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Calling all proficient bakers...help me to become a domestic goddess please

(16 Posts)
AnotherFineMess Tue 13-Oct-09 21:43:29

Hello, my name is AFM and I have been a rubbish baker for several years.

Everything I try to bake tastes of lard (odd, as I don't use lard) and doesn't seem to rise properly.

I relish the idea of making cakes for the people I love - I have been the recipient of some gorgeous cakes/homemade choccies and I have felt very...cared for, and I'd love to do the same for others - so I'm looking for advice.

At the moment, I own an old Kenwood food processor with no dough hook or whatever they're called, muffin tins, a baking sheets, a rolling pin, loads of cookie/biscuit cutters, a hand whisk, a big mixing bowl and a measuring jug. I have no cake tins, nothing silicone, and very little clue.

What would you recommend that I should buy, and can you direct me to any good recipes or books please?

Thanking you in anticipation....

Pumpkinbummum Tue 13-Oct-09 21:49:34

This chocolate cake recipe is easy, you can't go wrong, and it is delicious,

I make it all the time, the vanilla cake one is the same

I'm trying to start up in cake makin/decorating and I've found buying the stuff as I need it working so far

overmydeadbody Wed 14-Oct-09 12:51:11

Start with some of Delia's simple recipes, and get hold of her 'how to cook' books or google for it (her website is good) and then start trying.

The thing with baking is it is a science, you need to follow the recipes exactly until you know what you are doing. Be patient, read the recipe instructions before starting, and then follow the instuctions, stay patient, weigh everything out exactly, and you can't go wrong.

overmydeadbody Wed 14-Oct-09 12:53:35

here ya go

Hassled Wed 14-Oct-09 12:56:16

There's a cake book by Mary Berry which is idiot proof. here

notamumyetbutoneday Wed 14-Oct-09 13:34:57

Ive got 'simple cakes' by Mary Berry and am living proof of its idiot-proofness. I started with things like lemon drizzle cake, ginger cake and carrot cake as for some reason find these much much easier than fairy cakes which I have NEVER been able to get the hang of.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Wed 14-Oct-09 13:58:05

First you need a decent recipe. I use Delia, Mry Berry and Nigella, all with good results

You also need the right equipment I think. Especially if you are lazy like me and don't have the stamina for beating butter and sugar together.

I started with a hand mixer which are very cheap and work really well. Now I have a kitchenaid which is even better.

Also decent scales so your measurements are accurate.

MrsBadger Wed 14-Oct-09 14:05:08

you don;t need any specialist kit - scales, bowl, spoon and a tin will do to start.

the flat oven trays with edges are very good for traybakes as well as for scones, biscuits, oven chips etc
to start with I'd get one like this and a deeper one thus, but do get cheap ones from Tesco etc

fishie Wed 14-Oct-09 14:18:53

you could get an oven thermometer, maybe it isn't the temperature you think it is.

mathanxiety Fri 16-Oct-09 06:05:12

Yes, you definitely need scales and a hand mixer. Measuring accurately is key to baking. If you can lay your hands on an American cup measure set and measuring spoons they will open a whole world of internet recipes such as epicurious.com.

bellavita Fri 16-Oct-09 06:49:19

I am another Mary Berry fan here and I will also confirm that her cakes work.

In fact I made two last night (one to give to a friend of DH's who was disappointed I did not make it for a charity coffee morning as he wanted to buy it) and another to put in the freezer for the christmas fayre that we are having at the school I work in.

AnotherFineMess Fri 16-Oct-09 21:36:13

Oooh, thank you everyone, I am off to look at Delia, Nigella and Mary Berry (that woman was born and named for baking!)

Good tip about oven thermometer, I have suspected for a while that my oven is a bit backwards-in-coming-forwards with the heat, oven chips take an age. That might make all the difference.

I am inspired, thanks everyone. Coincidentally, my daughter was bought a kid's baking set by my aunt yesterday - it looks fab, and it contains a silicone pastry brush...I am excited!

titferbrains Mon 19-Oct-09 18:13:37

AFM also make sure you pay close atten tion to how long you cream butter and sugar for and for how long you are supposed to mix things for. Reading the recipe at least TWICE often helps. Start with Nigella's banana bread or her damp chocolate loaf they are v easy and VVV tasty.
Also always have the mixer on lowest poss speed when adding flour or you'll wear the lot.

Kathyis12feethighandbites Mon 19-Oct-09 18:27:08

A good palette knife is useful for when things stick.
In my (limited) experience, silicone bakeware is pretty good for things not sticking, but if you get normal cake tins, do get some greaseproof paper for when you need to line it. Once you know what size tin you will be using most, you can get liners from Lakeland (like giant cake cases) which fit the tin instead of having to fiddle around cutting paper to size.

Another useful (but not essential) gadget is an oven thermometer so you can check your oven temperature is spot on.

LilianGish Mon 19-Oct-09 18:32:13

Nigella's Domestic Goddess book and decent cake tins. I agree with the poster who says it is a science - follow the instructions - correct measurements and oven temperatures - and don't be in a rush. Good luck - I find it's the most therapeutic thing ever.

passionfruity Mon 19-Oct-09 21:53:38

1. Mary Berry Mary Berry Mary Berry (she also does great 'prepare ahead' recipes for dinner parties).

2. Electronic scales for accuracy of measurements.

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