Basic Baking in Progress
A Fresher’s Guide To: Basic Baking

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Welcome Week complete and you’ve already used up your free Kaspa’s Coupon from Fresher’s Fest; don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Biscuits, cakes, brownies, you name it, you can make it with this Fresher’s Guide to Basic Baking…just in time for the GBBO Final too.

Shortbread Biscuits

A basic biscuit is made up of only three ingredients, and I mean only three (I am not a fake instagrammer)**. All you need is:

Plain flour (all-purpose flour for the Americans)

Salted butter*

Caster sugar

These ingredients are used in a ratio of 3:2:1, for every 50g of sugar use 100g salted butter and 150g of plain flour. For those without scales (for whatever reason, I cannot fathom) you can use cups.

Plain Flour Salted Butter* Caster Sugar
150g100g50g
0.75 cups0.5 cups0.25 cups

If you don’t have these ingredients buy them, there is no replacement. They also make you look more like a put together adult

*If you are vegan then you can use vegan butter but see the notes section of the article if you want to add some flavour (would recommend)

Biscuits are great because all you need to do is to whack these ingredients into a mixing bowl, although a clean saucepan would do, and mix them together with your CLEAN hands until it is all combined and forms a dough.

When the dough comes together, and you feel like you have just completed arms day in the gym, lightly flour one of your lovely kitchen surfaces – or a clean textbook – and place your dough onto the surface.

Now you can do one of two things, or both if you’re feeling adventurous:

  1. Using a rolling pin, or empty vodka bottle,  roll out your dough and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter – metal cocktail measure or Drinkaware cup also works. Cut out the dough till you have no more space, then collect all the dough together and repeat until you have no dough left.
  2. You can also roll the dough into a sausage shape pressing down and rolling out the dough like playdough, then cut them into even slices. Make the biscuits as small in diameter as you would like, but not too small or the dough will start to come apart.

Once you have finished cutting them out, place them on a baking tray or something you can safely put in the oven at 180°C and bake for 10-12 minutes (depending on the oven and if it’s pre-heated) or until they are slightly brown at the edges.

Now, all that is left for you to do is enjoy your biscuits; share if you must but I advise you to be conservative with your generosity!

**Notes

I tell a lie, you can make adaptations and add more ingredients. For chocolate biscuits take out 25g of flour and replace with 25g of cocoa powder. For lemon biscuits you can add the rind of half a lemon – this does involve grating a lemon, there is no pre-grated lemon in Sainsburys. For vanilla, add a splash of vanilla extract and for ginger biscuits add 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.

Victoria Sponge

A basic sponge recipe in a ratio is even easier than biscuits with a ratio of 1:1:1:1. Yes, there are now four ingredients; don’t let that scare you. The ingredients are:

Soft butter

Caster Sugar

Eggs

Self-raising Flour (you can use Plain Flour with added Baking Powder)

This time instead of basing the ratio off the sugar we are basing it on the eggs. One egg is about 50g but use at least two eggs for this recipe or three if you want a larger cake.

Soft ButterCaster SugarEggsSelf-raising Flour
100g100g2 eggs100g
150g150g3 eggs150g

Put the butter and caster sugar into a mixing bowl/clean saucepan and cream together. This means pressing them with a fork until the mixture is smooth.

Once smooth crack the eggs on a sharp edge and add them to the mixture. If there is any shell in your cake you have done something wrong; to remove unwanted shell grab a spoon and remove the shell from the mixture. When your mixture is shell free, beat the eggs until your arm hurts and then carry on until you want to collapse.

Add the self-raising flour and fold it in (gently mix if you don’t know what that means) until it is all mixed together.

Separate the mixture into two cake/loaf tins/

If in two cake tins, cook for around 20-25 minutes at 180°C (length depends on pre-heating) or until they are slightly browning at the edges – not sure about the loaf tins, have fun with that.

Brownies

Brownies are a staple; everyone should be able to make brownies. I am not claiming that these are the best brownies to ever walk the earth, they probably aren’t but they are my favourite.

Like a cake they are a 1:1:1:1: ratio… ish; there is a bit of a difference that will be explained later on.

Salted ButterDark/Plain ChocolateCaster SugarEggsSelf-raising Flour
225g225g225g4 eggs225-285g
170g170g170g3 eggs170-225g

Melt 225g of butter and plain/dark chocolate together. If you do this in the microwave, do it in 10 second intervals or 30 seconds if you are feeling lucky. It melts quickly and you will burn it if you chuck it in the microwave for two minutes straight. Don’t do this, your housemates will not like you and neither will your brownies.

Stir in 225g of caster sugar until you can’t really see it anymore – like your sanity and liver function at the end of freshers week. Then add 4 eggs and mix them in until it’s all combined. Finally add 225-285g of self-raising flour, (this is the complicated bit I mentioned) the more flour you add the cakier your brownies will be. Now you have your brownie mixture, try not to eat it all uncooked.

Take out your loaf tin or your baking tray with sides (it does have to have some depth to it) and line it with baking paper. Pour your brownie mixture into the tin/tray and then bake them at 180°C for about 35 minutes. You can experiment with the cooking time to give you fudgier or cakier brownies.

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