9 Baking Tips For The Busy Baker

Baking requires time and patience and, these are two things not all people have to spare.

Baking Ingredients

To make baking a faster task, I have looked at the things that take up a lot of time when baking and compiled 9 baking tips for the busy baker.

1. Use a doctored cake mix

A boxed cake mix is incredibly convenient but does not taste homemade or rich. To cut the time spent making a cake from scratch, use a box mix but change a few ingredients.
Use butter instead of oil, milk instead of water and an extra egg. A tablespoon of mayo will even add more body and moistness to a boxed cake mix. By using a boxed cake mix, you get more flavor in a shorter length of time.

For a different flavor or improved flavor, poke holes into the boxed mix and drizzle on a syrup, cream or sauce. This poke cake will be ready in no time.
If you dislike using boxed cake mixes, make your own cake mix. This involves premixing dry ingredients and adding liquid ingredients when you wish to use them. Find recipes for homemade boxed cake mixes here, here and here.

2. Buy pre-made dough

Baking purists may be against buying pre-made dough but I am not. A pre-made dough is great for a quick dessert, bread or pie.
If you are a busy baker, buy pre-made cookie dough for a quick cookie treat whenever you need a cookie or two. Make this homemade by adding a couple of nuts or chocolate chips to the cookie dough after you have portioned them out.

For the lover of flaky pastries, frozen puff pastry is your friend. You can use these sheets to make many treats, sweet or savory. The best part is that you do not need to bother with the laminating process but still enjoy the flaky crust. If you make many pastries, stock up on Filo sheets and puff pastry.

3. Make batters and dough in bulk 

One tip for the busy baker is to make batters and bread dough in bulk.
Cookie dough is the easiest baked good to freeze. Scoop balls of cookie dough onto a sheet pan and put it in the freezer. When the cookie dough is frozen, put the balls of dough in a freezer bag.
If you prefer to cut out cookies, roll out your cookie dough between two parchment sheets. Then put your sheets of rolled out cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and into the freezer. After the cookie sheets are frozen, pop them into a large freezer bag. When you are ready to use your cookie dough, leave out a sheet of cookie dough for 5 minutes and then cut out your cookie with a cookie cutter.

For those that like having a muffin for breakfast or a snack, make a large batch of muffin batter. Spoon the batter into the baking case lined muffin pan and freeze them. Put the pan of unbaked muffins in a large freezer bag or cover with Clingfilm. Get the recipe for muffins that can be frozen here.

You can freeze streusel toppings too. Streusel can transform a simple cake, cupcake or sweet bread. It is one of the things you should have in bulk if you are a busy baker. Mix up your streusel, place in on a flat sheet /tray and put it in the freezer. When the streusel is frozen, break up the sheet and store it in airtight freezer bags.
 If you wish to bake a cake or cupcake, simple take out some streusel, put it on top of the batter, and return the rest to the freezer. A plain vanilla cake batter with a layer of streusel in the middle and at the top of it makes a lovely coffee cake.

Bread dough can be made in advance, portioned out, wrapped in cling film and frozen. When it is time to use your dough, take your dough out of the freezer and leave it to come to room temperature. It comes to room temperature, shape your bread dough and leave it to rise. Bake the risen dough as directed in the recipe.
Frozen bread dough can be used to make things other than bread. Dinner rolls, pizza and are a few things you can do with bread dough
You can freeze cakes for 2-3 months after baking them. Properly wrapped and stored, your cake will taste freshly baked. This is a great tip for when you need a cake for an impromptu event or just do not have the time to bake a cake. Here are some tips for storing unfrosted cakes.

4. Baking spray 

Dislike the process of greasing and flouring baking pans? A baking spray with flour is the answer. When I am in a hurry, I do not want to deal with brushing on oil or butter and flouring a pan or,  have to clean up all the flour afterward.

Simply put the baking pan in a clean sink and use a baking spray. By doing this, you are reducing the time spent greasing your pan and you can rinse your sink to get rid of any residue from the baking spray.

5. Use a flower nail for a less domed cake

For an evenly cooked cake with little or no dome, bake your cake with a metal flower nail in the middle. Not only will it ensure that your cake does not dome and make it easier to decorate, it will also help your cake bake faster. For a large cake, you may need multiple flower nails. Cut out the time spent cutting off cake domes by using this tip.

6. Use baking spray when measuring sticky items

When measuring out sticky items in a cup or ice cream scoop, first use a little baking spray on your measuring tool. This will ensure that the honey, molasses, butter and even cupcake batter slides out of your measuring cup and does not make a mess.

7. Have you run out of an ingredient? DIY

If you have run out of an ingredient, you need while baking and are too busy to run out to get it, try to use substitutes.
While you may not be able to substitute all ingredients, you can successfully use some substitutes in a pinch. Run out of eggs? You may be able to use applesauce or mashed bananas in its place. No unsweetened chocolate? Use 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of butter, margarine or oil to get 1 oz of unsweetened chocolate. No oat flour, make your own by blending your oats in a blender. Make your buttermilk with milk and vinegar or lemon juice.

 Many substitutions are available for when you do not have an ingredient or cannot use the said ingredient. Here is a list of baking substitutions.

8. Marshmallow frosting/ melted chocolate spread

To frost 12 cupcakes in record time, place a large marshmallow on top each of the cupcakes 5 minutes before the baking time elapses. The marshmallow will melt over the cupcake giving you a white frosting with little to no effort. If you would like a toasted marshmallow frosting, put the cupcakes under the broiler for 30 seconds at a time until you are fine with the color.

If you prefer a chocolate frosting, place a chocolate square on the cupcakes a few minutes after they are out of the oven. After the chocolate has melted, spread out the chocolate with a knife.
Follow the same process for larger cakes.

Banana sponge cake

9. Use toasted nuts, chocolate shavings, and fruit to decorate baked goods

Baking a dessert is easy with enough practice. The hard part is baking a cake and decorating it beautifully in a limited time. This is a tip for the busy baker who needs beautiful desserts in a limited time frame. Decorate your dessert with chopped nuts, chocolate curls or nuts, chocolate curls, or shavings.
Forget the buttercream and fondant, whipped cream and fruit are awesome for decorating homemade cakes. It is quite easy to go overboard with drizzles, glazes, and garnishes so use just a little at a time.

Do you have any tips for the busy baker? Leave it below in the comment section. I would like to know what hacks, tips or tricks you use to reduce the time spent baking.

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