How to Bake a Sponge Cake?

Basic sponge cake is something every home chef should know how to make because it’s so versatile and can be used in a variety of different recipes. For a more decadent treat, make your own chocolate or butter-cream frosting and spread it on the sponge cake once it has cooled to room temperature.

Things You’ll Need:
1/2 cup milk
4 teaspoons butter
Small saucepan
Whisk
8 eggs
1 cup sugar
Large mixing bowl
Electric mixer with whisk attachment
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Small mixing bowl
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
17-inch by 12-inch glass baking pan
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
Rubber spatula
Parchment paper

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2:

Combine 1/2 cup milk and 2 teaspoons butter in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat, whisking it regularly to combine the ingredients. Do not allow the milk to boil.

Step 3:

Combine 8 eggs and 1 cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar together using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment until the mixture has about tripled, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the milk and butter mixture to the mixing bowl with the eggs and sugar and beat them together on low.

Step 4:

Sift 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of sea salt into a separate small mixing bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl with the egg and milk mixture and blend until smooth, about 90 seconds. Add the other half and blend once more until the mixture is smooth.

Step 5:

Add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and beat the mixture to combine the ingredients.

Step 6:

Grease a 17-inch by 12-inch glass baking pan with 2 teaspoons butter and sprinkle 2 tablespoons superfine sugar over the butter in the baking pan.

Step 7:

Transfer the cake batter from the mixing bowl to the glass baking pan, smoothing the cake batter out with a rubber spatula. Keep the batter from sticking to the edges and remove any batter that does with paper towels to avoid burning it in the oven.

Step 8:

Place the baking pan on the center rack in the oven and cook it for 15 to 17 minutes or until the cake is springy but fully formed when touched.

Step 9:

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to rest in the baking pan at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Step 10:

Turn the cake out of the baking pan onto a piece of parchment paper using a rubber spatula if necessary. Let the sponge cake cool completely at room temperature before slicing and serving it or storing it.

Tips:

You can store basic sponge cake in an airtight container or wrapped in parchment paper for 4 to 5 days. Avoid freezing sponge cake – it won’t hold its shape and will break apart when it is defrosted.

YouTube Video:

References:

Martha Stewart: Vanilla Sponge Cake
FoodNetwork.com: Sponge Cake

 

How to Bake Bacon with Brown Sugar?

Bacon and brown sugar may sound like an odd combination, but once you have your first taste, you’ll be a believer. That perfect combination of salty and sweet is ideal for most tastebuds.

There are a few benefits to baking instead of frying bacon. The first one is that cleanup is as easy as can be. Since you’re not frying it on your stovetop, there aren’t any splashes of grease to clean up afterwards. Secondly, baking bacon is much healthier than frying it. By frying bacon, you’re basically cooking it in its own grease. Baking lets the fat melt off the bacon, leaving you with a leaner cut of pork.

Sugar-coated bacon is a treat that many diabetics allow themselves. Baking the bacon makes it less fattening than pan frying it and by swapping out sugar for Splenda, you’re not packing in much sugar, either.

Recipe for Baking Bacon with Brown Sugar

To start, gather your minimal ingredients: one pound of thick-cut bacon and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If your oven doesn’t have a timer on it, preheat it for approximately 15 minutes to make sure it’s warm enough. Use parchment paper to line a baking sheet. Lay strips of bacon side-by-side. If you don’t have enough room to fit all the bacon you want to bake, it’s okay to overlap slices slightly. Sprinkle the bacon with brown sugar; it will easily stick, because raw bacon is slightly wet and sticky. When you’re finished adding brown sugar, place the baking pan on the top rack of the oven. Bake for approximately 35 minutes. Check to make sure the bacon is browned and crispy to your liking. You may need to bake for an additional five minutes to get it crispy enough. Serve as soon as it’s finished cooking. It’s likely that some bacon strips will be more done than others, because most ovens don’t bake perfectly evenly.

Recipe Alternatives and Tips

• Some people recommend that by lining the baking pan with aluminum foil instead of parchment paper, cleanup is easier and the bacon cooks faster.
• If you want to raise the temperature to 400 degrees, it will only take 20 minutes to bake the bacon.
• Even at 375 degrees, many people recommend checking the bacon halfway through to make sure it’s not left in too long.
• Don’t cook bacon that’s fresh out of the refrigerator and still cold. You want room temperature bacon, instead. Let it set out on the counter for a bit before cooking it. By using room temperature bacon, the fat will be softer and able to soak up more brown sugar.
• Play around with different flavors. Some people prefer dark brown sugar while others prefer light brown sugar.
• After sprinkling sugar over the bacon, let it sit out for a few minutes so that it can “marinate.”
• If you want to fry the bacon, you can, even after it’s been coated with brown sugar.

