Join us at our next macaron class this March in Joburg.
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There was a time a little while back when I was having no joy with my cupcakes or cakes. As hard as I tried to stick to my recipe they kept sinking while they were cooling. So I did some research and spoke to some people and here are my top 5 reasons that you cakes may be flopping.
1. Are you following the recipe correctly? Baking is all about chemistry and ingredients reacting together to get the desired result, in this case, a cake that rises properly. If you were for instance to add too much baking soda, then too much of air would be created within the cake when it’s baking and when it’s resting the cool the air will escape and cause the cake to sink. Ingredients are also not interchangeable. You cannot substitute baking soda for baking powder.
2.Did you overmix the batter? Recipes will often say ‘Mix until just combined’ . They say this for a reason. When adding in your flour you do not need your batter to be smooth and silky, you need the ingredients to be at the point when they just combined. Overmixing will cause too much air to be incorporated into the batter and cause air pockets in the cake. So, like with the baking powder when this air is let out of the cake, the cake will sink. We tend to get a bit carried away using our big mixers so be careful and use the machines on a low speed.
3. Is the oven temperature correct? The temperature of your oven is an important factor in the baking of your cakes. If its running too hot or too cold there is a good chance your cake will sink. I would suggest investing in an oven thermometer if possible. Also opening the oven door to check on your cake will drop the temperature in the oven every time you do, so try not to open the oven door for about the first 80% of the baking time.
4. Are your ingredients fresh? So this is where the fault in my baking lay. Baking powder has a shelf life of 6 months to a year, if stored correctly and even though it’s such a small percentage of your ingredients it an cause all kinds of drama. In my case, I was convinced by someone at the store that I buy my ingredients to buy the store brand of baking powder. It had obviously been on the shelf for a while and hence was the root of my sinking cake debacle. I’ve learned my lesson!
5. Did you take it out too soon? The tried and tested method for checking if a cake is done is to insert a clean skewer into the center and if it comes out clean it’s done. I’ve found that this is not always 100% effective for me so I rather use the spring test. If, with a finger,you gently press down on the center of the cake or cupcake and the sponge springs, back its ready to be taken out of the oven. If you leave a little dent in the sponge it needs a little while longer to fully bake.
*Just as an extra tip: Preheating your oven is an important step that needs to be followed
I hope that these tips help and please comment below if there are any others that you can think of.
Photo Credit: Nicky – PolkaDots and JellyTots / Products made by Madame Macaron
When I was younger Halloween was just a day that was celebrated by the people on TV and the 31st was just the last day in October here in sunny S.A.
Well times have changed and Halloween is gaining momentum and has been adopted by many South Africans as we embrace more and more of American culture.
For me 31 October is my wedding anniversary ( 6 years this Friday!), but if you are celebrating this goulish holiday here’s some inspiration for you.
There are many recipes that call for buttermilk as one of their ingredients. Now the average person doesn’t (I’m assuming ) have a carton of buttermilk hanging out in their fridge, and if the urge to bake strikes and you are using a recipe that needs buttermilk I’m sure that a trip to the store just for one ingredient may cause some of us to put our baking off for another day.
I’ve been in the situation many times and with some research I found that there is a cheat that you can use AND it’s so simple.
For every cup of buttermilk you need : 1 cup of milk + 1 Tbsp of vinegar Let the vinegar sit in the milk for a few minutes so that it can work it’s magic and you’re good to go.
You may ask why you cant just add the milk. Well my guess is that your recipe also asks for baking soda/ bicarbonate of soda and like I explained in my post about baking powder vs baking soda , you need an acid for the baking soda to react with. The milk alone is neutral, so that alone will not work and your cake won’t rise as it should, hence you need the vinegar as well.
I’ve used this countless times and it’s worked great for me.I hope this hint helps and if you try it, please leave me a comment about how it worked for you.
I’ve been going through some recipes lately and I notice that some recipes called for cake flour and others for all purpose flour.
Now, being a self taught baker I was never schooled in the difference and I figured that there must be others out there that don’t really know what the difference is,so I did some research and found a great article on the different types of flour, their properties and ideal uses on How Stuff Works – Baking Flour Facts
If you want a quick fix and don’t want to have to go looking for cake flour when you have all purpose flour, this article by Joy The Baker is what you want to read. She gives you an easy way to basically turn all purpose flour into cake flour in a few simple steps.
On a beautiful sunny Durban Saturday on 2 August 2014 I attended the SA National Cookie Swap. The Durban event was hosted by Faeema and Nicola and was held on the porch of the Quarters Hotel on Avondale.
The Cookie Swap is the initiative of Ishay Govender-Ypma and the main purpose, besides getting your hands on some yummy baked goods, is fundraising. This year the money raised nationally, an amazing R24 645, R8900 of which was raised in Durban, was donated to the Learn To Earn organization and their Bake For Profit project. Women from Hermanus and Khayelitsha are taught how to bake and use those skills to build and sustain their own small businesses. I think its a wonderful use of the funds.
Each person attending was asked to bring along 40-50 cookies to swap and there was a R50 charge for bakers and R100 for non bakers. I took along some macarons for the ladies.
With some great sponsors, the cookies were not the only thing that the ladies were excited about.
I was lucky enough to win a copy of Bake with Josh – Recipes and Games for Kids. I don’t think that the book could have been better suited, with Jasmin and Teyla becoming more and more involved with me in the kitchen these days.
Another highlight, and big contributor to the fund raising, was the auction. With amazing hampers full of lust-haves from Khiels, Revlon, Nicoletta, Le Creuset and others, it was great fun watching everyone try to outbid each other. I managed to snag one of the 2 Revlon hampers worth R1000 and I could not be happier.
All in all it was a great morning out and, besides my container-full of baked deliciousness, I really enjoyed the company and I cannot wait for the next years event.
Here are a few link to posts from other bloggers that were at the Swap and what they had to say about it.
I’m always being asked for either a recipe for macarons or on tips when making them. So I’m sourcing as many different recipes as I can for everyone to try out. It took me quite a few tries, different recipes and tweaks to get it right and I realized that different recipes for work different people. So this is a chance for you to try out the different recipes and see which suits you best. I’ll also include tips that I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me.
I am by no means an Adriano Zumbo or Pierre Hermes, but I do have a passion for what I do and what better way to express that than by sharing what I know. I will try to make it a weekly blog piece and I have a lot of other fun stuff and recipes in the works as well, so stay tuned 😉
I would love feedback and pictures of your attempts so that I can share.