My Top 10 Baking Hacks

I am loving spring. The past week has been sunny and beautiful. The trees and flowers are blooming and the temperature has been perfect. I’m not used to living in a state with seasons. Las Vegas has a mild winter and an extremely hot summer. Texas goes from a mild winter to a week or two of spring, then straight into hot and humid summers. 

Now that the long dreary winter has passed, all I want to do is sit in the sun. I now understand why my in-laws always wanted to sit in the sun when they came to visit us during late winters in Las Vegas and Texas. 

With the longer days and the sun shining, I have been spending more time cooking and baking. Of course, I don’t like to spend all of my time in the kitchen, so I try to find ways to make cooking and baking less time-consuming. Here’s a list of a few tried and true baking/decorating hacks that will make you next project more convenient.

1. Quick pan release recipe. I use this recipe every time I bake a cake. I spread a light layer on the pan with a silicone pastry brush then fill the pan with batter. It’s the best and it works.

Quick Pan Release - Balancing Bites

2. Replace water with strong coffee in a chocolate cake recipe. This results in a rich chocolate taste.

3. Don’t have any buttermilk? No worries, just mix 1 Tablespoon of vinegar in 1 cup of whole milk and you have instant buttermilk.

Homemade Buttermilk - Balancing Bites

4. Use a measuring cup to measure the amount of batter you put in each cake pan to ensure an even cake height and bake time.

5. After you’ve filled the cake pan with batter, hold it few inches above the counter top and drop it a few times a few times to release the air bubbles.

6. Wrap a wet cloth strip around the cake pan to ensure even baking and flat tops. I’ve used strips of towels that I have cut and I have used Wilton Bake Even Strips.

Wilton Bake Even Strips - Balancing Bites

7. My grandmother taught me how to test if baking powder and baking soda have expired. For baking powder, add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to a 1/3 cup of hot water. If there isn’t any bubbling then the baking powder has expired. To test baking soda, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  If there isn’t any bubbling then the baking soda has expired.

8. Use cookie cutters as a stencil when decorating with sprinkles or candies.

Stenciled Heart Cake - Balancing Bites

9. Ran out of powder sugar? Not a problem. Blend granulated sugar in the blender or food processor until it reaches powder consistency.

10. Wanting to make your cake healthier? Replace the oil or butter with unsweetened applesauce in a 1:1 ratio.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.



What Happened to Spring and a Birthday Cake

Spring?

Today is the first day of spring, and yesterday I saw this little guy poking through my garden.


Is it Finally Spring in PA - Balancing Bites


And today, this is happening. Where I come from this isn’t spring. Sigh.



First Day of Spring in PA - Balancing Bites


A Friend’s Birthday Cake

Most of the cakes I made in Austin did not turn out great. I blame the humidity. They were always too dense and the frosting didn't hold up.

One of the few cakes that turned out okay, was a cake I made for my friend’s birthday. The cake reflected her love of dogs and tattoos.

Tattoo and Dog Birthday Cake
I made a french vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream and covered  it in Satin Ice fondant (my favorite store bought fondant).

The red hearts were made with gum paste and outlined using a black food marker. The ribbon was also made using gum paste.

The dog was made from half fondant/half gum paste, which dries quickly while allowing time to shape the pieces.

I wrapped the bottom of the cake with a thick black ribbon.

I wanted my friend to have this cake not only because it was her birthday, but also because she was separated from her husband and family due to relocating for work. I wanted her to have a nice birthday. She loved the cake.

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful spring day.


2D Tip Border Tutorial Part Two

Can you believe it is March? It’s hard to believe when we’re still getting snow. I’m hoping the recent downpour of snow will be the last until next winter. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the 50’s next week. It’s going to feel like summer compared to negative and single digits temperature we’ve had recently. 

For the second part of the 2D tip tutorial, I'll walk you through six buttercream borders.


2D Tip Tutorial Part 2 - Balancing Bites


The first border is a tight zigzag design. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle facing 9:00 with the tip lightly touching the cake. Squeeze the piping bag with steady pressure while moving your hand in an up and down motion. To end the design or take a break, stop squeezing the bag then pull away. Continue to create a border.


2D Tip Tutorial Part 2 - Balancing Bites


The second border design is a twisted star. Hold the bag perpendicular to the cake with the tip lightly touching the surface. Squeeze the bag to make a star then twist your wrist in a counterclockwise direction. After twisting your wrist, stop squeezing the bag and pull the tip straight up and away. Continue to make a border.


2D Tip Tutorial Part 2 - Balancing Bites


The next design is a relaxed zigzag. Follow the same directions above, but stretch the zigzags by increasing the width. Continue to make a border.


2D Tip Tutorial Part 2 - Balancing Bites


The next border is similar to a rope design. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle and lightly touching the surface. While squeezing the piping bag, make a sideways “S” then stop squeezing and pull the tip away. Next, place the tip on the bottom curve of the “S” and squeeze the bag to make another sideways “S.” The middle of the “S” should touch the tail end of the first “S.” Continue until your border is complete.

 2D Tip Tutorial Part 2 - Balancing Bites


The last border looks like a continuous cursive lower case “e.” Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle and lightly touching the surface. Squeeze the bag with steady pressure while moving it up around and to the right as if writing a cursive lower case “e.” Continue until the border is complete.

 2D Tip Tutorial Part 2 - Balancing Bites


The only border I forgot to add is a reverse shell border. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle and lightly touching the surface. The first shell will look like a sideways question mark. Squeeze the bag with steady pressure allowing the buttercream to start fanning out and make a small curve like the top of a question mark. Continue to squeeze the bag and bring the tip back down. Gently relax the pressure and pull the tip away to finish the tail of the question mark. 

The next shell will be reversed like a backward question mark. Follow the same directions as the first shell. Below is a picture of a cake with a reverse shell from a Cake Central upload. Doesn’t the chocolate cake look delicious?


Reverse Shell Border


I hope this tutorial helps. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.


LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...