Tips for Frying Bacon

• Use a large frying pan so that you can cook as many strips of bacon at the same time as possible.
• Don’t leave too many spaces in the pan. Doing so will burn the butter or cooking oil that’s coating the pan. Eventually, this burnt cooking fat will get on the bacon, too, which will affect the taste.
• Don’t overlap the bacon if you’re cooking it on the stovetop. This will leave portions of the bacon uncooked.
• The pan should be room temperature, just like the bacon. Don’t use a pan that’s hot from being cooked in. Don’t heat the pan before putting the bacon in it, either. This can scorch the bacon.
• Flip the bacon just once, midway through cooking. There’s no reason to flip the bacon over several times. If you’re cooking the bacon over medium heat, you should flip it after about ten minutes.
• Once the bacon is cooked through, put it on a paper towel to sop up the grease.

Related Video:

How to Bake an Egg in an Avocado?

What’s all the hype about the so-called Eggvocado? It may be the simple and genius pairing of nature’s triumphs: the egg and the avocado. Or perhaps it’s the joy of inventing creative ways to spice up two very familiar ingredients. Foodies and do-it-yourself gourmets agree: this combination is as fun to make as it is to eat.

If you’re ready to end the search for a simple and creative twist on the breakfast routine but you don’t have hours to spare in the morning, skip the pop tarts and channel your inner health-conscious guru. These omega-rich orbs have more in common than their spherical shapes and tough exteriors. Eggs and avocados are excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids — the “good kind” of fat that can help reduce blood cholesterol. Combine the incredible edible egg with one of nature’s greatest antioxidants for a simple breakfast or snack masterpiece in just 15 minutes.

Baked Eggs and Avocado (for two)

Ingredients

  • 1 large avocado (Hass avocados are recommended. Be sure to choose one that is firm but ripe).
  • 2 eggs, preferably organic
  • Optional seasoning: salt and pepper to taste. There are many options for spicing up your “eggvocado” including balsamic vinegar, truffle oils, parmesan, chili flakes, diced tomatoes, curry or olive tapenades.

Method

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the avocado in half the long way, and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scrape a thin layer of the flesh from the pit indentation (to make room for your egg and prevent over-leakage).

Crack both eggs and use the yolks and whites to fill the scooped avocadoes. Add salt, pepper and any additional seasonings or ingredients of your choice. Optional: crack eggs into a bowl and separate egg whites if you prefer to use just the yolk or whites.

Place avocados on an oven safe dish, ramekin, or heavy metal pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and enjoy!

Alternative Baking Methods

Baking methods may vary according to preference. For a more “baked” avocado experience, try cooking for 20 minutes at a lower heat (350 degrees). The yolks will take longer to cook but the avocado will bake more thoroughly. If you prefer the yolk to be more baked than the avocado, try wrapping the avocado in an open foil bowl and baking at 425 for about 12 minutes, or until the yolk appears done. Use two squares of aluminum foil (about 5″x5″) to shape the bowls and place on oven-safe dish to prevent leakage.

Serving Suggestions

As you hone your eggvocate skills, experiment with creative and delectable additions like fresh crab, bacon, mango salsa or smoked salmon and hollandaise for a complete eggvocado experience. Or, keep it simple and serve with your favorite toast.

Here’s a quick and convenient video on creating the eggvocado:

How to Bake Cupcakes with Frosting?

Cupcakes are fun and easy confections that are enjoyed by all ages. Although cupcakes are essentially the same thing as cake, something about their small size, individual servings and frosted tops make them seem a lot more special. These cakes in a cup are particularly fun for kids to get in on because of their ease of preparation and limitless creative possibilities. Here’s how to bake cupcakes with frosting.

Choosing a Flavor

The flavor of cupcakes you make depends on the occasion and who they’re for. Common flavors like chocolate and vanilla are popular and easy to work with. They’re good with all kinds of frosting flavors and can easily have other ingredients added to them. However, there are also many exotic cakes types to use. Try red velvet or pumpkin cake batters for fall celebrations, black forest for Christmastime and banana, strawberry or lemon for spring.

From Scratch or a Box?

You can use any commercially available cake mix to make your cupcakes from, and there’s quite a few options to choose from. Usually, the only additional ingredients you need to buy for a mix are eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Boxed cake mixes are popular among people who find themselves too short on time to cook from scratch.

However, if you’ve got the extra time and the inclination, you’re encouraged to try making cupcakes from scratch. Homemade desserts are always tastier and more satisfying to eat, plus friends and family will appreciate them more knowing that your hard work and personal touch went into them. In addition, baking things from scratch gives you better control over what goes into the recipe and allows you to make it healthier. This is especially important if you suffer from food allergies or intolerances. Here’s a basic yellow cake recipe that can be easily modified or built upon.

