For those of you who are just learning / starting to bake I thought I would share some advice with you about some of the things I have learnt along the way, not that I’m a professional or anything just that these tips will help you get consistent results!
It may seem obvious but when following a recipe in baking you must follow it as closely as you can!
This is because when a recipe tells you to cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes there is a reason – not just to make the process a little longer, or to make your arm tired – these are the most important stages in a recipe.
Here is what my cookbook looks like!
When I first started using Cook Books other than my Mum’s and Grandma’s I was baffled by the need to ‘whisk eggs for no more than 2 minutes’ or ‘cream butter and sugar until it looks like sand.’ These things confused me and I immediately turned to my mum for help!
“I don’t understand what the recipe is telling me – it doesn’t look like the kind of batter I am used to?”
For a while now I have been baking and blogging and part of that is my addiction to blog surfing and facebook page surfing. From my many (many, many,) hours of ‘research’ I have one looming question: “What Matters Most – Taste or Presentation?”
For me the question has a definite answer – Taste every time – but from my research of testing recipes on friends, family, colleagues and innocent bystanders it seems that the more elaborate the decorations, and the more frills a cake (and most definitely a cupcake) has adoring it, the less people enjoy it.
The research I have done shows that when presented with a choice, 9/10 people choose the swirly butter cream topped cupcake over the fondant topped one. Also that given a choice of plain, simple decoration of a layered cake with a mere (while extremely thick) butter cream coating, or a cake covered in fondant with sugar paste decorations and glitter and sparkles galore – the choice was again clear in favor of simplicity. [It should also be noted that those who did choose the fondant covered cakes were also likely to say such things as “it looks too pretty to eat” or for the more elaborate designs “there doesn’t look like much cake in there!” (this was in reference to cakes made in a ‘scene’)]
The second part of this question would be the age old question that frightens all new cupcake bakers – to Sprinkle or not to Sprinkle? Personally there is nothing that ruins a gorgeous creamy, butter cream topped cupcake, with wonderful fluffy sponge, than a hard and crunchy topping that tastes a little like the accidental chewing of the toy inside a kinder egg (of course only a fool would do such a thing when biting scrummy chocolate eggs – but it happens to the best of us!)
So I pose the question to you blog world, Taste or Presentation?
Would you rather be presented on your birthday with a gorgeous looking, fabulously decorated, elaborate designed cake/cupcakes, OR would you rather something that looked a little ‘homey’ and yet tasted like an explosion of flavors working together to make your taste buds tingle with delight?