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- 85g butter, plus extra for tin
- 140g digestive biscuits, made into fine crumbs (add 2 extra biscuits if you like a thicker base)
- 1 tbsp sugar, granulated or golden caster
For the cheesecake filling
- 900g Philadelphia cheese, or other full-fat soft cheese
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
- 3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
- 284ml carton soured cream
For the soured cream topping
- 142ml carton soured cream
- 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4.
- Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin by putting a square piece of parchment paper or foil on top of the tin base and then clipping the side on so the paper or foil is trapped and any excess sticks out of the bottom.
- For the crust, melt 85g butter in a medium pan. Stir in 140g digestive biscuit crumbs and 1 tbsp golden caster or granulated sugar so the mixture is evenly moistened.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add 250g golden caster sugar, then 3 tbsp plain flour and a pinch of salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle twice.
- Swap the paddle attachment for the whisk. Continue by adding 1½ tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp lemon zest and 1½ tsp lemon juice. Whisk in 3 large eggs and 1 yolk, one at a time, scraping the bowl and whisk at least twice.
- Stir a 284ml carton of soured cream until smooth, then measure 200ml (just over ¾ of the carton). Continue on low speed as you add the measured soured cream (reserve the rest). Whisk to blend, but don’t over-beat. The batter should be smooth, light and somewhat airy.
- Brush the sides of the springform tin with melted butter and put on a baking sheet. Pour in the filling – if there are any lumps, sink them using a knife – the top should be as smooth as possible. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 110C/ 90C fan/ gas ¼ and bake for 45 minutes more. If you gently shake the tin, the filling should have a slight wobble.
- Turn off the oven and open the oven door for a cheesecake that’s creamy in the centre, or leave it closed if you prefer a drier texture. Let cool in the oven for 2 hours. The cheesecake may get a slight crack on top as it cools.
- Combine the reserved soured cream with a 142ml carton soured cream, 1 tbsp golden caster sugar and 2 tsp lemon juice for the topping. Spread over the cheesecake right to the edges. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Run a round-bladed knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath.
The way you blend the ingredients is crucial: under-beating can lead to a lumpy mixture, over-beating can whip in too much air. This can result in uneven cooking, bubbles, and cracking.
KEEP EVERYTHING AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
Keep everything at room temperature.
To avoid lumps and ensure even mixing without over-beating, it is essential to have the soft cheese at room temperature before starting. Ideally, let it come to room temperature in its pack for 2 hours. If you’re short of time, cut the soft cheese into chunks and leave to soften for 1 hour. It also helps to have a tabletop mixer with a powerful motor. But if you don’t have one, a hand-held mixer works fine.
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Makes: Two loaves: 10 by 5 by 2-1/2 inches high
Oven Temperature: 400˚F/200˚C
Baking Time: 35 to 45 minutes
Adapted from Chef Andrew Meltzer, formerly instructor at the CIA, from Modern Baking Magazine 11-2005
This is deliciously different bread. It is complex and earthy in flavor and texture, with a moist crumb and crunchy crust. It is especially great toasted and spread with unsalted butter. Chef Meltzer writes that due to the Biga (easily made preferment), and the exceptional moistness locked in by the cooked oats, the bread will keep at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
This recipe is for the experienced bread baker who doesn’t mind working with extremely sticky dough. After posting the photos of it on line, I got some requests for the recipe so I couldn’t resist offering it here.
It is a recipe that has taken me 13 years to try, mostly because it was written for large quantity production, making it necessary to break down all the components precisely into a more manageable amount of dough. I have adapted the recipe for the home baker but it is a very tricky recipe if one doesn’t use weight, so I am not listing volume except for the small amounts of yeast which are not possible to weigh unless one has a precise scale for small amounts. (The dough has a very low percentage of yeast—0.3% which gives it a long slow rise desirable for flavor and strength. It also has a high percentage of salt—2.6% that balances the oatmeal flavor and also helps to slow down the proofing).
