I think it’s pretty obvious that I love spending time in the kitchen, but baking has to be my favourite activity. Yes, I enjoy cooking say a pie or rustling up a quick supper, but creating sweet goodies fills me with joy! Living in India is great in many ways, however, there are days that can be very challenging! On days like those, I find baking something can soothe and restore my happy mojo! So, today in part three of my kitchen gadgets series, I’m sharing with you what I use for baking.
High on my list is either my KitchenAid or Magimix, which featured in part two of the kitchen gadgets series. Then there are mixing bowls, spoons, whisks and spatulas that I shared in the first post. And because baking is more a science than an art, I wouldn’t dream of making a cake without my trusty digital weighing scales and measuring spoons!
Today is all about the other paraphernalia I use when baking. My collection of bakeware has been built-up over the years. Where I purchased cheap tins that were thin, they’ve warped and have had to be replaced, since they weren’t conducting the heat evenly. As I’ve been replacing my old tins with new, I’ve opted for mainly silicone ones for these reasons:
- They don’t need to be lined. Just a smidge of butter wiped around does the trick.
- The material is flexible making them easier to store.
- They don’t break or bend when you drop them (always a good feature when in my hands!)
- They can pop in the dishwasher.
- They don’t rust. Quite a few of my traditional tins have rusted.
- It’s easier to remove the cake or traybake from the “tin”.
- They are available in a much wider choice of shapes and sizes.
Most stores now sell silicone bakeware. I think the majority of mine have come from John Lewis.
My collection of bakeware, is by no means the “must-have” list. As I’ve said, I’ve built my collection up over many years, and as new recipes required different shapes or sizes, I have added to my collection. If just starting out baking, I would suggest numbers 1 through to 5, are probably all you’ll need.
- Two 7” x 1½” (18cm) or 8” x 1½” (20cm) round tins (or silicone). This will allow you to make a huge variety of cakes. The amount of mixture necessary for each size will be stated in the recipe.
- An 8″ x 8″ x 2″ (20cm x 20cm x 5cm) traybake tin, as I mentioned in the Chocolate Brownie post a few weeks ago. It can be used for lots of different types of traybakes. I have a recipe for a delicious one, which will be up on The Domestic Princess very soon!
- A 2lb (900g) loaf tin. I tend to use this for loaf cakes, as opposed to bread, as I have the bread maker.
- A 12-hole bun tin for baking mini muffins, cupcakes or fairy cakes. I love my silicone one.
- Two to three baking sheets or trays for making delicious cookies or biscuits. I find the 14” (35cm) ones are perfect. They need to be heavy, flat and rigid. Oh, and make sure they fit in your oven!
- Deep round loose-bottomed 6” (15cm) cake tin. I use this for making a small Christmas cake.
- Square loose-bottomed 7” (18cm) cake tin. If I’m making a larger Christmas cake – this is my favourite tin to use.
- Spring-form 9″ (23cm) round cake tin. This is great for making cheesecakes, as the metal release clip makes it super easy to remove the contents, with minimal risk of damaging it on the way out.
- Silicone baking sheet. I use this when making biscuits or to roll out my pastry on. I even use it for chocolate and sugar work and any burnt bits are easily removed.
- Silicone 6-hole muffin tin. I don’t actually use these for making muffins, but for making giant, puffy Yorkshire puddings. Maybe I’ll try muffins in them one day.
- Various shaped silicone cup cases: rounds, rectangles and hearts etc. My mood on the day determines which one I use!
- Selection of cookie cutters, including numbers, letters, hearts, 6 circular ones ranging from 2” to 4” that have a fluted side and a smooth one (I used the smallest one to make the Jam & Custard Cream Buttons), animals, gingerbread men, characters from fairy tales and Christmas themed ones. I’m trying to replace my metal ones with plastic ones, as the metal ones are starting to rust. Nowadays there is every imaginable shape available.
- 3½” x 1½” round cooking rings, which I use to make homemade crumpets, but they can also be used to make potato rosti, creating a perfect circle for presentation, or the larger size can be used to create a tower for a real wow factor!
- The last one in my cupboard for bakeware are my mini pudding moulds, which I use to make delicious (even if I say so myself!) hot chocolate fondants. I have the 3” x 2” ones, which are the perfect size for individual puds!
- Thermometer. I’ve recently been trying to make toffee, fudge and sweets – largely inspired by my Heston Blumenthal at Home book. A thermometer is by no means a necessity, nor a showstopper if you want to make home-made candy. However, I didn’t trust myself to use the “soft-ball” method, so decided to invest in a good thermometer and I’m super pleased I did! Next on my list to try are marshmallows.
- It’s only recently that I’ve had a proper cake tester – previously using anything long and spiky available (normally the cheese fondue dipper or a chop stick!). However, my gorgeous godson, Maxi, gave me this for Christmas, so now I have a proper utensil for quickly checking if my cakes are fully cooked.
- Rolling pin. My version of this is probably controversial amongst the bakers out there, who advocate a wooden one without handles is best. Why controversial? Well, I have a stainless steel one, where you can add water to “the belly” of the rolling pin, which reduces the surface temperature, and helps to eliminate sticking. A must-have tool for any baker living in a hot country!
- Baking beans (for blind baking). Now, I can spend money like the best of them, but spending between £5 to £10 for a set of these when some dried chickpeas for 95p do the job just as well, just didn’t stack up!
- Sieves. I’ve now built my collection up to around 3 of various different sizes, for different tasks. However, I still have “sieve envy” when I’m around the lovely Alice’s house, as her collection must extend to at least 10, which all sit neatly inside each other! In addition to sifting flour, I also use them to make super smooth soup and for removing seeds from a raspberry puree. I’ve recently upgraded my sieves to strong stainless steel ones, to replace the misshapen wire ones.
- Cooling rack. For sometime I used the rack from our grill pan, until one day I needed to use the grill whilst my cake was still cooling, so decided to finally buy one! This is essential for all bakers if you want to avoid soggy cakes or cookies from the steam trapped under them when left to cool on a flat surface.
- Piping bag. Before going on my cupcake-decorating afternoon that was part of my fantastic hen party, I used to use a traditional nylon-piping bag for icing. However, after a few fabulous hours of trying to master icing cupcakes, my eyes were opened to the joy and ease of disposable icing bags. They’re strong and can be cut to fit any size nozzle. Plus, I no longer have icing all over my hands from the leaking seams on my old nylon one. There’s no going back for me now!
- Icing nozzles. I’ve got a collection of icing nozzles, but I think my favourite ones are the star and rose tips. On my next trip abck to the UK, I’ll be looking to buy plastic ones, as the metal ones are starting to rust.
- Palette knife. This is brilliant when icing cakes and needing to spread and smooth the icing over and around the cake. Make sure it’s very pliable to get the most out of it.
- Decorating pen. This is a new gadget in my kitchen, and is yet to be used. But, I can see it becoming a firm favourite!
- Cupcake corer. This is a great nifty gadget for creating a little surprise in cupcakes. You simply press the corer into the cupcake, twist and remove the centre, and then fill the hole with either a different flavoured icing, or a surprise of some sort! Maltesers are always very popular!
So, has this list got you wanting to bake-up a storm? Do you love baking? And what’s your favourite baking recipe?
With much love
The Domestic Princess