Don’t tell us in the
midst of Christmas shopping and decorating the Christmas tree, you’ve forgotten
all about dessert and cakes? Fear not, we’ve got you covered with these easy to
follow baking hacks that will save the day.
1. Two-Ingredient Cakes FTW
No, we’re not talking about store-bought cake mixes. Instagrammer Monika Manchandana shows us that two-ingredient cakes could actually be a thing! And all you need are 2 scoops of ice cream of your choice and about 1.5 cups of self-rising flour and you’re good to go. Who knew that baking a cake could be as easy as eating it!
2. Marry Spices with Desserts
Spices are essential to
all types of Christmas-time baking, from hearty breads to exquisite cakes and
pastries. Manchandana shows us how you could play with your chai masala by adding some of
it to your versatile cream cheese frosting.
According to How To Cake It, “Nothing tops a cake off better than a spiced caramel drizzle.”
The simple addition of some ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg could
instantly spice things up in the oven.
3. Play With Colours
Avoid the toxins of conventional food dyes by using natural dyeing agents. Cake in point: This beautiful Jamun Rawa Cake made by Amrita Kaur who hasn’t used any food colouring except for the season fruit’s own pigment. Besides, on the other hand, Deepa Reddy achieves the same purple hue for her pudding by using purple yams. From strawberries to spinach, you could experiment with just about any ingredient, which means that your colour options are endless.
4. Substitute Like a Pro
Baking is a science—only if you follow the instructions precisely will your end product turn out right. Instagrammer, baker and food photographer, Mide shares his secret hack to substituting ingredients: “You can easily flavour your baked goods by replacing the milk, water or any other liquid in it with a flavoured liquid that you prefer.” However, replacing eggs is a risky business according to her. “Importantly, take the consistency of the liquid you are replacing into consideration. This means you should not replace something like 'cream' with coke or juice. This will change the consistency of the batter and it will bake differently,” she adds.
5. How to Zest Right
One of the easiest ways to infuse a citrus flavour into any of our baked goodies is by adding lemon, lime or orange zest to it. And the right way to go about it according to Tina Zaccardi is: “When zesting citrus fruit for use in a recipe only take of the coloured part of the skin. If you go too far you will hit the white pith which can be very bitter.”
6. The Secret of Nutella-filled Treats
Nothing compares to the joy of cracking a cookie in two and watching molten Nutella centre slowly flowing. Instagrammer and home baker based out of Greater Toronto, Rita, shared her hack of getting a Nutella-filled cookie right: “The easiest and cleanest way that works for me is freezing blobs of Nutella. Then flatten your cookie dough- put the frozen Nutella in the middle and roll quickly as the Nutella melts quickly. I work on 6 cookies at time and keep the Nutella in the freezer for as long as I can. “
7. Baking without Dairy, Sugar and Gluten is Possible
Be it for health reasons or dietary restrictions, if dairy-free, sugar-free and gluten-free is your jam, say no more as Reethika Singh helps you indulge in the same. All you’ve got to do is substitute your maida for almond meal and oat flour, sugar for maple syrup or dates and butter for flaxseed meal. Vegan desserts can now taste as good as the real deal.
8. DIY Baking Powder
Say you're in the middle of making pancakes, and you realize that you're out of baking powder. Or you want to mix up a batch of DIY baking powder, Shonali Sabherwal gives you the dope, “Most baking powders contain aluminium and a lot of others contain starch (GMO). To make my aluminium-free, starch-free, Non-GMO and VEGAN baking powder all you need is 1 tsp baking soda and 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar.”
9. Take Your Cake to The Next Level
Singapore’s weekly women’s digest, The Singapore Women's Weekly shares on its Instagram page a “genius hack”: “Use #compassapp on your #IPhone to level a layer cake” Layer cakes are as much a craft project as they are a baking project. This Instagram hack combines the use of technology with the love for baking, therefore allowing for seamless stacking of multiple layers.
10. Up Your Muffin Game
There’s nothing like a fresh-baked muffin. However, achieving soft, moist and fluffy muffins is a task. Joanna Berkovitz shares her secret: “If you put rice in the muffin tin before your liners it absorbs the oil and prevents greasy bottoms. Not only does it work but I swear it made a better muffin with a crispy exterior and soft interior. I thought these got overcooked but they’re perfect when you bite into them!”
Lead image: Shutterstock