This dough has 35% oats, some of which gets cooked into a porridge consistency and others that get toasted. After the initial mixing the dough will be extremely wet and sticky, especially since the toasted oats take a while to absorb moisture, and it will begin to firm up considerably after proofing. It is important to use high protein bread flour, such as King Arthur, to provide a strong network of gluten to support the oats.
You will need some special equipment to make this recipe successfully. In addition to a scale, you will need an oven stone, a cast iron pan for ice to create steam for the bread, a baking peel, a sheet of parchment, and a linen proofing cloth in which to set the shaped loaves.
18 to 24 hours ahead, make the Biga
Biga 177 grams
Bread flour 114 grams
Water 63 grams
Instant yeast 0.2 grams (1/16 teaspoon)
In a small container mix together all the ingredients to form very stiff dough. Coat the top with nonstick cooking spray, cover tightly, and let it sit until ready to mix the dough. It will become very soft but not stick to your fingers.
The oats can be cooked a day ahead, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Bring it to room temperature before mixing the dough.
Water 272 gramsRolled Oats 72 grams
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the rolled oats. Cook on low heat, stirring often, until all the water is absorbed. Spread it on a small sheet pan that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cool completely.
Water 252 gramsInstant yeast 2 grams (2/3 teaspoon)Honey 60 gramsBiga 175 grams, cut into piecesCooked oatsToasted Oats 108 grams (toast stirring often until lightly browned)Bread flour 330 gramsWhole wheat flour 60 gramsSalt 18 grams
Total Weight of finished dough: about 1280 grams
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, add all the ingredients in the order listed.
Mixed on low speed for 2 minutes or until all the flour is moistened. Raise the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be exceptionally sticky.
Proof the Dough for 3 Hours
Scrape the dough into a 2 quart rising container, which has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Coated the top, covered it tightly, and set it in a warm spot—ideally 80˚F/27˚C.
After 1-1/2 hours scrape the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Fold the dough in thirds and then in half. Round the dough and return it to the container, coating the top again. After another 1-1/2 hours it should have rise to 2 quarts. (This is a little less than double which is desirable so as not to overstretch and compromise the gluten framework of this more fragile dough.)
Shape the Dough
Divide the dough into two pieces, rounded it, and let it sit seam side up on a lightly floured counter for 15 minutes. Then shape it into bâtards (footballs). They will be about 9-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches.
Coat the Loaves with Rolled Oats
Roll each loaf with a damp towel and then roll them on a sheet pan filled with rolled oats.
Final Shaped Proofing
Set each loaf into the folds of an unfloured linen proofing cloth (couche) and use the cloth to lap over and over them. In a 70˚F/21˚C room they will take 2-1/2 hours to rise to 10 by 4 inches.
Preheat the Oven and Bake the Bread
A minimum of 45 minutes ahead, set the oven stone in the lower part of the oven and a cast iron pan on the floor of the oven, and preheat it to 400˚F/200˚C.
Set a piece of parchment on top of the baking peel and using a bread flipping board or the linen cloth, flip each loaf over onto the parchment, spacing them a little apart.
Make a long deep slash down the middle of each loaf and spray them with water.
Use the peel to slip the parchment with the loaves onto the baking stone. Immediately toss a handful of ice cubes into the pan and close the oven door.
Bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the loaves and if they are browning too quickly, tent loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil. If the oats on the bottoms of the loaves are browning too much, transfer the loaves to a baking sheet. Continue baking until an instant read thermometer reads 207˚F/ 97˚C.
Cooking and baking is both physical and mental therapy.” I relate to this quote like nothing else. It’s been a long time since I have been baking and despite my super hectic schedule, whenever I start whipping up a recipe, nothing gives me a greater adrenaline rush or an equal amount of happiness. I have been constantly asked by so many of you to come out with a post about baking tips for beginners and so, I am finally giving it my best shot!
I also started somewhere obviously and like everyone out there who is just beginning to test their baking skills, I have failed numerous times but all that matters today is how I got back up and didn’t lose my patience or my whisk, haha!
- Stick to the Recipes Sticking to recipes is a favor you’ll be doing to your own self!
