Organize your ingredients!

IMG_1556Baking Tip # 2

 

Organize and count your ingredients. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to include an ingredient in my batter. This is a true story so don’t judge.

I must preface this with the fact that this was in the early days of my baking adventures.  I was so excited to bake on this particular day. It was a cake I had baked many times.  Nothing fancy, just your regular vanilla cake. As the story goes, I must have been sleepy or something because the cake was already in the oven looking pretty, when I realized that the eggs were sitting on the counter staring at me.  Well, you can finish the story from here…. Needless to say that’s how tip # 2 was born.

 

So what I do now, is I line up the ingredients on the counter or on a tray and cross check against the recipe. I count the number of ingredients in the recipe and then count the ingredients on the counter. Once I’m ready to put it all together, I remove each ingredient to the other side of the counter so I don’t make the mistake of putting it in twice or not at all. This tip has saved me so much time and aggravation.  Happy baking!

 

Do you have a baking tip you would like to share?

Tip of the Day Butter and Eggs

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Two key ingredients in baking are butter and eggs. Many cakes and baked goods require “room temperature” eggs and butter. When I first started baking I never really paid close attention to why this was so important. I was just eager to bake. But soon found out why the butter and the eggs needed to be brought to room temperature.  I learned that it just makes a better cake, plain and simple. The room temperature eggs and butter incorporates easier and the cake when done is lighter and fluffier.  If you skip this step, as I’ve done many times and learned the hard way, you will see that when you mix the cold eggs in to the cold butter all you get is chunks of butter with eggs that won’t blend well. Here are the tips to help you bake a better cake.

Tip # 1

Bring eggs and butter to room temperature.  It is important to bring eggs and butter to room temperature before baking because it will incorporate easier.    If you are pressed for time, put the eggs in a bowl of warm water, (not boiling, you do not want to cook the eggs).   Leave it for about 10 minutes while you are getting the rest of the ingredients ready.

The butter should be soft but not too soft. The consistency of peanut butter is good. Why do we refrigerate butter anyway? What did they do in the old days? I never understood that but this is a question for another day. Anyway, you can cut the butter into small pieces or you can microwave it with the wrapper 20 seconds at a time and watch it. Be careful not to leave it in there too long.  I guarantee you won’t like the clean up.  Once the butter is brought to room temperature, beat the butter with an electric mixer or by hand for a few minutes before adding the sugar.  I find this helps the process go a lot faster when the baking is unplanned.

Do you have a question or a tip to share?