There’s something magical about the process of baking. With just eggs, flour and butter you can create a delicious cake or scrumptious quiche. Of course, your ingredients are only one of part of your baking success; your bakeware is equally important.
We’ve created this bakeware guide to help you narrow down the best kit for your kitchen. We’ve also included a few baking and cake decorating tips to inspire your creativity.
Why do some recipes ask for a cake tin while others require a dish? The material your bakeware is made from has a big impact on how your food turns out. So whether you're making delicate meringues or dense loaves, pick a container to suit.
Ceramic: The best choice for anything that requires steady cooking for several hours, like hearty casseroles or puddings. Ceramics are hardy and scratch resistant, so a good set of crockery will last you a lifetime.
Aluminium: One of the most popular materials for trays and tins, and a top choice for baking cakes, biscuits or tray bakes. As most modern aluminium comes with a non-stick coating, cleaning up is a breeze too.
Silicone: The new kid on the block. Lightweight and flexible but deceptively tough, silicone comes in many shapes and sizes, making it perfect for creating children’s cakes. A silicone muffin tray can be bent and flexed, so you'll easily pop out your finished cupcakes instead of trying to jam them out with a knife.
Now that you have a better idea of what each material offers, it’s time to select the best bakeware for your creation:
Trays: A flat oven tray is one of the simplest yet most versatile tools you can have in your kitchen. Whip up a batch of cookies, meringues or flapjacks, or get ambitious with tricky treats like macarons. Look for a size to comfortably fit your oven’s dimensions.
Cake tins: Unsurprisingly, a cake tin is a must if you want to bake cakes. Simple round or square tins only need a little parchment paper in the bottom before they’re ready to use. Springform tins make baking a piece of cake (excuse the pun) by letting you loosen the sides after they're finished in the oven for that picture-perfect finish.
Muffin trays: Great for muffins and cupcakes, of course, but with a little inventiveness you can create serving-sized portions of everything from frittatas to pies.
Loaf and pie tins: These do just what they say on the tin. If you want to bake up a banana bread loaf you’ll need a deep tin for the job. Likewise, pies and tarts need shallow, dish-shaped tins to hold their shape.
Baking dishes and bowls: Made of ceramic or glass, these will give puddings a good, even finish without burning them. You can also use a casserole dish in a pinch.
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As well as your bowls and trays, you’ll need a few baking accessories to take your ingredients from raw materials to delicious dishes. Here are a few you should consider:
Always read your recipe in full before starting. This might seem obvious, but some recipes require the ingredients to be prepared in a certain way or kept back to be used at different stages. Reading your recipe carefully ensures you won’t run into trouble halfway through.
Keep your ingredients at room temperature unless otherwise specified for your combinations to mix smoothly. There are some exceptions, like rubbing flour into cold butter for a pastry base.
Pick up an internal thermometer so you have an exact idea of your oven’s temperature. Ovens can be unpredictable, but one of these gadgets will stop your soufflés flopping and brownies burning.
Add unique finishing touches to any baking masterpiece with some cake decorating tools. The following tips should come in handy:
- Some types of icing will sweat moisture when stored in a cold place. Don’t attempt to blot it. Instead, leave your cake at room temperature until the moisture evaporates.
- If you’re decorating your cake with buttercream, remember that you can always use flavoured extracts to create a complementary taste to the sponge. Try cocoa powder, espresso or lemon juice.
- When you're icing a multi-tiered cake, it helps to freeze it beforehand for easier handling.
- Want to draw on a design but don’t have time to make a stencil? Cookie cutters work just as well.
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