Baking - bright tips & techniques - Part 1 March 20, 2015 17:17 1 Comment
When baking cupcakes, here's a couple of simple yet effective tips & techniques that might just come in handy.
1.If you can, use extract, not essence or flavourings.
You can not beat extract for taste. Giving an intense flavour, these are first choice with many bakers and chefs. Whilst they are pricier than flavourings, they are absolutely worth it and have become widely available in recent years. You only ever need to use a little and there are more flavours than you will possibly ever need, ranging from vanilla to peppermint to lime. Pick them up in supermarkets, high street stores or your local cake craft shop if you're lucky enough to have one.
Lakeland stock a great range, most of which are gluten free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. They have a 'buy one, get one half price offer' at the moment as well.
2. A scoop to make perfectly even cupcakes
This is one of the simplest yet most used tricks I use when baking cupcakes. For years, to fill cupcake cases, I used two spoons to scrape mixture in and just went by eye to see each was filled evenly. There is a far better way of doing this, with something you probably already have, an ice cream scoop. I use a stainless steel scoop with a lever, that I can scoop the mixture with and then release the lever to drop the mix into the cases, meaning no dropping mix and evenly filled cases.
I recommend a scoop with a lever or trigger of some sort and if you haven't already been using this technique, try it, you won't regret it.
3. Disposable icing bags - kitchen heroes
If you're topping your cupcakes with buttercream, I can not recommend disposable icing bags enough. Whilst I have many reusable icing bags, I always feel that once used for buttercream, I can just never get them fully clean and non greasy again. (If you have any tips for this, please let me know.) Hence, my love for the disposable bags, I use the Little Venice Cake Company bags bought from my local cake craft shop, these cost around £2.00 for 20 bags however they can also be picked up quite cheaply online, from supermarkets and also some £1 shop's regularly stock them, so worth taking a look, if you're passing.
Just snip off the end, pop your nozzle in or your coupler on, fill your bag and then dispose once your done. No fight to get your bag squeaky clean when finished. They also come in very handy when you're using a few buttercream colours and need multiple icing bags.
4. Icing bag holder - ready made
Depending on the consistency of the icing you're working with, filling an icing bag can be a piece of cake or far trickier than it looks. You can buy piping bag holders and stands but most come with hefty price tags and only accommodate up to fairly small filled bags. So why bother? You have a cupboard full of just what you need already. Tall glasses.
Popping your ready to go icing bag in a tall glass and folding the top edges over the rim gives you a sturdy icing bag holder you can fill easily, without covering the bag or yourself in icing. Easy, no mess and free.
Every now & then, this blog will feature some tips & tricks that make something easier, give you a better baking finish, create less mess or even just really brilliant ideas that you need to know.
If these tips are not new to you, feel free to comment any of your own to share with fellow bakers, if they are, let us know how you get on with your new tips & techniques.