5 Tips for Better Baking

5 tips to better baking

Whether you’re a seasoned baker, starting out, professionally trained or self-taught, you still experience baking fails. Baking is a science but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Over the years, I’ve made (and learned from) many mistakes but the key to anything is persistence and practice. Once you get some practice under your belt and get into a routine, things will run smoother and you’ll experience consistent results. Check out my 5 tips for better baking.

Invest in Some Basic Kitchen Tools

First things first – the proper tools are a necessity for every kind of artist so you’ll need to invest in some good kitchen tools for your baking needs. You don’t want to waste your time by washing the same bowl or same spatula because you only have one, so it’s a good idea to purchase a few of each or sets. The right tools will help you achieve successful results so invest in some good basics and essentials like sets of measuring spoons and cups, a set of sturdy mixing bowls, spoons and spatulas, a rolling pin and baking sheets and pans. I have a list of some of my favourite essentials that I can’t live without in another blog post which you can check out here: https://sweetiecakebakeshop.com/6-bakers-essentials-i-cant-live-without/

Ensure Your Baking Ingredients are Fresh

fresh lemon juice, 5 tips to better baking

When is comes to better baking, fresh ingredients are key. Ingredients play an important part in your end product, so make sure to check best before dates or look up an ingredient’s shelf life for freshness. For example, old yeast or stale baking powder will not give you proper rise. This can cause cookies to come out flat or spread or dough to not proof so make sure your ingredients are fresh and not past their shelf-life. Click below for a handy chart which outlines the shelf life of basic pantry ingredients. https://www.redpathsugar.com/shelf-life-baking-ingredients

Prepping Your Ingredients in Advance

Prepping your ingredients in advance

The French call this ‘mise en place’. Mise en Place is a culinary term referring to having your ingredients prepped and organized before you begin to cook. Measuring out ingredients and having them in order makes following along with your recipe a breeze. We’ve all had a moment where we forgot something or added it twice because we weren’t prepared or because we lost our place in a recipe (guilty!!). Another good reason to get into the habit of prepping your ingredients in advance is because some recipes require certain ingredients to be room temperature like butter or eggs for example. Having ingredients like this pre-measured and sitting at room temp before you start will ensure that your baked goods incorporate and bake evenly, and turn out perfectly. Prepping your ingredients in advance also takes the stress out of following along. This keeps your workspace cleaner and more organized so you can focus on the process of each step.

Weigh Your Ingredients

You might be wondering why I’m including this point as one of my 5 tips to better baking, but consider a kitchen scale part of those quality kitchen tools we spoke about above. The most accurate way to measure out ingredients is to weigh your ingredients. Even the slightest difference in a measurement can affect the end product in a recipe. After all, baking is a science so using a scale ensures all ingredients are measured precisely which yields better results. You can find kitchen scales at every price point from low to high. Look for a moderately priced scale that’s sturdy and durable so it lasts you more than just a few years in the kitchen.

Read Through Your Recipe More Than Once

I know this last tid-bit seems a bit obvious but it’s one that we’re all guilty of not doing. How many times have you found a recipe you wanted to try or needed last minute and just dove right in spontaneously not reading the ingredients or the process at all?….my hand is up! I’ve done it too lol! Often times we quickly skim over things and information gets missed. The first time you read through your recipe you can make sure you have all the ingredients required. Then read it a second time so you fully understand the directions and process. Nothing is worse than getting to the main part of a recipe and you just don’t understand what to do. Reading through your recipe more than once before you begin allows you to research anything that you aren’t sure about so when it’s time to actually make the recipe, it’ll be smooth sailing!

Bonus Baking Tip – Have Fun!

5 tips to better baking, have fun
Have fun!

This is the not-so-secret secret ingredient to baking……Just have fun! Baking should be fun so make it playful! If something doesn’t turn out the first time or gets a bit messy it’s ok. Make a mess, have fun, try again and again and learn as you go. I hope you give these 5 tips to better baking a try the next time you bake up a little something and let me know if they helped you and how your recipe turned out!

6 Bakers Essentials I Can’t Live Without

6 bakers essentials I can't live without

A Baker’s Gotta Bake

There are just some things a baker cannot live without. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all the mistakes, flops, late nights and years baking, it’s that you need a decent arsenal of tools in your kitchen to get the job done, make it easier and ensure perfect results. There are a LOT of tools and baking accoutrements out there that you don’t actually need so it’s easy to go overboard. Investing in some great basics is all you require to get started whether your baking journey is one for business or pleasure. Here are 6 bakers essentials I can’t live without:

The Workhorse of Bakers Essentials

I’m starting things off with my absolute, can’t-live-without-it must-have. This item is the workhorse of my kitchen (other than my oven). It’s also the item on my list of essentials with the biggest price tag. It’s the MVP, and it’s my Kitchen-Aid mixer. To some people this may not be essential or it’s out of budget. However, if you’re serious about baking whether it’s for business or because you’re super passionate about baking as a hobby, then start saving sweetie! Stand mixers save time and for me time is everything! From kneading dough to mixing up cake batter, a mixer does it all in less time so you don’t have to. There’s many brands of stand mixers out there but I prefer Kitchen-Aid because it hasn’t let me down despite all I’ve thrown at it. I received my first mixer shortly after I got married. I still use it almost daily and it hasn’t given me any problems as of yet (knock on wood). A few years ago I got a second smaller one and not only do they both look great (so many pretty colours to choose from!), they also aren’t as bulky as some other brands. If you’re in the market for a mixer, I encourage you to research reviews on different brands before you buy.