- Set up ingredients before you start I think that having all the ingredients in front of you before you start whipping up your recipe is such a comfort! Measure all ingredients properly by using the required instruments and have them laid down in front of you so you are not running berserk in the middle of your preparation. Most culinary chefs swear by this tip and it ensures that your baking is a smooth and relaxing process and you don’t end up sweating or stressing yourself out.
- Room temperature is important When a recipe asks you to use a certain room temperature ingredient, most common being butter, stick to it, so when you beat your butter and sugar, it results in a cake that is nice and fluffy. Different temperatures of many ingredients give a different type of consistency- most often the consistency that you never wanted and it might also result in unavoidable lumps which means that all your hard work goes down the drain.
- Invest in a measuring equipment There is a variety of measuring equipment in the market today! From measuring cups to weighing scales, from metal measuring sets to plastic measuring sets, you can find anything as of today to make your preparation super easy. Most recipes ask for measuring cups and it is best if you invest in a set- any that you feel comfortable with. The sets include tablespoons, teaspoons, and so on. They also help you in saving your time judiciously because you’re not figuring out what or how to measure your ingredients!
- Parchment paper all the way! If you need to ensure to one hundred percent that your cake isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, parchment paper is the answer to all your prayers! Indeed, there are other methods like oiling or dusting with flour, but there is nothing like a good ol’ parchment paper that is allowing your cake to come out in the most beautiful way possible! I stick to it and so do so many more chefs around the world.
- Use an ice cream scooper for cookies When baking cookies, ensure that your cookie dough is firm and cold and use an ice cream scooper to put it onto the baking tray. An ice cream scooper will ensure that most of your cookies are blossoming into one size only and will also save you from a lot of stress and dirty hands, haha.
- Always sift dry ingredients Dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, and so on, should always be sifted. Even if the recipes don’t ask for it. Sifting allows your ingredients to get lighter and it allows the involvement of air. Sifted dry ingredients which become lighter than unsifted dry ingredients are easier to mix in the batter or in the dough. Not only this, sifting ensures that all of your individual dry ingredients come together to give a uniform mixture before you start with the batter or dough.
- Taking out sticky ingredients from measuring cups I use sticky ingredients like honey and peanut butter in a lotttt of my recipes. But, measuring them is indeed a pain. In order to get them out completely and without hassle, preferably spray or oil your measuring cup before proceeding with measuring such ingredients and always use a silicone spatula to completely take out all the remnants in the cup.
- Don’t give up
I get asked so many baking questions everyday, whether it be from you guys on comments and DMs or from my family and friends! That is why I bring to you all a dedicated post answering all those frequently asked questions. I believe that with the right guidance, anybody can enjoy baking. While you may get stuck somewhere or probably not get things perfect on your first try, do not give up! Here is a list of ten baking questions that I get asked most frequently, with their answers. So the next time you feel you need help, refer to this post for answers!
Also, if there’s any more baking questions that you would want me to take up, please leave them in the comments box below, I’d love to help you with them!
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Do I really need all my ingredients to be at room temperature?
Yess! I cannot stress this fact enough! So many people think this is insignificant, but the temperature of your ingredients majorly affects the finished product. Your ingredients must always be at room temperature, unless mentioned otherwise in the recipe. Lay out all your ingredients on the kitchen counter at least 30 minutes before you start. A recipe that calls for creaming butter and sugar will not work if your butter is cold. It needs to be soft to be able to get to the right consistency and trap air. Having ingredients at room temperature allows them to combine with each other homogeneously. Cold ingredients will not combine smoothly, leading to denser cakes, hard and flat cookies and clumpy frosting!
Can I substitute eggs in a recipe?
Substitutes for eggs is one of the most popular baking questions I get for every recipe I post! I realise that a lot of you do not consume eggs for various reasons, dietary or otherwise, which is why I try to include so many eggless recipes on my blog. Eggs are an essential ingredient in most baking recipes, however, they can be replaced with ingredients like Greek yogurt, condensed milk, flax egg, mashed bananas etc. However, not every substitute works as a standard for all recipes. So, you need to experiment in your kitchen to see what works best. Like you cannot replace eggs with mashed bananas in a macaroons recipe, haha!
