Sunday, December 4, 2011

Baking The Easy Way

There a variety of cake mixes available for making all sorts of baking delights, from decadent chocolate fudge cake to fluffy, light cupcakes. Pre-made mixes are a time-saver for busy lifestyles and are handy for those who aren't a dab hand in the kitchen.

Cake mixes are often frowned upon because they are 'lazy' baking and don't taste as good as those made from scratch. While there's no denying some cake mixes may lack flavour, all you need to do is add a little flavour yourself and you'll have a perfect cake that looks like you've toiled away in the kitchen for hours.

Cake mixes contain all of the dry ingredients you'll need for the foundations of your cake so there's no need to reach for the scales. A lot of the recipes advise you add water to your dry mixture but for a more homely cake, we recommend you add milk and a bit of salted butter. If you're using margarine for health reasons be sure that it contains vegetable oil, which will keep it moist.

When combining your ingredients it's important you don't over-mix, this can make your cake dry and unless that is the desired effect, you'll want your cake to be moist and fluffy. Another way to keep your cake extra moist is to bake it in the oven with a pan full of water; baking in a damp atmosphere will stop your cake from drying out. You'll need to make sure you stick to the instructions where the size of the baking tray is concerned, this is because your mix is measured to fit the size of the recommended baking tray and will dry out if you use a size that is too big.

You can enhance your cake mix by adding your own flavourings, you can add any type of extract or go for fresh ingredients like grated zest from a lemon for a zingy flavour. You don't always have to stick to the recipe with your cake mix, if the recipe recommends you use milk chocolate chips, you could easily change these to white chocolate chips or sprinkles to suit your personal preference. Or you could add a different flavour of extract to suit your taste.

To check the cake is ready use the age-old method of inserting a knife inside it and making sure it comes out clean. If there are sticky remains of the cake on the knife it will need to be baked a little longer. But bear in mind, if the cake is left too long in the oven it will dry up.

Using a cake mix doesn't necessarily mean you're a lazy baker, sometimes it's just convenient, and if you can reach the same result as starting from scratch then why not? Cake mixes are fun for all of the family as the recipes are so easy to follow. There are a number of cake mixes available online, including the Betty Crocker Original Supreme Brownie Mix for deliciously rich brownies and this mix includes a tasty Hershey's syrup pouch. You can also opt for a Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake or Duncan Hines Confetti Cake/Cupcake Mix for fresh fluffy cupcake delights.

Ben Greenwood is writing on behalf of American Soda, importers of American food, including genuine Betty Crocker cake mixes, into the UK.

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