My Top Ten Tips...
Over the years I have picked up lots of tips. Sometimes it's something pretty obvious, but occasionally you get one that makes you go "ooooooh, that's genius!". Tips for baking, tips for decorating, even just tips for making less of a mess... I've found them pretty handy.
So here are my top ten (and one or two more for good luck! I hope they help you too!
- Always weigh out your ingredients before you start baking - there is nothing more frustrating than discovering that you are missing something!
- When making cupcakes, use an ice cream scoop to measure out your mixture into the cupcake cases.
- If you are not baking a full tray of cupcakes half-fill the empty spaces with water to even out the heat distribution.
- If making buttercream with a handwhisk always cover the bowl with a tea towel to stop the icing sugar flying everywhere!
- Invest in an oven thermometer. All ovens vary a little in temperature so this is the only way to know that the temperature is correct.
- The temperature also usually varies between the front and the back of the oven. To bake your cupcakes and cakes more evenly turn them around two-thirds into the cooking time.
- Make sure that all of your ingredients (especially eggs and butter/margarine!) are at room temperature before you start baking; this will make them easier to mix together.
- Never store your sugarpaste decorations in airtight tupperware as this will make them 'sweat' - always store in cardboard cake boxes.
- If you are decorating cakes with sugarpaste and you have hot hands allow the sugarpaste to rest if it gets to sticky. Try to avoid using icing sugar to stop the sugarpaste getting sticky (this will just dry it out); if you really feel that you need it then dust your hands using a sugar shaker rather than pouring icing sugar on your surface.
- If you are decorating cakes using sugarpaste then make sure that you invest in a food grade foam pad. When you cut items out make sure that before taking the icing out of the cutter that you gently rub the cutter and icing on the foam pad. This will get rid of any excess icing from the edges and will give you that really sharp professional look.
... and some more...
When working with sugarpaste and flower paster always wrap up the sugarpaste that you aren't using to stop it drying up.