Whether you are a just starting out as a baker, or you spend most of your time in the kitchen, there are certain ingredients you have to have! Here are our top 10 cake ingredients:
1. Unsalted butter- flavour wise, butter is unbeatable in baking. Margarine and other fats can be used but butter is always going to give a better taste. In some recipes,butter is essential because it gives better aeration and provides more structure than other fats. Unsalted should always be used as recipes are very specific about the amount of salt needed so it’s always best to add your own, just to be sure.
2. Plain flour- what most people don’t realise is that plain flour can be used in recipes that say self-raising flour (look at number 3 for more info) BUT self-raising flour can’t be used in place of plain flour, so always make sure you have plain flour in your cupboards!
3. Baking powder- baking powder is an ingredient in loads of recieps but it can als be used to turn plain flour into self-raising flour. Simply add it to the flour at a ratio of 1g baking powder:15g flour. What I do is add the baking powder to the flour, mix it together with a spoon and then sieve it together. This ensures that it is evenly dispersed.
4. Strong flour- strong flour is the type of flour that is used to make bread/rolls/pizza bases etc. It is used instead of plain flour because it gives better structure to the dough.
5. Caster sugar- caster sugar is basically the same as granulated sugar, but finer. This makes it the better sugar to use in baking as it is not as grainy, and therefore gives you a better product.
6. Icing sugar- icing sugar is a must have for people who bake sweet things. As well as it’s obvious use as a finish for victoria sponge, it can be used to make icing for cakes/cupcakes and it can also be used in certain recipes in place of caster sugar.
7. Chocolate/cocoa powder- this is another must have for people with a sweet tooth. What recipe can’t be imporoved by adding chocolate?! While some people like to use cocoa powder in their cakes/icing etc, the bakery purists always use chocolate, so make sure you always have some handy-if you can avoid eating it.
8. Vanilla extract- speaking of baking purists, vanilla extract is a must! Some people prefer to use vanilla pods as they give a stronger flavour, as well as the tiny black specks in the product but they are epensive. If you are baking anything that requires vanilla, and don’t want to use pods, extract is always better than essence. It is slightly more expensive, but definitely worth it!
9. Eggs- this may seem strange to some of you but eggs deserve their place on this list. As someone who would forget her head if it wasn’t screwed on, I always forget about the eggs and only realise once I go to actually weigh out my ingredients, only to find we’ve ran out! Cue a mad dash to the shops!
10. Milk- read number 9 again, substituting ‘milk’ for ‘eggs’!
If you keep your dry ingredients in containers, always make sure they’re properly labeled!
If you think that any other cake ingredients are essential, let us know!
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