Baking Essentials

I’ve been baking on and off since starting university in 2007, although before that when I lived at home, my mam was the type to not let anyone help her in the kitchen. My nan liked to bake too so we would make scones and pies but nothing too adventurous!

So I watched a lot and learnt via osmosis, everything I know is down to them, Jamie Oliver, Nigella and Lorraine Pascale(‘s books/shows/Instagram feeds).

For any novice baker it is useful to have the following items in the kitchen, these will make the baking process a little simpler:

Mixing bowls
My nan gifted us three Pyrex bowls ages ago that are used pretty much every time I turn the oven on, there are plenty of similar ones on Amazon that would also do the job.

Also, you can never say no to a massive mixing bowl for breads and mega cakes, such as Auntie Bernie’s Pina Colada Cake. This one on Amazon is lovely (so lovely in fact, I’ve just bought it!)

When I was little, my nan used to have these old school balance scales that belonged to her mam, I used to love measuring out flour using these to make scones and watching the sides eventually balance out.

These days I favour a digital scale so I can be absolutely sure that my ingredients are exact. I bought this one a while ago, it’s been great!

Measuring cups
As I mentioned in the Pina Colada cake recipe, measuring cups are really useful these days with more bakes using this method. These ones are pretty cool, and have a cookie cutter on the bottom!

I bloody love a Pyrex jug, they are sturdy and can handle hot or cold liquids. It’s worth getting a smaller one which has measurements up to 500ml or less. Getting one of these will help with figuring out what you need for your recipe. This one at Wilko looks great. Our jug starts at 200ml which can make things very confusing!

So, you’ve got your bowls, your scales and your measuring items, now what? Utensils, my friend. A range of these will come in handy, starting off with a whisk, spatula and a fine grater.

If you don’t have an electric mixer, a whisk will be extremely useful for whipping up egg whites for meringues or double cream for your bakes, amongst others. Yum. I like this one on Lakeland, the silicon top is a great idea.

It’s a right pain getting out all the mix into the tin, making sure all the mix that you have worked hard to put together is in the tray ready to be baked instead of in the bowl. I like this spatula on Wilko which is a total bargain!

Finally, the fine grater. I have to admit, this is something new to us and I think it’s brilliant. It’s great for zesting lemons, grating garlic, nutmeg, cheese and my fave, chocolate. We bought one like this from Amazon which has been a total game changer.

Baking tins
Every baker needs a bunch of different types of baking tins, from muffin/cupcake trays to different sized baking tins for round cakes to loaf tins and square brownie trays.

Of course you can be a total maverick and just wing it like I do on an almost daily basis.

You can buy these almost anywhere but Wilko have a great selection to get you started.

**LUXURY ITEM ALERT** – Electric food mixer
It was my birthday in December and after coveting a KitchenAid mixer for as long as I can remember (though not as long as a Mulberry Bayswater handbag), my husband offered to buy me one as a present. I have to be honest, the thought of him spending all that money for a mixer when we’re trying to save for a house made me a little uncomfortable. So I found this alternative Swan mixer which was almost four times less than the KitchenAid!

If you find manual mixing laborious, I would highly recommend this. The mixer comes with a variety of accessories such as a dough hook (which I haven’t used yet), a whisk and a beater. I have so far made a lemon cheesecake, pear and ginger cake and sticky toffee pudding using the mixer and each have worked a treat.