Bake Tip #1

DIY Vanilla Sugar

Don't throw vanilla beans once you have scraped out the seeds – there is still a lot of flavour contained within the pod. Instead add them to a jar of sugar - over time it will give it a subtle vanilla flavour ready to impart into your baking.

BakeTip #2

Storing Eggs

Always store your eggs in the fridge in an egg carton with the rounded end down. This will not only help them from loosing moisture and becoming stale quickly but it will also stop the eggs from absorbing other flavours from the fridge through their porous shells. 

Bake Tip #3

Measuring & Marking Tins

Make sure you always have the right size tin - measure them across the base and through the middle. Then use a permanent marker to note the size on the base so you can see at a glance what size they are every time you go to use them. 

BakeTip #4

Grating Citrus Zest

Use either the fine-toothed perforations on a box grater or rasp-like grater (such as a Microplane) to remove the zest from citrus fruit. Only grate the very outer layer of zest and leave the bitter white pith on the fruit for the best flavour. 

BakeTip #5

Quick Sifting

Sifting flour or other ingredients such as cocoa or cornflour will be so much quicker and easier if you use a balloon whisk to 'stir' it through the sieve. 

BakeTip #6

Always Use a Timer

Always Use a Timer when baking (don't just 'keep an eye in the clock'). It is too easy to loose track of the time (especially if you are multi-tasking) and the last thing you want is to undo all the effort and care you've poured into making something just by leaving it in the oven for too long. A portable digital timer is invaluable - it will be accurate, easy to set and, unlike your oven timer, can be taken anywhere you go! 

BakeTip #7

Dry Tins in Oven

The best way to make sure your cake, muffin and tart tins are completely dry before putting them away is to put them back in the oven after washing in hot, soapy water and rinsing well - the residual heat left after your baking will make sure they dry thoroughly.

BakeTip #8

Conventional v's Fan-Forced Oven Settings

If a recipe doesn't specify what oven setting to use it is most like to be the 'conventional' setting where both the top and bottom oven elements are on with no fan. If you want to use your fan-forced setting (when the fan at the back of the oven evenly distributes the heat from the element that surrounds it) as a rule of thumb, you will need to drop your oven temperature by 20 degrees (eg if the recipe asks to preheat the oven to 180 degrees you will need to set it on 160 degrees fan-forced).

BakeTip #9

Making Buttermilk

If you don't have buttermilk on hand when a recipe asks for it simply make your own version by adding 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice to a cup of full-cream milk. Perfect to use in scones, banana bread and muffins! 

BakeTip #10

Use the Tare Setting on your Electronic Scales

To save you time when baking make good use of your electronic scales ability to 'zero' the reading - by pressing the 'tare' button after each ingredient you can measure as many as you need, one after another, into the same bowl. Brilliant for one-bowl mixes, not to mention the washing up it will save you! 

BakeTip #11

Gluten-Free Sprinkles

When choosing sprinkles to decorate cupcakes, biscuits and party cakes keep in mind that many of them contain wheat-based ingredients such as glucose syrup. If you need to use gluten-free sprinkles take a quick look at the ingredient list on the packet before buying to make sure you are choosing the right ones.