It is also important that you keep in mind the quantity of eggs you are replacing and keep it in accordance to the substitute. Normally, I would suggest that for every egg that you replace, you either add ¼ cup or 4 tbsp of the corresponding substitute ingredient. To know more, why don’t you read my post on Egg substitutes in Baking?
Can I substitute whole wheat for all purpose flour?
While whole wheat flour can be easily replaced with all purpose flour, or maida, in all my recipes, it is not so simple the other way around. The germ and bran in whole wheat absorb more water, making baked goods denser and more crumbly. In cakes, where you need that light, fluffy and airy texture, you must stick to using all purpose flour.
I don’t have a stand mixer, can I still make this?
While a stand mixer definitely makes the job so much easier, you compulsorily do not need to invest in one to create delicious, stunning desserts. A stand mixer is quick and efficient, but a balloon whisk or a wooden spoon too can do a pretty good job. You’ll have to strain your muscles quite a bit to achieve the desired results though, haha! I suggest investing in a simple electric hand mixer, if not a stand mixer. It is extremely useful and versatile and would make baking seem almost effortless!
My cake sunk upon taking out of the oven and is gooey in the middle, what went wrong?
Yes, the cake is definitely under baked. Even if a cake has a perfect golden brown edge and nice looking crust, but still sinks in the middle, you didn’t bake it for long enough. The cake should have a springy texture, not a gooey one. If you are unsure of whether the cake is baked through, try doing the touch tests. When poked, the center of a perfectly baked cake springs back. If yours doesn’t, bake it till it does! You can also insert a wooden skewer or a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake it ready! Another off the list of most frequently asked baking questions.
Can I substitute oil for butter?
Generally speaking, no. Butter cannot always be replaced with oil in baking recipes. Oil lacks butter’s essential quality to be whipped. Butter is also essential in contributing to the flaky texture of pie and tart dough. You also can not replace butter with oil in cookie recipes. That will ruin the cookie dough texture and your cookies will spread too much. They will also not firm up because oil doesn’t set like butter does.
Can I substitute white sugar for brown or Demerara sugar? How do these affect the end result?
The whiter the sugar, the more refined it is. I usually use caster sugar or superfine sugar for basic baking. The grains of caster sugar don’t stick together and is best for meringues or for creaming with butter to make light and fluffy cakes. Darker sugars have added molasses, hence taste more caramel-y. I suggest you use whichever sugar is mentioned in the recipe. While packed brown sugar cannot be whisked with egg whites into a smooth, glossy meringue, it is essential in giving that chewy texture and rich flavour to chocolate chip cookies. I use a combination of caster sugar and soft brown sugar for my Eggless Chocolate chip Cookies, that I am sure you will love!
How do I fix broken buttercream?
Buttercream is an emulsion of fat and liquid, and can potentially break into its constituent ingredients if not handled properly. Greasy, grainy clumps of mass characterise broken buttercream. However, you do not need to stress so much, because I’ll tell you few easy ways to fix broken buttercream! Now ideally, all ingredients should be at room temperature. So, touch your bowl and judge. If the bowl feels cold, try putting it on a water bath and whisk till it comes together. If the bowl feels warm, pop it into the freezer for a few minutes and whisk again.
A foolproof trick that works every time is scooping out a portion of the curdled buttercream and warming it until melted. Put a scoop of broken buttercream into the microwave for ten seconds. It should be melted but not hot. Now pour this melted mixture onto the remaining buttercream and whisk till it comes together!
You can also refer to my post on Tips to make the perfect buttercream frosting for all your frosting related queries!
Can I simply grease the baking pan or tray instead of using parchment paper?
Parchment paper is an essential baking tool that creates a kind of non-stick surface on the baking pan/tray. It helps your cakes and brownies to cleanly lift out of the pan after baking, and your cookies to slide off the baking tray. While greasing and dusting the pan with cocoa also helps, it does not compare to the efficiency of parchment paper. Parchment paper is easily available and I strongly recommend using it. After all, you do not want the cake you worked so hard on, stick to the edges of the pan and refuse to come out!
