Whip Up Your Weekend - 10 Tips to Make Weekend Baking a Breeze
We offer 10 tips to make weekend baking a breeze for you and your family.
A few weeks into lockdown many of us were whipping and whisking our way to beautiful desserts and it was brilliant! But the downside to a baking frenzy is that once the cake is safely in the oven, the stacks and stacks of baking bowls, cake tins and moulds, and piping bags and nozzles are piled up on the kitchen sink waiting for you to get stuck in and clean. Not exactly what you had in mind.
In this article, we offer 10 tips to make your weekend baking fun for the entire family:
1. Take the time to make a list of what you will need well in advance. That way, you will have plenty of time to pick a recipe that meets with your skill level - one that will give everyone in the family something to look forward to at the end of a long week.
2. Read over the recipe! Few things are more frustrating than the ‘chill overnight’ instruction in the last step of a recipe. Reading the recipe carefully will allow you to plan your time so that you can bake your creation and still have time to enjoy the rest of your weekend plans.
3. Make a precise list of ingredients that you need and check that you have the correct size baking tins. The ratio of fat and sugar in a recipe weaken the structure of a baked product. Making sure you use the correct size tin for your baked good according to the recipe will prevent any accidental collapses.
4. Make sure that you buy all your ingredients, and everything else you might need, well in advance. This will give you plenty of time to source any specialist ingredients online or at baking supply stores. Although many of us are guilty of using cocoa powder when the recipe calls for Dutch cocoa powder, the two have different alkalinities that react with baking powder slightly differently and the wrong one may compromise the texture of your cake.
5. Make sure you understand the baking terminology in your recipe. Combining, mixing, beating, and whisking are all the many ways of bringing ingredients together, but also mean different methods in the sugary world of baking. With hundreds of different baking terms out there, you may need to ask a baker friend or research terms to know what the recipe is asking you to do.
6. You will want to start cooking with a kitchen that is nice and clean, one where you won't have to try to balance a full cake tin full in one hand while trying to open the oven door with the other. The last thing you want is to end up cleaning cake batter off the floor. You will want to avoid accidents that result in mess and spills, so make sure the space is organised.
7. Grease or line your tins before you begin and preheat your oven. All food cooks unevenly in a cold oven and yeast, baking soda and baking powder will react differently at varying temperatures. Don't forget to pre-heat the oven so that you know for sure that you cookies and cakes will rise as you planned.
8. Measure your ingredients carefully. The art of baking, whether it is cookies, cakes, biscuits or tarts, relies on the chemical reaction that takes place with the ingredients in your recipe - all of which go to achieving that perfectly light and fluffy cake. Be aware that there is a slight difference between dry ingredients and liquid cup quantities, so be sure to measure by weight at all times.
9. Set up a bake-off with a friend. Gather the family together for a friendly game of "Who baked it Best!" It's a wonderful way to motivate everyone in the kitchen and a fabulous way to have fun whilst learning from each other.
10. Bake a nostalgic recipe. Baking has an extraordinary way in bringing people together simply with happy memories, whether it's their mom’s favourite cake, their granny’s peanut butter biscuits or their aunties plum pudding. We all associate taste and smell of baked delights with treasured memories and baking one of your granny's recipes for a member of the family is like serving them a happy slice of childhood.
Although baking can seem daunting after a week of juggling work, kids and familial commitments, weekend recipes can be a fun way to unwind. Not to mention supplying delicious treats for weekend activities like picnics, family braais or just to show off your inner superwoman to your friends.
Grace Stevens – award-winning TV chef, cookbook author and mastermind behind Grace Stevens everyday baking and decorating – has successfully taken her two passions, baking and teaching, and seamlessly combined them into insightful and entertaining culinary classes.
Grace is also a very busy mom to four children and although the balancing act between being a dedicated mother to four kids, a loving wife and a successful entrepreneur may be as delicate as some of her icing creations, Grace pulls it off effortlessly.