1. If you add a beaten egg slowly to your batter mix it prevents the batter from becoming too stiff.
2. Always use eggs at room temperature when baking with them.
3. Eggs will whip more easily if left for 10 minutes in cold water before breaking.
4. Place the egg in a bowl of water, if it sinks and lies on its side, it’s fresh. If it sinks and stands large-end up, it’s on the turn so use within a couple of days. If it floats, bin it, as it’s gone off.
5. If you weigh four whole eggs in their shells, then whatever the weight is, that’s how much each of flour, sugar and butter you should add. This will ensure an delicious cake every time.
6. If you’re making soft meringue for a pie topping, say, for our Classic Lemon Meringue Pie, add a teaspoon of cornflour to your sugar. It’ll aid in absorbing any extra water the sugar will attract.
7. To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.
8. Eggs will stay fresher longer if you store them pointed end down.
9. If you forgot to get your eggs out for baking then just pop them into a bowl and cover with hot water. Take them out after a couple of minutes and use for baking as normal.
10. To separate eggs for baking, tap the shell against the side of a mixing bowl to crack, then break open, letting the white run out into the bowl and holding the yolk in one half of shell. Tip the yolk backwards and forwards from shell to shell to let all the white run into the bowl.
11. When you’re making sponge cakes, beat the eggs together in a jug and add to the butter and sugar mixture gradually, whisking well between additions. If the mixture looks like it’s going to curdle, add a spoonful of the weighed flour and beat again until smooth.
1. For a really moist fruitcake, use marmalade instead of candied peel.
2. Always soak your dried fruit overnight and for extra flavour soak the fruit in apple or orange juice or marinate in your favourite liqueur (brandy) for three days, stirring it every 12 hours.
3. If you are adding dried fruit then it should be plump and soft, if it has gone horrible and hard, then soak in hot water for a few minutes before adding it to your mixture
4. For an extra rich, tasty fruitcake, use cold coffee instead of milk.
5. For a moist fruitcake with extra flavour, grate a cooking apple into the mixture.
6. For a moister fruitcake in electric ovens or Agars, place a dish of water on the floor of the oven when baking.
7. Always cool fruitcakes for 10 to 15 minutes on a rack in the dish in which they were baked. Then turn them onto the rack and carefully peel off the paper.
8. Fruitcakes freeze very well; however, they must be aged for at least a few weeks before freezing, as they do not mellow and ripen while they are frozen.
9. To keep the calories down grate an orange and only use half the sugar.
10. Completely dust the fruit and nuts with flour so they don’t fall to the bottom of the batter while baking. Shake off excess before incorporating into the recipe.
I have chosen two quotes today which I felt were very apt at this present time, especially on International Nurse & Midwife Day. I hope you enjoy them …
Some great dessert/pudding recipes from the 1960’s are coming back into fashion. Remember the Fondue.
No young, hip couple was complete without a fondue set. Dipping strawberries and cake cubes into molten chocolate and bubbling apricot brandy was the perfect way to pass an evening before a fireplace.
Egg Nog, another firm favourite and easy to make.
Another one was Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Apparently, midcentury people treated canned pineapple as a gift from the heavens.
BlackForest Gateaux has become very popular again now with some finished in a more modern way.
Junket was a digestive enzyme known as rennet dumped into milk, which would curdle into a kind of custard. It’s more delicious than it sounds. The stuff was quite popular in the northeast, and the Junket brand branched out to include Sherbet Mix and Quick Fudge.
Brew Monday 2020 is run by the Samaritans.
Kick start the New Year with a morale boosting workplace get together. Having a Brew Monday helps pick people up, let’s colleagues get to know each other, and is a lovely way for employers to show they care about wellbeing.
Keep it small or make it big. A Brew Monday is a good excuse to invite over neighbours, or parents after the morning school run. Or just to get friends together you haven’t seen for a while, for a really good chat.
At school. At the gym or the rugby club. In the village hall or the church. Introduce people to each other, make new friends, feel your community enjoying itself. On a Monday, or another day. Whatever works.
- When baking shortbread cookies, substitute half of your plain flour with cornflour. It gives them a really nice taste.
- Before icing a cake, sprinkle the top with some flour, this will stop the icing from running down over the edges of the cake.
- To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.
- Don’t crowd the oven with Baking tins. The pans should never touch each other or the sides of the oven or be placed over or under each other on the racks.
- Grease pans using a piece of paper towel, rub a small amount of shortening, butter or margarine evenly over the bottom and on sides of pans if directed. A small amount of pan spray may be used and spread over the pan, also using the paper towel technique.
- Prevent sharp edges on muffins, bar cookies by greasing the muffin cups or pans only on the bottom and halfway up the sides so the batter is higher than the grease line. This is one time you might not want to use a pan spray.
- To test for doneness in cakes, quick breads and bar cookies, use a toothpick inserted in the center. The toothpick should come out clean and dry or have only a few crumbs clinging to it.
For more great tips on baking check out my book on Amazon.
A Little Book On Tea, Cake and Chocolate: TEA pairings, TEA and chocolate, TEA and its health benefits plus over 100 tips on BAKING cakes.
I have just published my book ‘A Little Book on Tea Cake & Chocolate‘, which would make a great gift for anyone who loves tea, cake and chocolate.
This little book on tea and cake is a guide about one of our favourite beverages. It explains tea pairings, tea and chocolate, tea and health, tea and sandwiches, fascinating tea facts, buying the right tea, tea to help you sleep and tea cozies and teapots. It also features over one hundred tips on baking cakes and has some recipes for delicious loaf cakes. It finishes with several lovely tea quotes.
A great book for any tea devotee. It’s available on Amazon for £2.99
Over the last three months of spending hours after hours and days after days at the hospital, where my Dad was, I started making notes of some of my posts on tea, cake and chocolate as I felt sure I could use it in a book.
There are nineteen chapters which cover all the tea topics I have mentioned above plus tips on how to make the best cake, pastry, and more. I also cover baking apps and recipe books old and new.
I finally finished it at the weekend and it is now available to buy as a paperback and hopefully as a kindle read soon. I would love some feedback if any readers bought the book.