Do you often forget to take your eggs out of the fridge an hour before you bake? Me too. I usually forget to take the butter out beforehand too.
Fortunately for you and I, I have some handy tricks up my sleeve to share with you to make our lives a whole lot easier in the kitchen. Here they are:
1. Remove eggshell easily
I’ve wasted a lot of time over the years trying to retrieve broken pieces of eggshell from the mixing bowl. Can you relate? Thankfully with this trick, we don’t have to waste anymore time!
How to: Either: wet your finger and scoop eggshell out or Use remaining eggshell to scoop it out- eggshell attracts eggshell.
2. Bring butter to room temperature by placing under a warm glass
Many recipes require softened butter (not slightly melted butter), especially for the creaming method. Softening butter in the microwave usually results in melted butter (if you’re not careful) and I find that this trick works the best (plus, I don’t have a microwave).
How to: Place desired amount of butter on a plate. Warm a glass (or small bowl) by filling it with hot water and let it sit for a minute or so. Empty and dry well with a t-towel and place over the butter until ready to use.
3. Bring eggs to room temperature quickly
Sometimes I forget to take my eggs out of the fridge in time and sometimes times I bake spontaneously and need room temperature eggs pronto. The solution? Warm water!
How to: Place eggs in a small bowl and cover with warm water for 5 – 10 minutes or until ready to use.
4. Combine baking powder with hot water to check if it is fresh
It would be such a shame to go through the process of baking a cake to find that your baked cake hadn’t risen at all due to expired baking powder!
How to: An easy way to check if your baking powder is okay to use is by adding 1/2 teaspoon baking powder to 1/2 cup hot water. If it bubbles and fizzes, it’s good to use, if nothing happens, you might need to run to the store for a new box.
Learn how baking powder and baking soda work here.
5. Add baking soda with hot water and vinegar to check if it is okay to use
Like baking powder, baking soda is also a chemical leaver that helps our baked goods to rise. Unlike baking powder, it needs an acid to react.
How to: Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with 1/2 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon vinegar. If it bubbles and fizzes, it’s okay to use.
6. How to create the perfect ‘proofing’ environment for bread dough
Yeasted dough needs a cozy warm environment to do its magic in. The oven is a great insulated place for it!
How to: Preheat your oven to 60 C (140F) for 10 minutes or so, turn off and open the door. Use your hand to check the temperature. It needs to be warm but not so warm that the dough will cook (about 27C/81F). Place dough in the oven, covered with a t-towel or clingfilm and close the oven door.
7. Fill piping bag over a tall vessel for less mess and for a much easier job
Filling a piping bag can be a messy job, but not with this trick!
How to: Place bag over a tall glass/cup and use a knife or thin spatula to fill the bag.
8. Prevent sticky ingredients (like honey) from sticking to the measuring cup with fat (e.g. butter, oil (or oil spray)
Measuring ingredients like golden syrup, honey, molasses, etc. can be a nuisance and most of it may stay on the sides of the cup.
How to: For an easier removal, grease the insides of the measuring cup with butter, oil or oil spray and then fill with desired sticky ingredient. It will slide out easily, leaving no sticky mess behind.
9. Wrap cakes in cling film as soon as they are removed from tin to lock in moisture
Cakes taste best when they are fresh and can dry out quickly if not covered. For optimum freshness and moistness, wrap cakes up whilst still warm.
How to: To prevent your cakes from drying out, let them cool slightly in the pan first, then take them out and wrap them in clingfilm whilst still warm until ready to use.
10. Drop cakes to help create a flat, even cake
Yep, you read that right. Dropping cakes immediately after they are baked helps release any trapped air bubbles and promotes a flat top on your cake.
How to: As soon as the cakes have finished baking, hold the cake tin several inches in height from a bench top and drop. Leave to cool slightly in pan before inverting onto a cooling rack.
11. Freeze bananas to bake with later
I can never seem to eat bananas before they go brown and I don’t always have time to bake with them before they are past it. Solution? Freeze them!
How to: Freeze bananas when they are ripe. When ready to use, thaw and use them to bake banana bread, cake, or muffins. Alternatively, you can make banana ice cream with them by blitzing them in a food processor whilst they are partially frozen/thawed.
12. Store cookies with an apple to keep them moist
If you are anything like me, having cookies lying around is probably a rare thing. However in case you have a large supply, you’ll want to make sure they don’t go stale.
How to: Store them with an apple slice or piece of bread in an airtight container.
In need of cookie recipe ideas? Check out my cookie recipes here.
13. Coat fresh/dried fruit in flour prevent fruit from sinking
Blueberry, cherry or dried fruit cakes are much prettier when they fruit is well distributed throughout the cake.
How to: Stir through 1 tablespoon of the dry cake mixture with the fruit before mixing into the batter. In case this is making you hungry, here is a yummy recipe for blueberry muffins.
14. To enhance lemon flavoured cakes, rub lemon zest into sugar
Rubbing citrus zest into sugar helps release the oils from the skins, creating a stronger, more fragrant flavour.
How to: Use fingertips to rub zest into sugar until fragrant.
…and there we have it.
14 little baking hacks that help to make our baking lives that much easier!
What other baking hacks do you find useful in your kitchen?