If, like me you are an amateur baker then its handy to have some cake essentials in your cupboard to turn your bake into something a bit more special. Here are some handy ones for your pantry –
- Cocoa powder – I mean who can contemplate on baking regularly without the use of cocoa powder which has its health benefits as well as being delicious. Whether you are preparing a chocolate cake, black forest cake or red velvet cake at home, you will need cocoa powder for your cake batter. Cocoa powder can be used for preparing a variety of desserts like cakes, puddings, cupcakes, hot chocolate and more. There a number of them on the market but the more raw or organic powder you can get the healthier it is to eat. Raw cacao products are made from fermented, dried, unroasted cacao beans and are less processed and healthier. Cocoa powder is rich in theobromine, which helps to reduce inflammation and can protect you from diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. As cocoa is rich in phytonutrients but low in fat and sugar, the calories you get from cocoa powder will be packed with healthy chemicals.
- Chocolate syrup – Staying on the chocolate theme another great one to have in your cupboard is chocolate syrup. One company in particular who makes low calorie chocolate syrup is Skinny Food Co, but there are lots of sugar free versions of this. If you want to save time in giving a professional look and enhancing the flavour of your chocolate cake, you should have chocolate syrup as a cake essential at home. This ready to use syrup can be spread over the cake top before dropping sprinkles to give a smooth and shiny look to your cake. Since this chocolate syrup has a sweet chocolaty flavour, you need not worry too much about combining the flavour with the flavour of your cake. You can even use this type of syrup with shakes, brownies, cold coffee and more. The Skinny Food Co Guilt Free #NotGuilty Smooth Chocolate Syrup is here to satisfy your sweet tooth with Skinny Food Co’s delicious Zero Calorie* Smooth Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup.
- Chocolate Chips – Another staple item for your cupboard which can be used is so many recipes or just sprinkled on top of your cake. Stick to the 100% dark chocolate ones for a healthier option. Chocolate chips are designed to hold their shape when stirred into a batter or dough, like in Chocolate Chip Cookies. They often contain ingredients like soy lecithin that helps the chip hold its shape and stay in place within the recipe. Bittersweet chocolate contains 70% cacao and has less sugar, where semisweet chocolate has 60% cacao. However, both of these chocolates can be interchangeable when used in baking, although bittersweet has a deeper flavour. It’s important to note that unsweetened chocolate is not the same as bittersweet.
- Baking Powder – Another essential item for your cupboard when baking with most recipes needing it. Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali, bicarbonate of soda, and an acid, cream of tartar, plus a filler like cornflour or rice flour which absorbs moisture. The powder is activated when liquid is added, producing carbon dioxide and forming bubbles that cause the mixture to expand. For this reason, it is important to get your cake mixture into the oven quickly once the ‘wet’ ingredients have been added to the ‘dry’ ingredients. Self-raising flour is made from plain flour combined with a small amount of baking powder. Some recipes ask for Baking Soda and the difference between them is Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, which requires an acid and a liquid to become activated and help baked goods rise. Conversely, baking powder includes sodium bicarbonate, as well as an acid. It only needs a liquid to become activated. It is not just for cakes, baking powder is needed for baking bread, muffins, brownies, cookies and more. You can even use baking powder for preparing naans, kulchas, papdi and other Indian bread variants.
- Food colourings – Food colourings can completely change the look of your cake. Some of the best ones for cakes are Gel colours or paste food colouring, like Rainbow Dust ProGels, are ideal for colouring marzipan, sugarpaste fondant or cake mix, and can be used for cake painting by the artistic cake maker. Blending finely milled icing sugar with specialist gum, Renshaw sugarpaste delivers consistent texture and unrivalled functionality for succesful cake decorating. The range has a sugar paste for every cake decorating need from simple cake covering to more intricate modelling and flower creation. You can also use the liquid gel dye which is similar to its traditional counterpart as it consists of synthetic coloring with a base of water, glycerin or corn syrup. Like plain liquid dye, it’s sold in small dropper bottles.
- Cake Sprinkles – A cake isn’t a cake without some sprinkles on it and there are hundreds to choose from. If you want to enhance the look of your homemade cake, you can easily decorate it using cake sprinkles. Sprinkles can be topped over sauces and whipping cream giving you plenty of options for customizing the look of your cake. Sprinkles are best stored in an airtight container and are easy to use. They are available in various flavours and designs. The Independant wrote that Sprinkles. Are. Fun. Fact. No matter how old you are, these tiny little edible decorations will light up your eyes and make your mouth water. They have a list of 10 of the best sprinkles for cake decorating.