Which ingredients to save on and which ones to spend on when making cake and why? Also which brands do you use?(19 Posts)
Which ingredients to save on and which to spend on when making cake and why please. Also please name brand you use for each item please.
Reason why I ask is I read in some article ages ago when baking some item that French flour made a difference. Don't remember if this was bread or cakes now. Anyway, wondering if the same thing applies to cakes.
Butter- value, mid range or some exotic premium brand?
Margarine-value one or stork?
Eggs- value eggs, free range or free range and organic?
Flour-value self raising, plain flour or cake flour?
Value flour makes my cakes taste rank. I pretty much use value or own brand ingredients for everything else.
I don't have any problem with any value ingredients tbh. The only thing I insist on is decent chocolate, if needed.
I shop at ASDA and buy the following:
Flour - ASD
Flour - ASDA's own brand. Not tried the value range, as for some reason I always think it'll be swept up off the floor
Butter - ASDA's own brand.
Marg - I use any branded ones, eg Clover lighter, utterly butterly
Chocolate - ASDA value. Love it, and happily eat it as it is. I always used to buy a branded one before I tried it.
Eggs - Always free range
Cream - Elmlea
Jam - Any brand or shop's own but not tried any value ones...yet!
My own cakes or every day cakes for family.
Flour-Asda own brand
Eggs-from the farm
Lurpak slightly salted.
Everything else the same.
Tesco's economy own brand flour - really, really bad. Made everything I used it for horrible. Aldi's flour much better and not much more expensive. Not fussy about other ingredients, except dried fruit and jam, where I think reasonably good quality is important.
I thought flour was.....flour?
Surely the "value" bit is just plain packaging. How can value flour be less good flour; it's not blended with chalkdust, or anything.
Ditto value sugar.
Where you have to be careful is "manufactured" things like jam or chocolate, where is is perfectly possible to bulk them out, use less fruit etc.
I can't taste any difference in white granulated or caster sugars from different brands - or indeed from beet vs. cane. But I can taste the difference in different sugars. So I normally buy the cheapest fairtrade one that I can find.
I use butter for baking - apart from when I have to cook for school bake sale type things, when I just use Stork or supermarket's own version. Re butter I use whatever standard brands are on offer - so Country Life/Anchor/supermarket own. I buy them in bulk when they're the equiv of £1 and stick in freezer. I hate value butter and think it tastes of cheap grease.
Flour, I use supermarket own normally. Jam I use Lidl. Chocolate too is Lidl - it's cheaper than the value version (eg Tesco's), and is nicer IMHO - has less sugar.
Flour - Lidls plain (bread flour and SR I use branded but only because they are the same price as Asda.
Butter - A NIrish brand. I use salted even though I shouldnt. Unsalted too dear.
Sugar - Any.
Eggs - Any.
Chocolate - Lidls dark choc in the red packet.
Cream - Fresh cream from Lidl.
Never use margerine.
Cream cheese for cheesecakes I use asdas own brand.
I use cheap own brand flour - I can't taste the difference and don't think anyone else can either as my baking is always scoffed. (except when I have a disaster like forgetting to put salt in when using bicarb as raising agent!)
Butter - any but not marge! usually salted but will stockpile unsalted when on offer about £1/pack
Sugar - any but usually cheapest/brand. Can taste differences but not bothered enough to find out exactly which ones are best/worst.
Good own brand choc for baking - sometimes use specifically for baking choc other times, eating choc. as long as tastes good.
Any eggs but usually free range
Anything else is usually cheapest available at time - cream etc
Vanilla extract rather than flavour though and would use vanilla pods if could get my act together to order from ebay/amazon as are much cheaper than supermarket prices. But can't bear to actually use them ( not sure why!) Have put pods large jar to make own vanilla sugar.
Jam, usually use whatever we have on the go - usually own brand conserve, bonne maman, dalfours, or home made
I would use value for all the ingredients you list except jam - that comes from Lidl and is excellent quality, not quite as cheap as supermarket value ranges, but so much better. I honestly don't think it makes any difference for the rest. I am a bit squeamish about cheap eggs and
sometimes would like to buy organic, but we use loads and the price difference is huge...
A big saving is to use sunflower/vegetable spread instead of butter. I use Tesco value Sunflower spread. It actually makes much lighter, moister cakes IMO, although I wouldn't use it where you can taste it iyswim (e.g. butter cream)
I use our own eggs, so don't really count the cost of those.
Sainsbury's Basic flour - never had problems with it.
Sugar in bulk from Costco
Oh, and I use half and half decent chocolate and sainsbury basic dark chocolate for brownies.
I don't economise on flour. I've found cheap flour leads to my baking having a much denser texture. So I always buy branded - a widely available Irish brand since that's where we live.
I have tried the Italian 00 flour (as recommended by the likes of Nigella) instead of my usual brand, but don't think it makes any difference. It's too expensive anyway.
Otherwise I am happy with supermarket own brands - for butter, jam, cream & chocolate.
I would only use free range eggs though.
I never use margarine. I always use salted butter too.
Cheap salted butter or baking margarine in a block for pastry. Veg oil for muffins.
Basics flour, any granulated sugar unless specified brown etc, any eggs.
Most comes form Aldi/lidl. The Lidl chocolate is fine for baking - about 40p.
I do use salted butter and the same free range eggs I use for anything egg related but
- basic caster sugar
- basic flour but I do use SR or plain as required (have tried following packet instructions for adding baking powder to plain to turn it into SR but results aren't the same, possibly due to poor mixing by me?)
- Lidl chocolate is great
Don't use jam in cakes as DSs won't eat which means I have to
Always free range eggs - I get them from a neighbour for £2/dozen and I'd never go back
- Stork for sponge (although that's gone up now, so am trialling own brand)
- value flour (can't tell the difference and I bake a lot)
- Lidl chocolate, or value range, unless it's for something you can actually taste in which case Sainsburys is now nicer than Dairy Milk...
- I stockpile butter from the various loss-leader promotions in different supermarkets
One thing I think is worth spending on is proper vanilla extract. Tesco do a 3 for 2 on baking ingredients every so often, and I stock up then on Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract. And fresh baking powder/bicarb - it does lose its potency.
I use Anchor spreadable butter for buttercream... It gives just the right amount of added salt and oil. I've tried making various buttercream recipes but nothing tastes as nice as Anchor + icing sugar mixed to the right consistency.
Proper chocolate makes all the difference. I was given a tip of mixing dark chocolate and white chocolate together to make milk chocolate too - somehow it does turn out much better than making things with just milk chocolate - I think the dark chocolate helps the quality of the final thing.
And yes to vanilla extract.
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