Baking For Beginners: Easy Recipes To Master During Lockdown


Bored and running out of sweet treats to nibble on during the lockdown? Why not “feed two birds with one scone” (idiom courtesy of PETA, we like it) by learning how to bake a few simple indulgences? By the time the pandemic subsides and we’re allowed to host get-togethers and dinner parties, you’ll have mastered these simple yet delicious recipes! Here’s a few beginner-friendly delights to get you started. 

baking icing on top of a chocolate cookie in the shape of a heart with a sieve in the background

Make Some Muffins

When it comes to easy bake recipes, making muffins is perhaps one of the simplest recipes you can follow and not mess up (unless you get the ingredient measurements COMPLETELY wrong!) And best of all, there’s a wide variety of recipes for you to try, depending on flavours you prefer. But to start you off with an easy option, we found this simple yet tasty basic muffin recipe by Charlotte Hilsdon on BBC Good Food.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 400g self-raising flour (or same quantity plain flour and 3 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g chocolate chips or dried fruit such as sultanas or dried cherries (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line 2 muffin trays with paper muffin cases. In a large bowl, beat 2 medium eggs lightly with a handheld electric mixer for 1 min.
  2. Add 125ml vegetable oil and 250ml semi-skimmed milk and beat until just combined, then add 250g golden caster sugar and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Sift in 400g self-raising flour and 1 tsp salt (or 400g plain flour and 3 tsp baking powder if using) then mix until just smooth. Be careful not to over-mix the batter as this will make the muffins tough.
  4. Stir in 100g chocolate chips or dried fruit if using.
  5. Fill muffin cases two-thirds full and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the trays will not fit on 1 shelf, swap the shelves around after 15 minutes of cooking.
  6. Leave the muffins in the tin to cool for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: www.bbcgoodfood.com

basic muffin recipe
Source: BBC Good Food

Treat Yourself To Cupcakes

The best thing about a basic cupcake recipe is the fact that you can get creative! And to make this recipe even better, these vanilla cupcakes are super easy and quick to bake. These little cups of sweetness are perfect for that tea party you’re planning on having with your kids in the garden a little later or to just enjoy with a cup of tea. To get you started, here’s a cupcake recipe from BBC Good Food, shared by Sophie Godwin:

Ingredients: 

For cupcakes: 

  • 110g softened butter
  • 110g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 110g self-raising flour

For the icing:

  • 150g softened butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • food colouring paste of your choice (optional)

Method: 

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and fill a 12 cupcake tray with cases.
  2. Using an electric whisk, beat 110g softened butter and 110g golden caster sugar together until pale and fluffy then whisk in 2 large eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  3. Add ½ tsp vanilla extract, 110g self-raising flour and a pinch of salt, whisk until just combined then spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. To make the buttercream, whisk 150g softened butter until super soft then add 300g icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
  6. Whisk together until smooth (start off slowly to avoid an icing sugar cloud) then beat in 3 tbsp milk.
  7. If wanting to colour, stir in the food colouring now. Spoon or pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

Source: www.bbcgoodfood.com

cupcakes with pastel yellow, pink and blue icing
Sourced from BBC Good Food

Baking A Simple Cake

Just like cupcakes, baking a simple cake is also as easy as pie. Also, one tip we learnt while learning how to bake during the lockdown: DO NOT open the oven door to check on the cake before two thirds of the baking time has passed! Unless you want a flop. For a foolproof recipe that you and even the kids can bake, try this simple white cake recipe from allrecipes.com, shared from Scottosman:

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup milk

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and flour a 9×9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally, stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

Source: www.allrecipes.com

vanilla cake with confetti sprinkles on top of the vanilla icing

Easy-To-Bake Sugar Cookies

Perfect to dunk in your coffee, to gift during Christmas or to have stocked in your cupboard for when the sweet tooth hits – sugar cookies are another easy bake treat for you to make at home. And a tried, tested and loved recipe we use is this one by Alton Brown on the Food Network.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Method: 

  1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 190C.
  3. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar.
  4. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick.
  5. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill.
  6. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.
  7. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Source: www.foodnetwork.com

sugar cookies on a baking tray with sprinkles

Classic Cheese Scones For Tea Time

Looking to bake a savoury treat to enjoy with your afternoon tea? Then why not try your hand at making scones? And not just any scones – cheese scones! They’re easy to make and also delicious. A recipe we suggest is this one from BBC Good Food. All you need is 15 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to bake and voilá, you’ll have five cheese scones ready to be eaten.

Ingredients: 

  • 225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 55g chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 120g mature cheddar, grated
  • 90-100ml milk, plus 1 tbsp for glazing

Method: 

  • Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 with a large baking tray inside. Sift the flour, salt, cayenne pepper and baking powder into a bowl, then sift again to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • Add the butter to the bowl and combine with your fingertips to make breadcrumbs. Sprinkle 100g of the cheese into the breadcrumb mixture and rub together until evenly distributed. Try not to mix too much as the heat from your hands may start to melt the butter.
  • Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in enough milk to give a fairly soft but firm dough. Do not pour in all the milk at once as you may not need it all to get the right consistency.
  • Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough to approximately 2cm thick. Cut out the scones with a medium (about 8cm) cutter, then put on a sheet of baking parchment, glaze with a little milk and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Slide onto the hot oven tray.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until golden brown and cooked through.

Source: www.bbcgoodfood.com

cheese scones being buttered from an aerial view
Sourced from BBC Good Food

Indulgent Fudge

And last but certainly not least, who can resist a block or three of indulgent fudge? Just don’t have too many, or you might be on a sugar rush for the next 24 hours. And for this recipe, we’re using a local one! Shared on Food.com, try out NESTLE’S Fudge recipe which was in the Fair Lady May 1986 edition.

Ingredients: 

  • 397g can condensed milk
  • 400g sugar or 500 ml sugar
  • 25ml golden syrup
  • 75ml water
  • 60g butter
  • 5ml vanilla

Method: 

  • Put sugar and water into a large heavy saucepan.
  • Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the butter and syrup and stir until the butter has melted.
  • Add the condensed milk and stir until it comes to the boil.
  • Boil very slowly, stirring all the time, until soft ball stage.
  • Remove from the stove, add the vanilla and beat until it thickens.
  • Pour into a greased pan and leave to cool.
  • Cut into squares when cold.
homemade fudge blocks stacked onto each other
Sourced from Food.com
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