So a few weeks ago I shared my Top 8 Tips for Starting a Baking Blog and a lot of people found it useful so I thought I would share my top 8 tips for beginner bakers.
With everything that is going on in the world just now (I will not mention the C-word on my blog) a lot of people have found solace in baking. From having fun in the kitchen with your children or looking to pass a few hours while forgetting what is going on outside, everyone seems to be baking just now. I personally have found a lot of comfort in baking over the last few years and have found it a great way to relieve stress. So I thought I would share my top tips for beginner bakers.
If you have been inspired by all the banana bread on Instagram and want to give baking a go for the first time then these tips below will ensure that your first cake/cupcakes/cookies etc. will turn out perfect.
Always read the recipe
This may seem obvious but always read the recipe at least once before starting. I remember a few years ago I was trying to make croissants and I didn’t read the recipe before starting and boy did I not realise how long croissants take to make! All that folding and chilling.
Always just read over the recipe, when you do you might find you need a specialist bit of equipment or you might need 3 or 4 bowls for different ingredients and just now you actually only have one.
As tempting as it is don’t open the oven too look. When you open the oven and all the heat escapes the change in temperature will cause your cakes or cupcakes to sink in the middle. If you really want to watch your cakes or cookies baking then look through the little window on the front of your oven. If you don’t have a little window then, unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the process.
Another tip is always to make sure the oven door is closed. If your oven doesn’t have a little window so you can peak don’t leave the door open slightly to look. All the heat in the oven will just be escaping and when you think you are baking your cookies at 180C because the door is open the oven will actually be a lot cooler.
If a recipe says to leave it in the fridge overnight to set then you need to leave it in the fridge overnight to set. I am very guilty of checking on things to see if they have set and occasionally giving them a little poke but doing that isn’t going to make them set quicker. We just need to be patient. If you take it out sooner then it won’t be set and will probably just end up a big mushy mess.
It is the same with baking something in the oven. If the recipe says to bake for 40 minutes in the oven then it needs to be baked for that long. Taking it out of the oven after 20 minutes will mean you will have a half-baked cake which potentially if eaten, could make you quite ill if you try and eat it.
Room temperature is key
Before you start baking it is best to ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature. If your butter is too cold then it could cause your cake batter to curdle. The only ingredient for a cake I tend to keep in the fridge is the butter. So I will take the butter out of the fridge for an hour or so before I bake. Normally, I don’t put my eggs in the fridge so these are already at room temperature but if you do keep them in the fridge then I would take them out at the same time as the butter and let them come to room temperature.
Scrape the mixing bowl
This is so important to ensure that none of the ingredients get left behind. I will always mix my ingredients and then go around the side of the bowl and scrape down any ingredients that have become stuck to the side of the bowl, and then mix it again. If not you risk leaving clumps of flour and butter around the edges which means there is less of the ingredient in your cake batter but also when you come to putting the mixture into your cake tins or cupcake cakes you might have clumps of butter and flour that haven’t been mixed through properly.
Check your oven temperature
If you find that your cakes are taking longer to bake or are coming out of the oven with a lopsided peak it could be because your oven temperature isn’t correct. I would recommend investing in an oven thermometer to check your oven temperature. Just because you are setting your oven to 180C doesn’t mean that it is heating up to that temperature.
Again this is another important step. If you don’t weight out your ingredients your cakes are never going to turn out how they should. I have no idea how you can guess how much each ingredient weighs. Then you also have the problem that one ingredient may be heavier than another so you might need more of one ingredient to get to the weight you need.
You can buy relatively inexpensive scales from most supermarkets and home stores and they will last you a long time, plus it means you will get the perfect cake every time then why wouldn’t you want to buy some.
Finally, and most importantly of all is have fun! That is the whole point of baking, not only do you get to have fun baking it either by yourself or with family but you then get to eat it afterwards (result!). I love nothing more than baking with some music on having a little dance around the kitchen and forgetting everything else that is going on in the world.
I hope all of these tips are helpful and all your bakes turn out perfect. If they don’t turn out perfect every time don’t worry. I have been baking for years and sometimes I even have baking disasters. For some recipes it just takes practice for others it could be a bad recipe or it could be something as simple as you are using a different product or have substituted an ingredient for something else. The most important thing is just don’t give up!
I hope these baking tips have helped you out if you are just starting your baking journey.
If you make any of my recipes use #aspoonofvanilla on social media so I can see all the deliciousness! If you have any recipe suggestions or any comments good and bad about this post and others on my blog, then you can either leave them in the comments section below. You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest or you can email me at email@example.com.