The Right Weigh to Go

My second bakers essentials I can’t live without is a kitchen scale. Baking is a science and precise measurements can make or break recipe results so I highly suggest using a scale to weigh out all ingredients instead of measuring. Scales come in every price point from very low to pricey but keep in mind, you get what you pay for. Try to think of what your baking needs will be. Are you a serious baker or do you plan on just occasionally dabbling in it? From there you can decide on what type of scale you want to invest in. Just be sure to pick a kitchen scale of decent quality so it works properly and lasts more than a batch of cookies.

Every Girl Needs a Good Pan

Next up on my list of essentials is baking sheets and pans. This is a big one and let me tell you: I’ve tried so many different baking sheets and cake pans. Some rusted, some warped and some just right-out gave me terrible results. I stay away from dark, non-stick coated pans and opt for more professional quality. For baking sheets I stick with shiny metal pans that have a good weight to them. You can find great quality baking sheets at restaurant supply stores or specialty kitchen stores. In terms of cake pans, again I avoid dark, non-stick coated pans and opt for the silver cake tins. My two favourite brands are Magic Line and Fat Daddio. Over the years I can honestly say these two brands have given me consistent, superior results with proven durability. Stay tuned for an upcoming post with links to all of my go-to pans and other must-haves.

Rack Attack

Once you’ve baked those perfect cakes and cookies, where do they go? On a baking rack to cool of course! Every baker should have a cooling rack or two to evenly cool all of those delicious sweets and treats properly. When your baking comes out of the oven, air circulation and a flat surface is important to avoid from having items sweat with condensation or fall apart. Look for cooling racks with small squares instead of just long open grates. This type of cooling rack is more sturdy, will provide a stable, level surface and prevents baked goods from falling through and breaking or crumbling.

In the Mix of Things

Nothing is more annoying than having to wash the same bowl or spoon over and over again while your baking up a storm in the kitchen. Save yourself the tears and your time and buy a set of mixing bowls and sets of spoons and spatulas. I mean an actual set. Whether you prefer glass, or metal bowls or both, choose a set of bowls that comes with ranging sizes from small to large and that nest inside each other for easy storage. For spoons and spatulas, buy a few of each so you won’t need to stop in the middle of baking to wash things up to use again. These items are essentials that not only every baker needs but every kitchen should have to start with.

How Do Your Bakers Essentials Measure Up?

Hopefully with measuring cups and spoons! Yes you’ll need a scale but you’ll also need to measure out ingredients the standard way as well. Ask anyone what bakers essentials comes to mind when they think baking and they’ll probably start with measuring cups and spoons. Invest in some sturdy metal measuring spoons and measuring cups for both dry ingredients as well as liquid. These are basics that every kitchen should have whether or not you’re an avid baker, or cook. Keep an eye out here: http://sweetiecakebakeshop.com/my-favourite-things/ for my “My Favourite Things” blog posts where I get a chance to share some of my fave tools and go-to baking items and where you can find them. I hope you found this list of bakers essentials and how to choose them helpful for your next big baking project!

Happy Baking! xo Heather

The Sweet Spot – Sweetie Cake Bake Shop’s new Baking Blog!

the sweet spot, baking blog, sweetie cake bake shop,

Finally…Sweetie Cake Bake Shop’s Baking Blog!

I’ve been waiting for years to say this…Welcome to the Sweet Spot! Sweetie Cake Bake Shop’s new blog! Sweetie Cake Bake Shop was born over 10 years ago! When I first started I was a brand new mom. I was beginning on a new path with a vision of turning a passion into a business. Things got busy because life is busy. While I always had the desire to share, when I first started out I didn’t have the time, platforms or experience to do that. Fast forward to today. Years of baking, decorating and celebrations have passed; Mistakes have been made and lessons have been learned; New techniques and countless recipes have been tried; Social Media channels have been built and grown. Now is the time for something fresh and new again and I’m finally beginning a blog for Sweetie Cake Bake Shop and sharing my first blog post! Late to the game I know, but as I sit here and type away I’m bubbling over with anticipation to finally share my time, knowledge, ideas and baking experience with you.

What you can expect from the Sweet Spot?

So what exactly will you find over here at the Sweet Spot? There’s so many things that I can’t wait to share with you! I’m excited to share tried and true recipes with you as well as tips and tricks to ensure perfect results (and avoid frustration). There will be decorating knowledge to help you achieve beautiful baked goods and essential kitchen and decorating tools that will help make the job easier. What more could you ask for in a baking blog? Well, you’ll also find a bit about me, Heather – allow me to introduce myself by clicking here http://sweetiecakebakeshop.com/about/ . You’ll find some of my many custom creations, you can find most of them here at: www.instagram.com/sweetiecakebakeshop, on my IG page and you’ll also find a sprinkling of some of my favourite things – because who doesn’t love pretty things in their kitchen and workspace!?

Stories Created by a Passion

As a (mostly) self-taught baker and edible artist, I’ve learned SO much over the years. I’ve made many mistakes and I’ve tried recipe after recipe. I have implemented countless changes, adapted and rolled with the punches and built a small biz with many memories along the way. This baking blog is a big step outside my comfort zone, however it’s one that makes complete sense and is overdue. Writing and communicating through storytelling has been one of my strengths since I was young. It’s another creative outlet I’ve always enjoyed so I’m very excited to share my passion for baking in this way. I hope you find value in these things and truly enjoy all of the sweetness I’m about to share with you!

“You’ll never get bored when you try something new. There’s really no limit to what you can do.”

– Dr. Seuss

xo Heather