Hack - ‘a clever solution to a tricky problem’
Problem - Many people have a passion and desire to eat delicious home-baked goods, but life’s demands get in the way.
Solution - Use our 5 kitchen hacks to make amazing home-baked treats but with a little less time and effort on your part.
Create a buttermilk substitute
Cakes with buttermilk in just seem to taste better, for this reason we love to see it in recipes. The downside is, it seems increasingly difficult to locate buttermilk in the supermarkets.
Fear not, rather than wasting time joylessly scanning the aisles, why not use our homemade buttermilk hack that requires nothing other than milk and plain yoghurt?
All you need to do is mix the ingredients at the ratio of ⅔ yoghurt, ⅓ milk and voila, buttermilk.
Note - it’s fine to use low or non-fat yoghurt should you wish to.
2. Use baking strips
There’s no worse feeling than spending an afternoon toiling away with measurements and dough, only for your cake to not rise properly. Urrrgh!
Our advice here is to use baking strips to ensure each cake you bake is perfectly level, moist and without a cracked or overly risen top in sight.
The science behind baking strips is really simple: as a cake bakes, the sides in contact with the hot metal bake at a faster rate. By wrapping a strip around the cake tin, you create an insulator that sees the sides and centre bake at an even rate. The overall effect of this simple hack is a perfectly level cake with no crowning or waste. Perfect.
Although baking strips can be bought in stores, you can easily make your own too. Simply cut an old kitchen towel, dampen it and wrap it evenly around your cake tin.
3. Say goodbye to stray eggshells
Now, this is a BIG hack. How frustrating is it trying (and failing) to collect errant bits of eggshell that have fallen into your mixing bowl? If you aren't already aware of this simple hack, you'll be annoyed at the ease at which you could have previously avoided wasting time fishing around for pesky shells.
All you have to do is wet your finger. You’ll find that this causes the shell to naturally gravitate towards your fingers so you can prevent experiencing an unwanted crunch in your cake in no time at all.
4. Freeze first, frost later
Did you know that non-iced cakes and cupcakes keep in a freezer for up to a month? This means that if you want to serve cake a few times in a month but are short for time, simply make the bases for your cakes when you are free. Then, when the time comes, all you have to do is pull them out the freezer and apply frosting.
It’s important to securely wrap the cakes in a plastic wrap before freezing and then, when you want to eat them, let them thaw before applying frosting. This tip works really well when serving a layered cake, as applying icing is far easier when the cake base is chilled.
5. Use marshmallows for icing
On the subject of applying icing to cakes, this little hack will leave you with delightful little cupcakes that will be ready in no time. If you want to avoid nipping to the shops for frosting and are pushed for time to make your own, then you will love this tip.
Bake your cupcakes as you would normally, but instead set a timer to go off five minutes before they’re finished baking. Quickly take them out when the first timer goes and add a marshmallow to the top of each one, before returning them to the oven to finish. The melted marshmallow will leave you with a gorgeous topping whipped up in no time at all.
Give it a try
As you can see, baking is a hobby that doesn’t have to eat into all of your time. We hope these tips will inspire you to pick up your rolling pin, don an apron and start baking again.
If you do, please send in pictures of your wonderfully crafted cakes to our social channels shown below, we’d love to see them.