What You’ll Need

In addition to a cake pan and some utensils, you’ll need:

1 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of sugar
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup of milk or water
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 cups of flour, the finer the better
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Baking Your Cupcakes

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder, salt and any other dry ingredients you want to add, such as cocoa or nuts. Be sure to break up any clumps in the baking powder as this can result in a bite of cupcake with an unpleasant surprise inside. In another, smaller bowl, whip together your butter and sugar. In any pastry recipe that uses butter and sugar, creaming together the two ingredients makes the texture lighter, richer and more moist.

After the butter and sugar are adequately mixed, add the egg yolks, milk or water and the vanilla extract. Things like melted baking chocolate, fruit and liquid flavorings should be added in this step. Pour the blended wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ones and mix everything until it’s smooth. It’s normal to have some lumps.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a muffin tin and enough paper or foil cupcake wrappers for each cup, usually nine to 12. Spoon some of the cupcake batter into each cup, filling them about two-thirds of the way. If you have any batter left over, it can be used to make a delicious pancake, although some people like to eat the remainder straight from the bowl. It makes a great appetizer during the 20 to 25 minute wait.

When they’re done, you can expedite the cooling process by lifting the cupcakes from the pan and placing them on a wire rack. Once they’re completely cool, you can cover them with your choice of frosting. Never frost cupcakes while they’re still warm because this will either cause the frosting to melt everywhere, or it will take on an unpleasant crusty texture.

Baking cupcakes with frosting is one of the best ways to have your cake and eat it, too. These whimsical little finger foods tantalize and delight both the smallest child and the oldest adult. By following these simple instructions and helpful tips, you can make the perfect cupcakes for all occasions.

Related Video

How to Bake Cupcakes without Liners?

Cupcakes are a traditional treat that millions of people love to eat on a regular basis. Whether you’re baking cupcakes for a crowd or just as a single serving dessert for yourself, there is really no way to go wrong with just about any recipe you use. With the variety of different flavors and concoctions that you can come up with, it is no wonder that cupcakes are a huge hit no matter where you go. Just plop a little bit of frosting on the gooey cake and you are ready to settle down to a delicious dessert that is not going out of style anytime soon.

The Fun in Baking Cupcakes

Baking cupcakes can be a lot of fun. You will first want to find a recipe either in a handy cookbook or on the Internet. You may even want to make baking cupcakes a family tradition that brings all of your kids together. For some people, baking cupcakes is also a way to bring desserts to a function or a small delight to people who don’t want a larger piece of cake. No matter what type of recipe you choose or flavor you are going for, there is a good chance that your sweet treats will be the talk of the town everywhere you go.

Not Having Cupcake Liners on Hand

Using liners to bake cupcakes makes cleanup a lot easier. Unfortunately, liners are sometimes just not handy or a recipe may specifically call for cupcakes that do not have liners. In some cases, cupcake liners can also get in the way of the texture of the cupcake. It is not uncommon for someone to lose half of their cupcake when pulling off the liner. Thankfully, there are some things you can do if you do not have cupcake liners or simply do not want to use them in your baking recipe.

How to Bake without Using Liners

When baking cupcakes, you need to make sure that you are first using a nonstick cupcake pan. Even though the pan is nonstick, you should also still use a spray or margarine to coat each compartment. Before you pour in your cupcake batter, quickly coat the bottom of each cup with olive or vegetable oil. There are many spray oils available that make this task a lot easier for you. If you don’t have oil on hand, you can also use margarine or butter. Use a lint-free napkin to smear margarine on the bottom and sides of each compartment of the pan.

When using either oil or butter, it is important that you coat the cupcake compartment generously so that none of the batter sticks to the pan. Be sure to coat the entire bottom of the compartment as well as the sides so that your cupcake comes out great every single time. After you do this, you can pour in your cupcake batter and bake as you normally would. When you remove the cupcakes, allow them to cool completely before removing them. Warm cupcakes will sometimes fall apart if you are not using liners and are removing them from the pan. You can use a cooling rack to speed up this process or you may just want to put the cupcakes on the counter for one or two hours so that they are completely cool. You should also use a butter knife or cheese knife to release the cupcake from its compartment in the pan. Having the cupcakes completely cook while doing this will help a lot.

Recipes That Call for Unlined Cupcakes

While it may seem weird to bake cupcakes without using liners, there are actually recipes out there that call for regular, unlined cupcakes. For example, if you are making a cupcake cake, where the cupcakes act as the frosting to a cake, you will not want the cupcakes to be lined. Many people who make cupcake bouquets also find that unlined cupcakes make for a more beautiful bouquet. Other times, you may simply want to bake cupcakes and do not have any liners in the cupboard. Thankfully, it is possible to bake cupcakes without using liners. This can save you a little bit of money in the long run and headache if you tend to pull apart the cupcake every time you remove its liner.

Video: Hostess Cupcakes without Liners