With a Bake Club recipe at the start of each chapter, this book perfectly captures the current appetite for all things baking! Sixteen-year-old Lottie is on a mission to protect her biggest secret, and it'll take every lie and every baking trick she can muster. Since her dad died, life hasn't been the same for Lottie. When the school suggests she joins Bake Club to get her back on track, Lottie reluctantly agrees. The alternative - the school paying her mum a home visit - is not an option. But Lottie's uncertainty about Bake Club melts away as she rekindles her love of baking and gets caught up with Mac, school rebel and another unwilling Bake Club member. As the end-of-year Bake Off approaches, the tension rises. Can Lottie keep up the facade of her perfect life? And can her bubbling romance with Mac survive the pressure?
Thanks very much to Katy for writing this post for me, and I hope all you baking enthusiasts out there can benefit from her tips and tricks. I'm a non-baker myself, but suddenly it all seems quite fun and not as difficult as I first thought...
My Top 10 Baking Tips and Tricks
by Katy Cannon
I’ve been a keen amateur baker for years, but I have to confess to mostly making things up as I go along. And for some reason, although my cakes and bakes (nearly) always taste great, they’re never much to look at.
Still, while I was writing my debut YA novel, Love, Lies and Lemon Pies, I had to draw on all my baking experience and research, as well as some old family bakes. After all, it is a romance with recipes!
In case you fancy trying any of the recipes in the book for yourself, here are my top ten baking tips and tricks:
1. Always read a recipe right through before you start, and make sure you actually have all the ingredients, equipment and time required. There’s nothing more annoying than having to pop out to the shops halfway through baking, or realising that the dough for the cookies you want to eat in thirty minutes needs to chill for an hour in the fridge.
2. Lottie would also advise you to lay out all your ingredients, in order, and measure the correct quantities before you start mixing anything. It’s good advice, but I very seldom follow it! But I do always make sure I measure the ingredients accurately. A couple of grams here and there can make a big difference in baking.
3. Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before you start, unless the recipe says differently. Not only is softer butter easier to mix, but the temperature of the eggs and will affect how the mixture blends together.
4. Grease your tin well! It’s so frustrating to take a perfect looking cake out of the oven only to discover it won’t come out of the tin, or that half the cake stays stuck to the tin when the other half is on the plate.
5. Remember that all ovens are different, and all cook at slightly different speeds. The most important thing you can do to improve your baking is get to know your oven. Keep an eye on your cakes, biscuits or whatever while they’re baking, and think of the times given in the recipe as a guide. Depending on how hot your oven runs, you could end up with undercooked cookies or burnt biscuits at the end of the baking time, otherwise.
6. Be careful how you close your oven door! If you slam it after putting your cake in to bake, you could knock all the air out of the mixture, leaving you with a stodgy finished cake.
7. As a rule, let your cake cool a bit in its tin before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely – it helps prevent the warm cake falling apart when you take it out! And unless the recipe says differently, always make sure a cake is completely cold before adding frosting or icing, or it will melt and slide off.
8. When working with pastry, cold hands are a plus. Chill yours in cold water first if necessary, but make sure to dry them off well before touching the pastry.
9. To test if a cake is done when you take it out of the oven, use a cake tester or skewer. Stick it in to the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake’s done.
10. And, most importantly, always, always, always pre-heat your oven!