Bake smarter not harder.

With Mother’s Day around the corner and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea rolling around later this month, it’s likely that a few of us are going to be throwing our aprons on and jumping in the kitchen for a bit of a bake-off.

Whether it’s cookies for mum, banana bread for morning tea, or just a bit of baking for the fun of it, we’ve got a few hacks up our sleeves that’ll give you an extra hand in the kitchen so your creations come out better than ever.

Baking Hacks

1. Drop it
Impress mum with your baking skills by producing a cake free of those unsightly air bubbles. Just pour the batter into your pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, then drop the pan from a height of about 30 centimetres. The impact will burst those air bubbles and settle the batter back into the pan to create a nice and even shape.

Note: use this only for cakes with baking soda or baking powder, not egg foam cakes (they need the bubbles).

2. Keep brown sugar soft
You’re finally ready to quickly throw together that carrot cake for mum in the morning, only to realise the brown sugar has gone hard. Do you give in? Now’s not the time for that.

Prevent this disastrous situation from occurring by always storing a slice of bread with your brown sugar. The bread keeps the sugar soft so it’s ready to use anytime, whether it’s been sat there on the shelf for two months or not.

3. Whip cream in a mason jar
You can keep some aerosol whipped cream lying around at home for emergency baking sessions, but that’s not very healthy or good for the environment either. Now, what if we showed you a way to whip cream on demand, using only a mason jar?

Just throw a mason jar in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, with the lid on. Remove the jar, add a cup of heavy cream and sugar, re-screw the lid and shake like crazy for about five minutes. You’ll notice the sound change as the cream is whipped and begins to coat the sides of the jar.

4. Twirl two different icings
You could ice cakes and muffins with just one colour, but what if you wanted to do two colours? Or even three? Or better yet – what if you wanted to mix two different icing flavours together to produce the ultimate frosting? Think chocolate + peanut butter, strawberry + vanilla.

To create an icing twirl with two different colours or flavours of icing, you’ll need a disposable icing decorating bag for each of the colours/flavours, and a final bag to do the actual icing from. Fill each bag a little less than ½ full with icing, then flatten the bags out and stack them on top of each other, before sliding them into the larger bag. Read the full tutorial here.

Baking Hacks

4. Stop your beaters from splattering

We’ve all been there. Enjoy less clean up and easier whisking by using a paper plate to stop splatters from occurring. Just cut holes into the paper plate to allow the beaters to pass through, then put the plate above the beaters. It’ll catch the back splash so you can work faster and have less clean up later!

6. Get that honey out!
When you measure a glass of something sticky like honey, then pour it out and end up with a lot of residue on the glass – does that still count as 1 cup of honey? Probably not. To release every bit of honey from the cup, spray it with a non-stick spray before using. You’ll end up with more accurate measurements and less cleanup – both good things!

7. Make vegan meringues
Once upon a time, we thought meringues could only be made from egg whites. How times have changed. Thanks to aquafaba – another name for that liquid you find in chickpea cans – you can very easily make vegan meringues without a single egg.

Treat the aquafaba as you would with egg whites. Pour it in a mixer, and mix like mad for about 15 minutes. It will take a little longer than egg whites to reach those stiff peaks, but they will be reached! Once that’s done, add your sugar and vanilla, and get baking.

Note: Use aquafaba as an egg white replacement for anything, not just meringues!

Baking Hack

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