I need some help everyone!
I just recently discovered my passion in baked goods and pastries but I've run into some issues, so I've decided to ask the experts!
My icing is too runny!
My cupcakes sink in the middle!
My fondant tastes great but won't hold to save it's life
I was also making some gingerbread shaped chocolate chip cookies and everything went well until it came to taking them off the cookie sheet, they either stuck or broke.... what am I not seeing.....HELP ME!!!
ALooks to me as if you need a back to basics class. Do you know how to weigh out ingredients? Do you know what basic cooking terms mean? Do you know how to follow a recipe?
Baking is about chemistry get these three right and you can at least bake a cup cake
AAll your problems can be solved through research and time and error. If your icing is runny you probably need more powdered sugar. Did you line your cookie pan with parchment paper? If not maybe that's why they stuck. Your cupcakes sinking...that could be from different factors but you have to research it. There's so much help on Google and you can typically find an answer pretty fast
Don't worry, I started doing decorated cakes just some months ago and sometimes I have problems too: the eggs separate from my meringue, the baked brownie has craters in the base...All is about measures, times and steps. For example, maybe you think it doesn't matter mix eggs and sugar instead of mix all the ingredients at the same time but mixing eggs and sugar you'll obtain more volume and thickness in your sponge cake.
I have lots of recipes but in spanish with measures in grammes 'cause i'm from Spain but you have lots of recipes on internet and tips and advices. Don't give up and keep trying! You'll do great soon!
Type in 'Australian Woman's Weekly recipes' to google. Their recipes are extremely reliable and great to learn on. Keep in mind that an Australian tablespoon is 20mls, though.
AThe first thing you need to do is take notes of your results and also, get some books! There are some boring but very educational books around like "How Baking Works". It's a science and everything has it's purpose: the weight of the ingredients, the time you mix, the temperature and time inside the oven, etc.
If you don't have access to books or a nearby library, read blogs, especially those with recipes that have been tried by the followers and posted in the comments of it. I like many, if it's cupcakes you're trying your hand at, you could check http://www.cupcakeproject.com/ She has some really nice recipes and a big community of followers/testers. As someone else suggested you can also try Joy of Baking. She has a channel on YouTube and is very generous with her knowledge, most likely will answer questions that haven't been already responded.
Where are you from?? the climate of your city could also affect your results. If your cupcakes are sinking in the middle, it could be because the recipe called for too much sugar, or, the bubbles in the mix didn't have enough structure to hold (add a pinch of salt next time), or, you overmixed, or you maybe under-baked them and the structure inside collapsed.
Is your fondant handmade? what recipe did you follow? - Most of them call for the same ingredients but you have to be careful if you're using one that has gelatin, don't scorch it when you melt it as it could cause trouble; perhaps your fondant was too soft (not enough powdered sugar), maybe it had too much shortening, or maybe the weather wasn't cooperating. So many factors, it's difficult to point "what" went wrong from so little info.
Also, check the recipes in this same site and also the recipe section of the forum.
Study, study, study and practice, practice, practice. Don't get discouraged, all great bakers and decorators started somewhere, most likely with trial and error.
OH, and welcome!
Hi TA- everyone who bakes was once a newbie, in fact I still consider myself a newbie in this business. There are so many amazing people! One thing I learned with icing, is you need to find the correct butter to powdered sugar ratio...assuming you're doing BC or buttercream. If it's too runny, add a tablespoon of PS at a time. You will learn what thickness holds at room temp., and which does not! Cupcakes sinking in the middle sounds like a chemistry issue. Are you using enough baking powder or baking soda? Too much liquid? It's possible you over mixed it or did not bake it enough! Feel free to send me your recipe and I would be happy to take a look at it. I'm a food science major and I own a bakery:-D I would LOVE to help, if you have any questions:-D Congratulations on your new-found love and hobby!
AIf you bake from scratch I strongly suggest you get the Cake Bible. Even if you don't end up using the recipes there's soooo many good tips, lessons, and troubleshooting. Seriously...it's the greatest.
I'd also suggest baking in weights rather than cups if you possibly can. It's more accurate and you're less likely to have issues due to under/over scooping etc. In the UK weights are the norm, and when I started using US cookbooks I thought how awesome it was that I didn't have to weigh for most things. Unfortunately though some recipes which had worked well suddenly went wrong every so often, and I eventually realised it was because my 1 cup of flour might be anything between 120 and 180 grams, depending on how I'd scooped it that day. Ditto that for all other volume ingredients and suddenly my baking was not very precise at all.
Now I convert my US recipes to weight and they're good to go every time. Might just be because I'm not as used to cup measurements as someone whose grown up with them, but they were just too inaccurate for me to rely on.