Writing about baking in no way means it is my forte but those of you who know me personally will know that I like doing things that make me happy so even if I get the smoke alarm ringing or have tears in my eyes when my cakes don’t rise in the oven I will bake and bake forever because that is how much I love it!
Growing up, I have fond memories of my mum baking her signature Victoria sponge cake which wouldn’t last in our house as my sister and I and not to forget my mum loved cakes, no one cared about calories back then! Years later I don’t see baking so much as a calorie indulgent hobby because I have friends and family who love trying anything I bake and have always been very encouraging (and sometimes even when they shouldn’t have been!:) )
So getting back to my blog post; I have had many failures and disasters with baking and from them I have learnt some very valuable lessons which I’d like to share with you so that I can save some inevitable sorrows that follow a bad bake (I know we’ve all been there!)
So here’s 5 things I’ve learnt from my ‘Mistake-bakes’ as a beginner:
1. Stick with the recipe
One time I remember I was making a chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday and after having had a few baking successes I had started to become more and more confident with varying proportions and trying new things, what I hadn’t realised was that making a moist chocolate cake is a whole new ball game and after the proportion of dark chocolate and coco being carelessly manipulated by me, the cake obviously didn’t turn out the way it was meant to. So I quickly realised that it isn’t a good idea trying to vary measurements when you do not understand its implications. So my first lesson was to measure ingredients accurately and stick with the recipe. Invest in a good set of scales and do not use approximation as all bakers say, ‘Baking is a science’.
2. Start Simple
I am sure we’ve all fancied baking showstoppers from the ‘Great British Bakeoff’ and I am sure one day all of us will but while we master the art I would suggest all us beginners to stay away from those’Baked Alaskas’ and ‘Baklavas’ and try the simple but delicious recipes such as Victoria sponge, banana cakes, chocolate brownies etc. 🙂
3. Forget the Drama
Ok let me explain this. Last summer I baked a carrot cake for one of my friend’s sixtieth birthday. The night of the bake was nerve wrecking haha and I mean literally because I wanted to do a good job! Now those of you who have made carrot cakes before would know that the recommended topping is cream cheese and I knew that too but what I didn’t know was how hard it was to pipe rosettes out of cream cheese icing! And it may well not be that hard but ended up being very hard for me! So my second lesson learnt was ,unless absolutely required do not fuss over icing. There are many ways to decorate your cakes and fresh flowers, sprinkling icing sugar and ready made decorations and sparkles are only some of the many options out there.
4. Temperature is key
I will keep this simple, do not let your folded cake mix wait for the oven to heat up, so like every recipe states do not forget to pre heat your oven. Also it takes some time getting used to your oven so do small bakes to familiarise yourself and build the relationship with your oven as that relationship does pay. 🙂
5. Keep that door shut
Please don’t make the mistake that I have made countless number of times. No matter how many cakes I bake, I always get excited when I see my cakes rise in the oven but now I know that opening the oven door to take a closer look lets the heat out and the sudden drop in temperature during the first 2/3rd of the baking time can cause your cake to gradually sink . And I don’t have any pictures to show you how it feels but it is rather sad when you see a nearly successful cake disappoint you!
These are only my little suggestions and I have learnt them from my own little mistakes The only last thing I’d like to add which I believe is the main thing is, Bake when you are happy because happiness is the main ingredient. 🙂
Let me know if you liked the post and would like to see any of my recipes on the blog?