I have spent the last weeks of this year on with my loved ones and reflecting on the past year. Started my blogging journey in June 2017 – It has been an exciting and challenging journey, particularly balancing the need to be consistent with my work commitments, family and exams. There were times I thought about giving up, felt like nobody was reading the blog and it seems like all the effort I put into the blog were fruitless. So far, the blog has over 2000 views, 15 followers and I got my first order – Dinosaur Fondant Cake (below)
I am particularly grateful for the love and support that has been shown by you guys. You have encouraged me to continually purse my dream of starting a dessert business in the future.
If you remember my blog post on When brownies crumble, Make a Trifle, you will understand that mistakes will always happen but, the most important thing is to learn and grow from every blunder/mishaps. To finish off the year, I would like to share a few baking specific lessons I have learnt over the last 6 months:
1. Preparation is Key
Have all your ingredients measured and baking utensils ready on the counter before starting the baking process, as it reduces mistakes. Whilst attempting my first Apple Pie recipe, I added ½ cup of salt to the apples instead of ½ sugar, which led to a disastrous and salty apple pie.
Prior preparation would have minimised the likelihood of confusing salt with sugar
2. The importance of temperature
This is a hard lesson learnt over the first month of starting this blog. I wasn’t creaming butter and sugar properly, so a simple sponge cake turned out extremely dense. If you’ve ever tried using an electric mixer on rock-hard cold butter you will understand exactly what I mean.
Baking with the right temperature is pretty important and it shouldn’t be overlooked. If the recipe calls for room-temperature (mostly used on eggs and dairy products), then make sure the necessary ingredients are out of the fridge hours before baking. This is because ingredients emulsify easier into batter thereby, creating a uniform texture throughout your baked good.
This logic works with ingredients with the same temperature i.e. add hot things to hot things and cold things to cold things – it sounds simple and intuitive but this is a mistake that can be made easily. For example, pouring piping hot cream over cold chocolate can separate the cocoa fat which makes the sauce oily.
According to Sally’s Baking Addiction, “Baking is a science and estimating the measurements of an ingredients in a recipe spells disaster”. I fully agree with Sally as miscalculations could turn all your efforts to waste. For example, an incorrect ingredients measurement for a buttercream frosting could turn your frosting from a smooth work of art to a runny mess. Trust me, I have attempted to make a buttercream frosting at numerous times, but I realised that I wasn’t measuring all the ingredients properly. Thanks to Georgina (Dreamy Flutters), for teaching me how to make a good Buttercream Frosting.
In my opinion, successful baking depends on precise and exact measurements for ingredients (see examples below).
4. Keep your oven door closed
It is tempting to try to see if your baked goods is rising properly. However, opening the oven lets out heat that is necessary for it to cook. You’ll notice that most ovens (if not all) have a light which you can switch on to check on baked goods without opening the door. If you don’t have any light on your oven, you can have a quick look 10-15 mins before the baked good is ready (this has to be very quick).
5. Patience is Key
This is the most important lesson I have learnt yet – you cannot rush the baking process. Trying to speed things up will lead to disaster – there is no joy in having an uncooked pastry or pudding.
You need to take your time to read recipes and follow the instructions carefully. The author didn’t just add another process to make things difficult. The most appealing desserts took hours to be created so, patience is key. A wedding cake takes over 3-4 days (depending on size, human resources etc.) to look beautiful; It take 1-2 hours for a donut dough to rise so, patience is key.
Personally, I am learning to hone my dessert making skills by taking sometime to learn the basics and try new things, which is what this blog is all about. Looking forward to patiently developing new challenges in 2018.
Once again, THANK YOU for supporting this blog and Have a wonderful and fulfilled New Year