Some Rules are Good. Always Drive on the left. No heavy petting at the pool. However, these baking rules were meant to be broken!
1. WHEN USING BUTTER AND SUGAR IN THE CAKE MIX, CREAM IT TOGETHER FIRST BEFORE YOU ADD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS
This works with a lot of recipes, and is beneficial, but I saw Mary Berry has said that there's two ways to make a Victoria Sponge: The traditional way of creaming the butter and sugar together, then add the other ingredients, or there's the way she prefers, which is to put everything into the bowl together and then mix. I would say that not creaming the butter and sugar is totally ok, then, if Mrs B says so! Do follow the recipe though - some recipes it might be especially pertinent for.
Not sure what 'creaming' means, in baking terms? It's simply mixing the sugar and butter together until they are well combined, and you can't really see the sugar anymore.
2. ONLY USE HIGH QUALITY BUTTER FOR THE FAT NEEDED IN CAKES
Well, you can throw that one right out the window! Over 60% of the orders we have are for vegan cakes, so there's no butter at all there. We use other things like bananas, avocados, oil and dairy-free margarine.
Yes, the cakes will taste different, and if you'd prefer to use high quality butter when 'real' butter is required, that's a good thing, but cakes can easily be made with no butter at all. Check out our recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake, for example.
3. ALWAYS PRE-HEAT YOUR OVEN
If we were just talking cake baking, I'd agree. Pre-heating the oven is essential for cakes to ensure a consistent bake - and also for bread, actually, as the dough needs to be baked hot and fast. However, when baking pies or crumbles, it's totally fine to whack the dish in the over before it's up to temperature, and it makes the process more heat efficient too.
Can you think of any more rules you can break while baking, cakes, bread or otherwise?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
It's holiday season, and our Bakers are having a great time... poking around in the foreign supermarket Shelves!
I mean, what else do you do when you're on holiday, really, other than have a gander in the local supermarket shelves, comparing them to home? A sad little pleasure of mine, and it seems our other bakers, when I'm abroad is to have a nosey look for any interesting local foods.
This is what we've found already, and summer holiday season is still young!
Finally, eurgh, the Pillsbury man. I'll be making my own buttercream, I think!
What interesting baking ingredients have you found while on holiday? Share in the comments below, we'd love to know!
Louise & Team
If you have no scales or your set has broken, don't despair! you can still bake a delicious cake!
It's always best to weigh your ingredients when you bake, especially flour, as it can be a huge variable in terms of the dryness of the cake and the quality of the bake if you get it wrong. However, you do have a few ways you can make a cake if you don't have any scales - let's take a look...
1. Bake a cake using a yoghurt pot
1 pot of yogurt
2 yogurt pots of sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 yogurt pots of flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 yogurt pot of neutral-tasting oil or melted butter
Heat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
Beat the yogurt and the sugar together in a bowl.
Beat in the eggs and lemon zest. Sift the flour with the baking powder and beat in.
Finally, add the melted butter (or oil, although it doesn't taste quite as nice) and beat the whole mixture well.
Pour into non-stick muffin tins or a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, approx. 25 minutes for a loaf, 15 mins for buns.
2 level tablespoons sugar
4 level tablespoons butter
9 level tablespoons flour
Cream together the butter & sugar, stir in flour.
Roll out the dough, shape/cut out, and cook for 10 mins at 180 degrees.
Look away now, we don't approve of this final idea!!
5. Buy a packet mix
Everything's already weighed out in these mixes, you just need to add eggs normally, sometimes oil or milk. I warn you now, it won't taste as good as 'proper' cake, but it kind of had to be included on the list as an option...
Next time your battery goes in your digital scales or you old ones break, don't give up. Why not try one of these baking hacks? Let us know how you get on!
Owner, 280 Bakes
A recent question we've been asked is 'does caffeine cook out when baked into a cake?' We answer that question here!
When you bake a boozy bake (and I know you do!) the alcohol in your G&T cake or the brandy in your Christmas cake bakes out and won't get you drunk, no matter how much of that liquored-up cake you eat.
However, the same is NOT true with coffee. When you bake a coffee cake, the caffeine stays in the cake. Cooking coffee generally makes the taste stronger in removing the water, but it won't increase the caffeine content - no extra kick, so don't start justifying coffee cake for breakfast!
Caffeine has a crystalline structure, a bit like sugar. When you cook or bake something with coffee as an ingredient, the water will cook out but the caffeine stays in the food, it doesn't denature.
If you're looking for a great coffee cake recipe, why not try ours? This one is vegan too - try something new today!
Remember, different coffee beans or powder have different strengths. I know for a fact I get more of a kick out of the ground coffee we have at home than the Douwe Egberts instant jar we have for when we're feeling a bit lazier. A lighter roasted bean will have a higher caffeine content than a dark roast, as some of the caffeine sometimes breaks down in the process of roasting.
Soaking the coffee and evaporating the water can decaffeinate it, but it's not 100% effective, and you lose a lot of the delicious coffee taste. If you're really worried about the caffeine levels in a coffee cake, I'd just go for something other than coffee cake!
Now go have a coffee, enjoy your Monday!
Owner, 280 Bakes
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by myself, Louise, but if you fancy guest blogging, give me a shout!