Baking tips by Beth Williams
Beth, known under the Instagram account @lolliesandbakes, has baked the most delightful sweet treats for us in 2022. Beth's step by step recipes are easy to follow, quick to make, and of course super tasty! You don't need to be a Master Chef to replicate her recipes, but to help you even more, Beth shared with us her best tips to shine in the kitchen.
Tips for making caramel sauce
The less you stir during the process of making the caramel the better as the sauce is less likely to crystallise.
Stir the caramel with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Using a metal spoon can cause the caramel to crystallise.
Tips for light sponges and tasty cakes
By folding in the flour for your sponge mix with a spatula or metal spoon, this ensures the air bubbles in the mixture are retained and it will help make your cake mixture light.
If a recipe asks for baking spread but you only have unsalted butter, you can usually substitute the baking spread for butter, just make sure the butter is at room temperature.
Tips for smooth buttercream
Cover your buttercream with cling film when you are not using it to stop it crusting on top.
To get a pale, almost white buttercream, beat the butter for at least 5 minutes. You will notice it will lose a lot of its yellow colour. You can also add a small amount of purple food colouring to the buttercream to remove any yellow tones.
For lovely smooth buttercream with no air bubbles, beat your buttercream for at least 5 minutes. Once done, fold the buttercream using a silicone spatula, pressing out any air bubbles. Your arm might ache but it will be worth it!
A mess free way to transfer buttercream to a piping bag is to use a tall glass. Fit your piping nozzle into the piping bag, then sit the piping bag in the glass with the top of the bag folded over the edge of the glass.
When cake decorating, pop your cake into the fridge for at least 30 minutes in-between each stage of frosting. From the crumb coat to the final layer, the cake will be firmer and easier to frost.
Tips for making bread pudding
Your bread should be stale and fairly firm. If the bread is too fresh, your bread pudding will end up soggy.
If you don’t have any stale bread it’s easy to make some. Simply lay out your slices of bread on a baking tray and pop them in the oven at 160°C fan for 10-15 mins, turning them over halfway through. Allow the bread to cool before using.
To make chocolate ganache
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes. This will help the chocolate melt before you start stirring it.
To speed up the thickening process of ganache, put it in the fridge in 10-minute intervals, stirring in-between.
Tips for making biscuits and cookies
Chilling biscuit dough before baking prevents the biscuits from spreading too much and losing their shape while in the oven.
A neat way to cut biscuit dough is to roll it out and place it in the fridge to chill. When you come to use your biscuit cutter, the cut will be cleaner and you can transfer the cut dough to your baking tray without changing its shape.
If you want to make the cookie dough ahead of time, you can freeze it. Portion the cookie dough and roll it into shape, then pop it in the freezer. When it comes to baking, add a few minutes onto the cooking time.
If your cookies have spread during baking, take a round cookie cutter or large glass which is wider than the cookie. Place this over each cookie as soon as they come out of the oven and slowly move it around the edge of the cookie.
When using Fondant icing
When colouring fondant it can stain your hands. To avoid this wear disposable food/medical gloves.
If making fondant in advance, tightly wrap it in cling film and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. If stored correctly, the fondant will last up to 2 months.
To stop fondant from sticking when rolling it out, dust the base and top with icing sugar.
If your recipe involves sticking fondant to biscuits, first try brushing some water on the back of the fondant. If water alone doesn’t stick the fondant to the biscuit, try using sugar syrup or a thin layer of jam.
How to fill a cupcake
To hollow out the middle of the cupcakes, use an apple corer or the end of a large piping nozzle. You ideally want to go about two thirds of the way down, but be careful not to go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake.
For an outstanding Shaggy cake effect
When piping using a grass tip, keep pressure on the piping bag as you pull away from the cake and then release. This will give you long strings of buttercream.
To get the shaggy look, pipe from the bottom up, making sure each layer of piping falls slightly over the layer below.
Now no excuses, you can put these helpful tips in practice :) so dust off your apron and get cracking.
If you want to share your favourite baking tips, please pop them in the comment below! We would love to see them