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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,

AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Nov-13 17:22:31

Thanks for all your comments! The winner of the prize draw is TheDietStartsTomorrow - congratulations! I'll PM you for your details shortly.

DinoSnores Tue 26-Nov-13 14:15:44

To grease tins, I use spray olive oil as it gets into all the corners better than getting butter all over your fingers.

SolidGold Mon 25-Nov-13 15:01:23

I don't use any cheats, as ready made products just don't taste as good to me.

If I make an all-in-one sponge, it's very quick and easy to make, who needs packet mixture? Buttercream and icing are also easy to make.

My top tip would definitely be to be careful with your cake, don't slam the oven door, and also check if the cake is cooked by inserting a wooden skewer into the cake, if it comes out clean and dry the cake is cooked through.

TiredDog Sun 24-Nov-13 18:03:12

Top tip from someone who has used an unreliable oven for years... the cake needs longer if it's sizzling regardless of how it looks

I don't make pastry very often. I don't like cake mixes (tasteless)

GoingGoingToGallifrey Sun 24-Nov-13 16:47:00

My hands are too hot to make good short crust pastry, so I use the food processor to make a big batch. Pastry can keep in the fridge for a few weeks, so I can use it when I need it.

Any bits of pastry left over, get rolled into balls and frozen, to be used as dumplings in casseroles.

DoItTooJulia Sun 24-Nov-13 14:33:49

Use a good quality marg instead of butter...easier to cream straight out of the fridge!

Maiyakat Sun 24-Nov-13 14:31:54

Using an electric mixer gives great tasting cupcakes, but beating the mixture by hand is far more therapeutic!

AlfieandAnnieRose Sun 24-Nov-13 14:23:13

A good tip is to take the butter out of the fridge at least an hour before baking so it is at room temperature and easier to work with. But if you forget to do this then you can soften the required butter by cutting it up in cubes and placing it in a bowl of slightly warm (not hot) water. Then drain the water away after about 10 minutes, by now it should be soft and will make your cake mix blend so much better! Also your cakes taste much nicer too in my opinion.

OPeaches Sun 24-Nov-13 10:54:07

My top tips are:

Grease and flour cake tins rather than faff around with cutting grease proof paper, cakes always come perfectly.

Half butter/half trex and milk make tastier, lighter butter icing.

Save money on flowerpaste for less delicate decorations by mixing one part flowerpaste with four parts sugarpaste, it will set hard enough.

Twoplus1 Sun 24-Nov-13 08:55:20

All you need to be able to bake is the ability to follows recipe. I love simple ones. I tend not to cheat much when baking though I do always buy the ready made marzipan and royal icing for my Christmas cake.

I love experimenting with new flavours or even making a cake recipe into cupcakes

I also agree it's good to have an oven thermometer my oven runs 5c hotter

I'd also be lost without my kenwood mixer it's my fav bit of kitchen equipment I have.

When making coloured buttercream icing if you trex instead of marg or butter you get a really nice true colour.

pussinwellyboots Sun 24-Nov-13 00:47:12

When baking with the kids I try to get everything ready first (however this often doesn't happen and then its chaos with me trying to play catch up!) I also use the microwave to soften butter/margarine. I love Delia all in one cake recipe as everything can be thrown in together.

ataraxia Sat 23-Nov-13 17:19:28

It has to be ready made puff pastry, I'm afraid - life's too short!

lottietiger Sat 23-Nov-13 14:29:42

I always use bakeoglide non stick baking sheet, I have it cut to cake tin sizes and baking tray, saves on loads of washing up and lasts years. 99% of the time I buy pre made pastry and stick it the the freezer til I need it. The rubbery spatula things are great for getting mixture out of the bowl and leave the bowl almost clean. For cakes and bread I use a kitchen aid mixer, expensive but fab.

supermam Sat 23-Nov-13 12:04:23

Like using rather tired bananas for banana loaf. Very easy & delicious. Also even easier when I discovered tin liners; prevents messy tins & more convenient than grease proof paper.

buttonsforbreakfast Sat 23-Nov-13 11:40:25

Rather than buying over priced 'cake release' sprays, make your own. Mix melted margarine with plain flour to form a paste, then use a pastry brush to coat the inside of the pan. It keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge for weeks too! Just melt in the microwave whn you want to use it! Works every time!

sazzle82 Sat 23-Nov-13 10:25:52

Oh and mince pies can be frozen Pre cooked, then cooked from frozen.

Can make your house smell of baking and Christmas at the drop of a hat when you have visitors, and means you can serve freshly baked mice pies too.

sazzle82 Sat 23-Nov-13 10:24:36

For the perfect sponge weigh your eggs in their shells. Whatever they weigh use the same amount of flora, sugar and flour. Add a glug of vanilla essence and you're done.

Cooking wise, once I can smell the cake cooking I know it's nearly done. A handy tip if you have an oven that's a bit temperamental.

Uzma01 Fri 22-Nov-13 11:25:45

When making cookies or biscuits - roll the dough into a dat sausage shape, wrap in clingfilm then pop in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. It'll be easier to cut them into round discs ready for the oven. Plus this way they don't spread out too much.

Mamafratelli Fri 22-Nov-13 10:04:00

*Brown the fluff not broken. Damn autocorrect.

Mamafratelli Fri 22-Nov-13 10:03:16

This is top secret, people beg me for my icing recipe. Little do they know I top my cakes and buns with marshmallow fluff. (You can get it in the supermarkets now) If I have time I pop them under the grill just long enough to broken the fluff. Toasted marshmallow cakes. Delicious!

ViviDeBeauvoir Fri 22-Nov-13 00:22:21

My top tip is to ditch baking and go raw. Some of the tastiest and healthiest snacks and cakes I've ever eaten are paleo. No faffing around with ovens/burning/rising. Just pop them in the fridge instead. smile

BitchinInTheKitchen Thu 21-Nov-13 23:02:29

Betty Crocker ready made frosting is amazing

If you make cookie dough, it freezes really well. So make a massive batch and put half in the freezer in a sausage shape, approx 6cm across. When you next want cookies, slice off as many 'discs' of cookies as you want, put on a greased baking tray and bake. Fresh, warm cookies whenever you want!

MoogDroog Thu 21-Nov-13 20:56:44

I've been undergoing an intensive programme of baking improvement over the last year and my top tips are:
Read the recipe at least twice before you start.
Follow the recipe exactly

I know it sounds obvious, but after years of being an instinctive cook and a terrible baker, recipes do actually exist for a reason!

Lilpickle08 Thu 21-Nov-13 19:11:23

I try and make cooking really enjoyable for the kids - now they're at school we make lots of yummy homemade cakes (some healthy, some not quite so healthy) and I always make sure I freeze a load so I can put them in their lunchboxes the following week - it means that they remember what they've baked, and have the satisfaction of eating it for days to come too (and they ALWAYS eat them!) :-D

gretagrape Thu 21-Nov-13 15:44:35

If making a sponge cake, I do 4x the quantity needed then bake 2 extra large cakes and some cupcakes, then freeze them. They can be defrosted and made into sponge cakes or just with fruit or custard for quick puddings.

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