My cakes are often cracked at the surface. How do I prevent this?
There’s a few reasons why your cake might crack on the surface. Usually, it is because the temperature of the oven is too high. When the oven is too hot, the outside of the cake cooks much faster than the inside. Soon, a crust forms while the inside of the cake continues to bake and rise, forming a crack on the crust.
Another reason may be that the pan is too small for the batter. Cakes baked in a loaf pan almost always crack. In a loaf pan, for example, it takes longer for heat to penetrate through the entire height of the pan than it does to form a crust. Hence, cracks often form. Too much baking powder or baking soda in a recipe may also cause cracking.
- Make sure your oven is at the right temperature. Getting an oven thermometer will increase accuracy.
- Use baking dishes of the appropriate size. If the recipe calls for the batter to be divided into two 8-inch pans for baking, using one large 10-inch pan will cause the cake’s surface to crack.
- Do not open the door of the oven frequently. This causes drastic changes in oven temperature, causing uneven baking and cracking.
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25 pieces of essential baking equipment we love
There are many tins on the market of all shapes, sizes and materials. At BBC Good Food, we prefer heavy-duty tins, like springform cake pans. Dark-coloured silicone bakeware has a tendency to absorb heat and make the sides of the cake dark. It’s essential to use the correct tin size and shape stated in the recipe, or cooking times will need to be adjusted. Read our review of the best cake tins for our full guide, including loaf tins and bundt pans.
Recommended product: Le Creuset springform round cake tin
This Le Creuset tin is a cut above your average springform tin. It has a clasp with a heat-resistant silicone cover to make unclipping that bit easier and is worth spending a little extra money on. It was awarded best easy to secure springform cake tin during testing. Read our full guide to the best cake tins.
Loaf tins aren’t just for bread. The cakes they turn out produce endlessly snackable slices that are also great with a hot drink or for stashing as a treat in lunchboxes. Banana bread, lemon drizzle loaf and double chocolate loaf cake are some of our most popular recipes.
Recommended product: Circulon Momentum loaf tin
Awarded 5/5 stars and named the best budget loaf tin when tested by BBC Good Food experts, this Circulon is a dishwasher-safe tin that produced a nicely risen bake. It’s also a reasonable price for the sturdiness and quality.
Square baking tin
Square cake tins are essential because they are great for all sorts of bakes, including upside-down fruit sponges, layered cakes and of course, brownies. It is best to go for non-stick tins and ones with a handled rim edge so that you have easy transfer in and out of the oven.
Recommended product: Lakeland 18cm deep square loose-based non-stick cake tin
This square cake tin is great quality, made from non-bending alloy steel and also has a non-stick coating, great for smooth cake edges and an easy clean up, post-baking. Its heavy-gauge construction provided in the material allows for an even bake, where heat is passed through the tin equally.
Bundt cake tin
The ultimate speciality bake tin with truly stunning results. These decorative pans have a distinct ridged design in a traditional ring shape. Read our review of bundt cake tins.
Recommended product: MasterClass Talan non-stick round fluted cake pan
Nordic Ware are the king of bundt cake tins (they even trademarked the name) and their intricate tins don’t disappoint. We loved the sharp peaks and leaf-shaped pattern on this gilded tin – the cake slid out easily after being left for 10 minutes to cool.
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Available from Wayfair (£13.29)
A food mixer (also known as a stand mixer) is not essential for cake-making but it does save time and minimise effort. Plus, they often come with different attachments to help with non-baking tasks. Read our review of the best stand mixers to find the perfect investment mixer for you.
Recommended product: Cuisinart Precision stand mixer
The build quality, ease of use and excellent results of this Cuisinart machine make it a worthwhile investment for keen bakers. Both the main body and its flat paddle mixer, large whisk and paddle beater accessories have a heft that denotes quality, and they sit low in the bowl to reach all the ingredients.
