My Kitchen Favourites – Cakes and Macarons

Hello there! And welcome to the first post of my brand new blog design. I’m sorry it’s been a little quiet on here these last couple of months, but it’s been a pretty hectic start to the year. Hectic but exciting I should say as already in 2016 not only have I been busy building my “made to order” business (more details on this will be shared shortly), but we’ve also moved out of our rented flat and are in the exciting, albeit gruelling process of buying our very first home. Therefore with 2016 seemingly the year of newness, I decided to give my blog a gorgeous new home too. However, as with all new homes it is going to take a little time settling in so please bear with me while I find my feet in these new surroundings.

You may notice that my recipe categories have been refined a little which I hope you are okay with. This way I am able to focus on the bakes I love most and give you the best content I can. Reductions leave room for additions though so you will also see that some new areas have been introduced, such as Baking Biography, where I will share my baking tips, essential ingredients and equipment, regular roundups of my current Kitchen Favourites, troubleshooting and reviews of my favourite bakeries, cakeries, and anywhere else that sells baked goods.

And with that I give you my first Baking Biography post in the shape of my current Kitchen Favourites for cakes and macarons.


FOR BAKING

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A traitor to our beloved metal tins, silicone molds have taken over kitchens in recent years and I haven’t exactly been their biggest fan. I was first introduced to silicone in the shape of a cupcake liner but as an avid lover of the classic paper liner I quickly disregarded them. Them and every other large silicon mold I was introduced to.

However, and I say that with emphasis as and I haven’t exactly given silicone the best Kitchen Favourite review so far, when I tested these French patisserie silicon molds I was pleasantly surprised. Although completely non-stick I sprayed them with a tiny bit of some cake release for good measure, but I really don’t think they needed it. They almost fell out of the molds when I brought them out of the oven, and they were so evenly baked  I could have passed them off as almost professional.

Unfortunately, although these softened my uncertainty of silicone, I haven’t been completely converted and remain an advocate for classic metal tins and parchment, however for smaller bakes such as these and macarons I would recommend them, not just for the great results, but also for how easy they are to store away.


FOR GUIDANCE

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“How Baking Works (and what to do when it doesn’t)” is James’ (you know the sciency guy from Season 3 of The Great British Bake off who created a giant Paris-Brest choux wheel in the shape of a bicycle) second book, but the first that I was aware he had published and my goodness I’m glad I found it. It does exactly what it says on the tin, to the extent that I have been reading it cover to cover like a novel. I don’t think I’ve ever read a baking book with such depth before.

Compared to his first book “Brilliant Bread” it covers everything non yeasty such as cakes, cookies and macarons which suits me down to the ground considering my recipe offerings. Best of all though is how he explains the theory and science behind baking techniques, why certain ingredients are so important and my favourite of them how to prevent common baking blunders.

While the title may call to all novice bakers out there, I urge those of you who are experienced not to be deterred.

Buy your copy of “How Baking Works” HERE


FOR DECORATION

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Not the most glamorous item in My Kitchen Drawer but putting my spatula to one side Piping Nozzles are my most used tool, so ensuring I have the best quality is important.

Over the years I have managed to amass dozens of nozzles of all designs and sizes, and I must say it has become a rather impressive collection. Of this hoard three have become my staple and I can’t seem to get through a bake without them.

Kitchen Craft are my favourite supplier for nozzles as they are hardwearing, dishwasher safe and you can get almost every design in small, medium and large. The Sweetly Does it Range is supplied in almost every baking shop in the UK, Super Markets and Amazon and they cost between £2.50 – £4.00

I could talk to you all day about how I use them, but will dedicate a whole post to this very soon.

Large Closed Star – Tip size: 20mm (9 point star)

Large Round – Tip size: 12mm

Large Petal Tip – Tip size: 24mm


 FOR PRESENTATION

cake stand

I like to think of cake stands as the shoes of the baking world. No seriously bear with me here.

On a few occasions recently I have seen beautifully dressed cakes, adorned with intricate designs and toppers presented only on their cake boards. This to me is like wearing your best dress with a pair of old flats; you look beautiful but the shoes are letting you down.

A good cake stand is like the perfect pair of heels. It will give your cake height and drama for presentation, and can either be the splash of colour you need to bring your cake alive, or the perfect way to make a simple design sublime.

I am obsessed with marble so could be happier with this White Marble stand from John Lewis, Croft Collection. It is utter perfection.

Sadly this is no longer available online at John Lewis, but you can buy it from Design Luxuria HERE.


 

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