I love sharing hints and tips with bakers and budgeters. I love my CWA Country Women's Association Cook Book too, and I've used many of these recipes and tips to help keep us to our budget. Budgeting a household is not only about careful spending on products, but I reckon it's about planning so that you're not wasting food- that's the money buster. I'm sure my friend Carmel McCartin from Budget Bitch and her Budget Tip Store, will agree. With Christmas coming up soon, planning for baking and food menus are a priority for me, I'll be starting my baking planner next month- I'll share my Christmas baking ritual with you in the coming weeks!
So, here are 5 Budget Baking Tips which have worked for me over the years (there more to come). They save me in TIME and MONEY which is why I'm sharing them with you! Hope you find them useful- let me know what you think.
BUDGET BAKING TIP #1 How to freeze pancakes or cake
When freezing pancakes or cake slices or any cake, you need to freeze them after they have cooled down other wise they will get wet and soggy, and then freeze with lots of water on them, causing them to be soggy when they defrost. Always date your cakes and pastries so you know when you made them and when their due by date is- usually 2 weeks or 1 month depending on the recipe.
* When freezing pancakes, place a sheet of baking paper in a plastic container. Then place a pancake, cover with a sheet of baking paper, followed by another pancake and so on. Make sure there is a piece of baking paper on the final pancake so it reduces frost.
* Similarly for cake slices, add the baking paper to the bottom of the container, then your cake slices layered with baking paper in between and on top of the last slice.
* For larger squares of cake, put baking paper on the bottom of the container, and place each piece close together to reduce frost build up, ensuring you have a little square of baking paper in between the pieces. This way you can take out single serves of cake whenever you like, leave them on the bench, covered, to defrost.
* For large whole cakes, cover in plastic wrap, then two layers of aluminium foil which is well sealed so no frost can build up.
BUDGET BAKING TIP #2 Storing fresh cream cakes
You must always keep fresh creamed cakes refrigerated until serving. Make sure you place your fresh cream cakes in a sealed container so that it doesn't absorb the smells from other food products in your fridge. This is particularly important if you don't keep raw meat or eggs in sealed containers in the fridge and you put your fresh cream cake in there also. The fresh cream on an unsealed cake will spoil and can develop bacteria, ripe for food poisoning. The sealed container also protects your decorated cake from marauding hands and fingers that can't wait until cake time! For parties, make sure all your coleslaw and potato salads and egg salads are not stored in the same fridge- even when you put these salads in plastic food containers, you can still smell their potency when the fridge door opens- cabbage cream is not a favourite unfortunately!
BUDGET BAKING TIP #3 How to Freeze Biscuits and Cookies When you make a batch of biscuits, make double the recipe, and freeze the dough. For example, with Chocolate chip cookies, roll all the dough into balls, flatten them a little, and put them into a plastic container, with a piece of baking paper between each biscuit for easier separation when frozen. I keep the left over bits of baking paper in a bad and tear or cut them into small squares just for this, so I can stack the biscuits with little bits of baking paper in between.
Put them in the freezer for up to 1-2 months, this way you can bake as many individual cookies as you like, and they'll be fresh. The house always smells homely with fresh baked cookies. They'll bake quickly when you have unexpected friends over for a chat!
BUDGET BAKING TIP #4 Crumble or Streusel topping
I always have some crumble left over in my freezer, usually about 2 cups worth, if you're already making crumble for a cake or pie, it takes no extra time to make a larger batch. If you don't want to make crumble, you can sprinkle with 1/2 cup flaked almonds and 2 tablespoons of castor sugar, and grill the topping for 3 minutes, or until the sugar and nuts have caramalised. Dust with icing sugar upon serving. There's nothing quicker for dessert than opening a tin of apricots, stirring in a little sugar and butter, then topping with some crumble- bake for 20 mins at 180C...it's simple when the crumble is already in the freezer.
BUDGET BAKING TIP #5 Left over cake
Wat do you do with left over cake like apple cake, croissants, white bread, sultana cake or a bundt? I know it's hard to imagine that you would ever have any cake left over, but some times you do. I often bake a “spare” cake in disposable tinfoil pans when I'm making a large volume bundt recipe, and am using a small tin, thus leaving left over batter. These spare cakes go into the freezer for recipes like puddings and bakes. I usually bake these types of desserts or puddings while I'm cooking a pot roast, it's more economical on power usage and a great comfort food on cold days. I also use these types of recipes when I have unexpected dinner guests, as half of your dessert is done, or if I don't want to labour over baking dessert.