Useful for so many functions, both sweet and savoury, the food processor can also be used for many cake recipes and is good for working fat into flour when making pastry. Read our review of food processors.
Recommended product: Ninja Food Processor with Auto-IQ
Ninja is known for its powerful appliances and for the price, this machine performs the basics of chopping, kneading, grating and slicing extremely well. It has a neat footprint and its smart design would look good on show in a kitchen.
Electronic hand mixers – sometimes called beaters – are a good choice for people lacking storage space in the kitchen. They make quick work of creaming butter and sugar, whipping cream or whizzing batters, and take up a fraction of the space of stand mixers. Read our review of hand mixers.
Recommended product: Cuisinart Cordless Power hand mixer
The major perk of cordless appliances is the flexibility of movement they give you. The battery power on this mixer is indicated by three progress bars so you get a warning when running low. You only use them for short periods each time so one full charge should allow for use multiple times. It’s also powerful for the price.
This is an essential piece of equipment for helping air to circulate around your freshly baked cake or biscuits, avoiding sogginess during the cooling process.
Recommended product: ProCook stainless steel cooling rack
This budget-friendly rack ticks a lot of boxes being both non-stick and dishwasher safe, as well as made from sturdy stainless steel. This all-rounder is large enough to handle two large cakes at the same time.
A dredger or shaker
A dredger – also known as a shaker – is useful for lightly dusting surfaces with flour or icing sugar when rolling out doughs or icing. However, a tea strainer or sieve can perform the same function perfectly well. Read our review of the best shakers.
Recommended product: Judge fine mesh shaker
This model is a classic dredger design and is strong and high-quality for a good price. It has a high-grade gauze lid that screws on tightly and a pleasing, well-sized shape.
Recommended product: PME plain edge side scraper tool
This smoother is highly versatile and effective for all sorts of bakes. It will help to reduce air pockets in icing, buttercream and ganache. It is also ideal for handling dough and scraping out any leftovers from the bowl.
Available from The Cake Decorating Co. (£4. 55)
This type of paper is ideal for wrapping food, particularly greasy or fatty foods. It’s often suggested as a suitable wrapping for fruit cake before placing it in a tin. It can be used in the freezer as well as the microwave and oven. If you are using it for lining a cake tin, you should also lightly butter or oil the paper before spooning in the cake mix. Baking paper or greaseproof paper is also useful bakes and is available in supermarkets.
Recommended product: ProWrap professional baking parchment roll 300mm x 50m
For home and professional bakers alike, this baking parchment is great for wrapping cakes or lining baking trays. Perfect for pastry work, it also has an easy cut safety blade for fuss-free cutting to size.
Recommended product: PME marzipan/sugar paste spacers (set of two, 38cm)
These simple but effective tools will allow an even layer of marzipan or icing so that cakes look effortless and very neat. Easy to use and clean, these will sure be a winner if you’re a keen baker!
Available from Cake Stuff, £2.85
Measuring cups and spoons
People often under- or overestimate the size of a teaspoon or tablespoon. Measuring spoons ensure an accurate amount is used, important in baking. If you like to use American recipes, it’s also worth buying a set of measuring cups to avoid tricky conversions. We’ve got guides outlining the best measuring cups and spoons for you to stock the cutlery drawer.
Recommended product: JosephJoseph eight-piece nest measuring cup set
This cup set looks sleek and fresh. The handles have a non-stick coating, which is great for buttery fingers. The pointed scoop is so logical that you wonder why this design hasn’t been done before.
Baking recipes often include oil, milk or other liquid ingredients, so a measuring jug is essential for getting the quantities right. As a measuring jug is needed for so many cooking purposes, it’s always useful to have one to hand.
Recommended product: Pyrex 1-litre classic prepware measure jug with lid
A classic homeware brand, Pyrex provides great quality glassware kitchen accessories for easy cooking and baking. This measuring jug has a multifunctional lid, with two different sized spouts for fast or slow pouring and a full cover lid function for keeping contents fresh. A 1-litre measurement capacity, it is the perfect universal size for baking and cooking and is made from sturdy borosilicate glass.
