Thanks to BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off baking is back in fashion with a peak of 4.6 million viewers tuning in each week to watch presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc in action alongside judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. The Telegraph recently credited the show with making baking cool again.
At a time when people are looking to save money and want to know exactly what is in the food they are eating, cooking from scratch is on the rise.
Baking has moved with the times and a host of new products are available for those who want to make sure that time spent in the kitchen is as efficient as possible. For example, there is no longer any need to whisk cream from scratch, instead you can enjoy whipped cream without the hard work thanks to automatic cream whippers.
Available from online shops like Cream Chargers Direct this handy tool makes life a little easier.
Baking shortcuts don’t have to mean compromising on taste or aesthetics either. Another handy hint to speed up the cake making process is to soften butter with a rolling pin when you’re short of time. Or you could slice the butter into small pieces and spread out on a plate; the pieces will warm up more quickly than a whole block.
Alternatively, you could place the butter in a re-sealable waterproof plastic bag, and then place that in a bowl of warm water until it softens.
For an easier way to roll out the pie pastry for a flaky short-crust, make sure your ingredients are cold. By simply refrigerating the pastry for around half an hour you will make it much easier to roll out.
Wave goodbye to cakes with high-rise centres, cracked tops and over-cooked edges, using baking strips is a clever way to get a cake to rise evenly. Or if you don’t have baking strips to hand you could always use an old dish cloth cut into strips.
Run the strips under water and wrap them round the cake tin before you put it in the oven.
When baking cupcakes, use an ice-cream scoop to ladle equal amounts of batter into each tin hole. That way, each cupcake will be the same size when cooked. Did you know that cupcakes can be kept in the freezer for at least 30 days? As long as they are well secured in plastic-wrap they will store without frosting.
Make sure you leave enough time for them to thaw before serving!
Eggs that are warm or at room temperature whisk much more easily than cold ones. Before embarking on your baking, just take the eggs out of the fridge in advance so they are ready for when you need them.
One-bowl cooking is well known as a great way to save on clearing and washing up. You can get large Pyrex bowls that have measurement marks on them so you can do most of your measuring and mixing in a single container. Try this healthy recipe for one-bowl banana muffins from The Tasty Kitchen.