Love indulging in cakes, muffins, and pastries, but prefer to leave the actual baking to others? Maybe some of our ingenious baking hacks can help instill you with some more confidence. We’re sharing eleven of our brilliant baking hacks to make your time in the kitchen a lot easier.
Table of contents
Baking Hack #1: Separate your eggs cleanly
Separating the egg white from the yolk is a basic baking skill, but it’s not always smooth going!
To avoid another messy mishap, try this trick: take an empty plastic bottle and squeeze it a little. Now hold the opening to the egg yolk and let go of the bottle’s belly. The vacuum power will suck up the yolk, leaving the white behind.
Another great tip: If you get a piece of the shell caught in your egg whites, briefly hold a finger under cold running water and then dip it into the egg white. This’ll help you fish out the shell easily. Or, use one of your shell halves like a spoon to scoop out the stray shard! “Use the shell to get the shell.”
Baking hack #2: Melt butter quickly
Many baking recipes call for melted butter or soft butter at room temperature. It’s a bummer if you want to bake something while your only butter’s still in the fridge. Luckily, there’s a simple trick: fill a jar with warm water and let it sit for a few minutes. Then empty the jar, make sure it’s dry, and set it over the stick of butter. Wait a moment and voila, the warmth of the glass has softened it.
Just as ingenious: you can take a vegetable grater and grate the piece of (firm) butter directly into the dough.
Baking hack #3: Test your eggs for freshness
Every (budding) baking pro needs to know this trick: If you want to know if an egg’s still good to eat, carefully place it into a glass filled with water. If it sinks to the bottom, the egg’s still fresh. If it floats to the surface, it’s better not to use it.
Baking hack #4: Make the perfect frosting
Cinnamon buns and lemon cake can taste like pure heaven paired with a layer of rich icing. But unfortunately, the icing doesn’t always look as good as it tastes when it seems too watery or thin to cover the cake.
A decadent hack for a creamy white icing: Use milk instead of water.
Extra tip: Are you reducing your refined sugar intake? You can also make the icing sugar-free, for example with xylitol or erythritol.
Found a delicious-looking cake recipe, but looking to keep it plant-based? Or just out of eggs today and can’t run to get more? Your help has arrived! What you need is an alternative binding agent that holds your batter together and creates a soft consistency. You can get there with flax or chia seeds. Applesauce or mashed bananas also work like a charm.
1 egg = 1 tbsp. seeds with 3 tbsp. water
1 egg = ½ banana = 75ml applesauce
Another pro tip: Applesauce usually contains added sugar. Make sure to look for unsweetened applesauce to keep the added sugar away.
Baking Hack #6: Keep fruit from sinking
How is it that blueberry muffins look just perfect in a cookbook photo, but every time you try making them, the berries always sink to the bottom? The same goes for raisins and other small fruit. The ingenious and super simple hack for you: Roll fresh or dried fruit in a little flour before you put it in the sheet pan. Then they’ll stay in place.
Sometimes a recipe calls for vanilla sugar. But instead of buying the little bags in the supermarket, you can easily make your own. It’s practical and sustainable. Fill a sealable storage jar with sugar or sugar substitute and add a vanilla bean. Over time, the fine granules will automatically take on the delicious vanilla note.
Baking hack #8: Make a dry cake moist
Marble, lemon, or chocolate cakes are nice and moist shortly after baking, but the next day get dry and crumbly. Test this out: prick the cake several times with a fine wooden skewer and then soak it with some fruit juice. You’ll hardly taste the difference, but your pastry will have a wonderful consistency like fresh from the oven.
Once the cake’s in the oven, you’ve got a mountain of washing up to do. Nothing’s more frustrating than getting between all the crevices of your beaters or whisk to scrub out every drop of batter! Next time, coat your beaters or dough hooks with a little cooking oil before using them. That will make your dough or your cake batter slide right back off into the mixing bowl. The kitchen will be spotless before the cake’s even done baking!
Baking Hack #10: Substitute for nuts
Many recipes use ground or chopped nuts (often hazelnuts or almonds) to give the batter crunch and a nutty flavor. If you’re allergic to nuts, or just don’t want them (or have run out!), try adding the same amount of oats to the dough instead.
Baking Hack #11: Get your cakes out of the mold
Is the smell of your freshly-baked goodies tempting you, and you can’t wait to dig in? One of our biggest pet peeves is when we’re finally ready to unveil our masterpiece, and our cake or muffin sticks to the edges of the mold and won’t come out evenly.
You can easily prevent this from happening by brushing the baking tin with softened butter or margarine and placing it in the fridge for 10 minutes before pouring in your cake batter.
Ready to get into action? Check out our huge variety of cake recipes that not only taste great, but will also help you with your fitness goals!
We at foodspring use only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.