbonate of soda?
Is it better to use butter or Stork (like my mum did)
Any easy recipes for a real novice like me?

Thank you grin

Roseformeplease Mon 01-Apr-13 18:35:12

Baking powder is a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. You need it for some cakes that need an extra lift. Try fairy cakes first - foolproof, or a banana cake or fruit loaf. Scones are easy too. Enjoy!

Roseformeplease Mon 01-Apr-13 18:35:39

Always butter here....anything else is the work of the devil.

saintmerryweather Mon 01-Apr-13 18:38:22

Stork makes no difference to the cake i use it every time. just use real butter for the buttercream. if youre making a vicky sponge just dump everything in the bowl together, mix it up and bake it. I add a splash of milk to my recipes to loosen them up and you can add a little vanilla extract to bring out flavours. bread sounds hollow when you tap the base if its done amd a knife stuck into a cake comes out clean thats also done

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Apr-13 18:41:54

I think Stork is fine for the actual cake, definitly not for icing.

OrchidLass Mon 01-Apr-13 18:50:27

Thanks for the tips, i don't know what's got into me I want to bake all the time! I made ginger cookies and choc chip cookies this afternoon, going to try scones next. smile

bigbadbarry Mon 01-Apr-13 18:54:54

I use stork in cakes too, much easier and lighter and you just can't tell. Never use it in the icing though!

bigbadbarry Mon 01-Apr-13 18:55:08

Oh. I see everybody else has already said that. As you were.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Apr-13 19:08:44

I struggle with scones. I make lovely cakes, biscuits, even pastries. Can never get scones to rise well though.

OrchidLass Mon 01-Apr-13 19:10:49

Actually I don't even know how to make scones. smile

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Apr-13 20:31:28

Well try it but don't be disheartened if they're not brilliant. I think they're quite tricky.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Apr-13 20:32:06

And I know they're not supposed to be but I know others who struggle with them....others find them dead easy.

bigbadbarry Mon 01-Apr-13 20:33:55

Nigella's recipe looks weird but works well - she calls them "Lily's scones" I expect they are googleable.

GwendolineMaryLacey Mon 01-Apr-13 20:36:42

Stork every time, think even Mary Berry uses it <bows down> I can't do scones. They're bastards.

wannabedomesticgoddess Mon 01-Apr-13 20:38:11

I cannot make scones to save my life. Everything else is fine, cakes, buns, desserts etc are all great. But scones are impossible.

Baking powder is bicarbonate of soda with acid added, as bicarb needs acid to react, when using baking powder you just need liquid to cause the reaction.

If using bicarb on its own the recipe will (or should) contain an acidic ingredient such as chocolate or buttermilk in order for the reaction to occur.

MoreBeta Mon 01-Apr-13 20:48:45

I use Pure margarine as it makes exceedingly light cakes. Many cake recipes can in fact be made with pure sunflower oil but probably not wise for a beginner. I can't stand the taste of Stork personally but many people use it. I find butter makes rich but often heavy cakes.

Mary Berry recipes are always very good. Lots are on the internet especially BBC recipes. Try her Victoria Sandwich Cake. A very simple sponge filled with jam and whipped cream that always goes down well.

Crikeyblimey Mon 01-Apr-13 20:57:35

The secret to good scones is to make your mixture wet (wetter than you think it should be). That's what my excellent baking mum used to say).

Oh - butter all the way for me.

OrchidLass Mon 01-Apr-13 20:59:02

Oh I'm a bit worried about the scones now. I will report back if they are Paul Hollywood type numbers or like bricks!

Will also try Mary Berry's victoria sponge, have made a few sponges before and they taste ok but always seem to be a bit heavy, hence the Stork question.

saintmerryweather Mon 01-Apr-13 21:08:55

If you are spreading buttercream on a crumbly cake have a jug of hot water standing on the side and dunk the knife. spreads the cream beautifully but wont pick up crumbs

saintmerryweather Mon 01-Apr-13 21:09:19

It wont make it soggy either

FishfingersAreOK Mon 01-Apr-13 21:22:27

I think the trick with scones is to do everything as quickly as possible - a bit like shortcrust pastry - rub in quickly, mix liquid in quickly and try to roll out/handle as little as possible.

In fact...use invisible fairies to make them and you will be fine grin

FishfingersAreOK Mon 01-Apr-13 21:26:02

Victoria Sponge batter - you need "dropping consistency". Take a big spoon of the mix and tap the spoon gently on the side of the bowl - it should gently plop/drop easily off the spoon. If not add a splosh of milk.

Also, once you have weighed out your sugar, remove one teaspoonful of it. The sugar is what aids the "browning" of the cake and actually having a teeny bit less means you get more a chance of rise before the browning sets the cake IYSWIM.

AnonymousBird Wed 10-Apr-13 19:56:26

Orchid - I'm also a total novice. DD (7) is absolutely hooked on baking so I am having to learn fast to assist her....

We have been using Stork, not butter and so far so good. Made Delia's lemon roulade the other day and it was great!!

I'm going to come back and read all these lovely tips again when we've not got DD's friend here for sleepover!

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