It’s useful to have at least two large mixing bowls as many recipes require more than one. Choose glass, metal or plastic according to preference but it’s worth having heatproof ones so that you can put them in the microwave or over simmering water when melting chocolate. Read our review of best mixing bowls.
Recommended product: Joseph Joseph nest 9-plus
This nest of bowls is an impressive all-in-one option. The large mixing bowl is 4.5 litres, a good size for getting big bakes underway, while the little bowl is perfect for smaller tasks. Neatly stacked inside, the colander and sieve are big enough to tackle standard tasks. The handles are easy to grip and the set is lightweight.
A palette knife is a long, thin implement with a rounded end. It has a wide range of uses, including smoothing on icing or cake fillings, scraping bowls and cutting butter into flour. Read our review of cake decorating gadgets.
Recommended product: Wilton 13-inch angled palette knife
Larger palette knives, like this 13-inch one, are perfect for icing larger cakes as their wide metal edge helps cover more surface area.
A pastry brush can be used to glaze your pastry with egg wash or milk or for brushing filo pastry with melted butter. It’s also good for brushing off excess icing sugar when cake decorating. Read our review of pastry brushes.
Recommended product: Matfer natural pastry brush
This professional-standard natural brush comes with a super-strong plastic handle for easy cleaning. It doesn’t flake or leave lines or pools of liquid in the pastry as some of the silicone brushes do, and the floppy bristles are ideal when you’re working with a delicate egg glaze. The brush is also nice and flat and very affordable.
A fine sieve made from metal or plastic is ideal for sifting flour and icing sugar, which is highly recommended when cake-making. It can be easier to use a small tea strainer to dust surfaces and decorate desserts with icing sugar or cocoa. We’ve reviewed the best kitchen sieves for you to try.
Recommended product: ProCook double walled stainless steel sieve, 20cm
This sieve will make it easier to sift flour and icing sugar whilst baking. This will allow for smoother consistencies of batters and buttercreams. Made from anti-rust stainless steel, it is sturdy and substantial and will ensure ingredients get sifted effectively. It could also be used to drain liquids.
You can buy one-piece rolling pins or the type with a fixed handle at either end, depending on which you find easiest. For really smooth results make sure the pin is wide enough to fully cover the width of dough or icing you are rolling out. If you do a lot of cake decorating with sugarpaste or ready-to-roll icing, it’s handy to have both a wide pin made from smooth plastic and a mini pin for intricate work. Read our review of rolling pins.
Recommended product: Sous Chef tapered rolling pin
Wooden pins are often favoured by bakers as flour tends to cling to them. This simple rolling pin is cheap and effective, and while officially designed to make pasta and pizza, it doubles as a baker’s best friend. It’s also lightweight so can be used on more delicate raw materials.
Available from Sous Chef (£7. 95)
A metal skewer will help you determine whether your cake is cooked. If you insert it into the cake and it comes out clean, your cake is ready.
Recommended product: Borough Kitchen stainless steel flat skewers (six-pack, 30cm)
These stainless steel skewers are so multifunctional. They can be used for meat and poultry on a barbecue, to hold marshmallows over a fire and of course, to test the bake of a cake. The ring handles are for an easy hold, perfect when tossing over a barbecue. These are also available in 15cm and 20cm lengths.
Available from Borough Kitchen (£5.00)
It’s handy to have a zester, fine grater or microplane, as many baking recipes require citrus zest. The latter two can also be used to grate nutmeg. Read our review of the best graters and zesters.
Recommended product: Microplane gourmet fine grater
This is a kitchen classic for good reason. The trademark fine blade is exceptionally efficient, making light work of citrus peel, as well as hard ingredients like nutmeg. The handle is comfortable and can be stored on a hook, making it a space-saver, too.
As accuracy is key in baking, a good set of scales are necessary for measuring out ingredients. Choose from digital or manual – we like digital as they can usually accurately measure right down to a gram or two.
Recommended product: Jean Patrique digital kitchen scales
This ultra-slim set of scales measures dry ingredients up to 5kg. It has a clear and easy-to-read LCD display with multiple options for unit of measurement, and a tempered glass top that offers plenty of room for accommodating large bowls. It also has a handy tare function, which will allow you to weigh ingredients in the same bowl. After use, it can be wiped clean and stored in a dry place. Read our full guide to the best kitchen scales.
Available from Lakeland (£19.99)
Avoid leaving cake mixture or melted chocolate in your bowl by using a bendy spatula to easily skim around the sides. Read our review of spatulas.
Recommended product: KitchenCraft Colourworks silicone spatula
This bright KitchenCraft spatula has the right edge for scraping mixture and icing. It’s available in a range of pastel shades including purple, green and pink, and despite the light colour, it’s made from stain-resistant material should you want to use it with cocoa or spices.
A wooden spoon is a great all-rounder in the kitchen. If you don’t have a food mixer, use it for beating your cake mixes. A large metal spoon is handy for folding in flour or whisked egg whites.
Recommended product: KitchenCraft three-piece spoon set
This three-piece set of wooden spoons will be a game-changer for non-hand-mixer owners. Made from beech wood, these spoons are great for non-stick surfaces and can provide a useful mixing tool when not in possession of a hand mixer or stand mixer. The set includes a 20cm spoon, one 25cm spoon and one30 cm.
Available from Wayfair (£8.13)
Whisks are designed to give volume and aerate foods, so are useful in cake-making. A balloon whisk is a hand-held tool with metal loops that form into a bulb shape at the end of a long handle. It’s always handy to have one of these in the kitchen as an addition to whipping cream, whisking egg whites and gently folding in flour, and you can also use it to remove lumps from sauces. An electric whisk or a food mixer make short work of whisking and creaming. The food mixer, with its different attachments, is more versatile but also much more expensive. Read our review of whisks.
Recommended product: Bakery Bits Danish dough whisk
This unique whisk makes light work of mixing dough compared to a wooden spoon. Its purpose is mixing the ingredients for bread prior to kneading. It proved brilliant at breaking up the lumps and getting the water, flour and any sourdough starter mixed up.
Available from Bakery Bits (£9. 10)
- Cake tins: Le Creuset springform round cake tin, £22.46
- Loaf tin: Circulon Momentum loaf tin, £12.99
- Bundt cake tin: MasterClass Talan non-stick round fluted cake pan, £15.78
- Square baking tin: Lakeland 18cm deep square loose-based non-stick cake tin, £11.99
Gadgets and appliances
- Stand mixer: Cuisinart Precision stand mixer, £247
- Food processor: Ninja Food Processor with Auto-IQ, £100
- Hand whisk: Cuisinart Cordless Power hand mixer, £84
- Kitchen scales: Jean Patrique digital kitchen scales, £11.26
- Cooling rack: ProCook stainless steel cooling rack, £12
- Measuring cups and spoons: JosephJoseph eight-piece nest measuring cup set, £12
- Measuring Jug: Pyrex 1-litre classic prepware measure jug with lid, £14
- Mixing bowls: Joseph Joseph nest 9-plus, £33.45
- Sieve: ProCook double walled stainless steel sieve, 20cm, £8
- Flour dredger or shaker: Judge fine mesh shaker, £7.99
- Icing smoother: PME plain edge side scraper tool, £4.55
- Marzipan spacers: PME marzipan/sugar paste spacers (set of two, 38cm), £2.85
- Baking parchment: ProWrap professional baking parchment roll 300mm x 50m, £7.98
- Palette Knife: Wilton 13-inch angled palette knife, £11.23
- Pastry brush: Matfer natural pastry brush, £4.99
- Rolling pin: Sous Chef tapered rolling pin, £8.99
- Skewer / cake tester: Borough Kitchen stainless steel flat skewers (six-pack, 30cm), £5
- Zester: Microplane gourmet fine grater, £26.98
- Spatula: KitchenCraft Colourworks silicone spatula, £5.98
- Wooden spoons: KitchenCraft three-piece spoon set, £2.75
- Whisk: Bakery Bits Danish dough whisk, £12