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Avoid a cake decorating disaster with these expert tips

By Aimee Pearson | 10/11/2015 | Posted in Kitchen

This week’s Baking Surgery winner Eve Borrett had a bit of a disaster decorating her bunny cake that ended up looking a bit sorry for itself.  If like Eve you’ve nailed your bakes but fall at the final hurdle when it comes to finishing off your cakes with finesse, these tips are for you. We’re bringing you handy hints for preparation, creating impressive layer cakes, and top notch cupcakes this week as part of our Baking Surgery. Look out for more tips from vlogger Barry Lewis over on our Facebook page #TogetherWellMakeIt


 

 

1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Whatever type of cake you’re decorating, most of the things that go wrong boil down to a lack of preparation. If you haven’t left enough time to decorate your creation you’ll end up rushing or attempting to decorate a cake that’s still warm. It’s important to leave enough time to allow your cakes to cool completely before you start to apply any icing or it will just melt off.

How you handle the sponges as soon as they come out of the oven is also key. For a layer cake, it’s crucial to leave the individual layers upside down to cool. This will help flatten them out and make the final cake much easier to assemble. With cupcakes, it’s important to take them out of the tin to cool so they don’t become misshapen. 


 

 
2. Icing a layer cake

Still on the theme of preparation, when tackling a layer cake a few simple steps at the beginning of the process can help you master getting that ‘wow’ factor. Start by putting a small dab of frosting on the cake stand underneath the first layer to stop it from sliding around. Tucking overlapping pieces of baking paper underneath the edges of the cake will keep the stand clean and can be removed when you’re all done.

When it comes to assembling the layers, it’s best to use a bigger dollop of icing to spread on each layer to start with. You can always scrape some off if you’ve put too much on, whereas if you use too little you’ll end up pulling up crumbs into the icing. Make sure you spread the frosting on each of the layers just beyond the edge of the cake; this will help you when it comes to frosting around the side of the cake.

When working on the edges, it’s best to tackle the cake in quarters, turning the cake stand as you go. Just focus on getting the whole cake covered before you move onto smoothing the icing out or working in any patterns.


 



3. Conquer those cupcakes

To make perfectly fluffy buttercream icing to top your cupcakes, try our recipe from the Cook & Create app, and whip it to perfection using the Total Control Folding Stand Mixer . You can currently get 10% off the mixer using code TOTAL10. 

Once you’ve made your icing adding it into a piping bag is an easy way to give your cupcakes a professional looking finish. When filling up your piping bag, try folding the top over a cup to give yourself a stable base to work with and make filling the bag far less messy. Experiment with different nozzles to create different effects. When piping the icing, start in the middle then loop around the edge in a circle, then finish with a swirl on top, back towards the centre.

If you’re not feeling confident enough to use a piping bag, try smoothing the butter icing on using a spatula. Measure it out equally among the cakes first using an ice cream scoop to make sure all your cupcakes end up looking the same. 


 

 

If all these tips aren’t enough, look out for another video from My Virgin Kitchen’s Barry Lewis next week, when he’ll be demonstrating how to fix cake decorating disasters. And remember, if all else fails, there’s nothing a generous dusting of icing sugar can’t fix! 

For more great hints and tips from the Baking Surgery, be sure to check out our
Facebook page. #TogetherWellMakeIt

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Be the Boss of Breadmaking

By Aimee Pearson | 21/10/2015 | Posted in Kitchen

We know you can feel a little apprehensive at the thought of making your own bread. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a bread maker to achieve great results. No one can deny how scrumptious a homemade loaf fresh out of the oven can really be and all you need is a bit of time on your hands.  

Once again, the Morphy Richards Baking Surgery is at your service! We’ve collaborated with our brand ambassador Barry Lewis from My Virgin Kitchen to bring you some essential tips for bread making. Step outside of your comfort zone and release the Paul Hollywood within!

Get more baking hints and tips from our Barry Lewis at the Baking Surgery page.  #TogetherWellMakeIt

1. Swap your store bought yeast for something closer to home:

Try making a homemade starter, an alternative to store bought yeast, for a very traditional loaf – this is how our ancestors used to make bread after all. The store bought yeast will struggle to achieve the same level of taste, consistency and flavour. Sound complicated? We promise it’s not! All you need to do is mix an equal weight of flour and water together, place in a large jar and leave to sit for a few days. With a bit of patience you can make some legendary homemade bread.


 

 
2. Easy on the flour:

To ensure the perfect dough consistency, you have to be careful with the amount of flour you use. If it won’t shape into a ball, it’s probably too dry, so add a drop of water to moisten it up! The mixture should be sticky and firm so that when you come to knead it, it bonds together well and doesn’t separate during baking. 
We know it’s hard to resist the temptation of adding more flour during kneading, especially when you’re a newbie bread maker and you’re not sure how the dough should look. Barry suggests using small quantities of olive oil, melted butter or even water when proving the dough. Adjusting the quantities of flour can have a huge effect on the outcome. This is where we think this week’s Baking Surgery competition winner, Ruby Grawe, may have gone wrong (sorry Ruby!).


 

 


3. A dough hook is all you ‘knead’:

Kneading is one of the most important processes in bread making; it aids the development of gluten (a type of protein) which ensures springy and elastic dough. Traditional hands-on kneading can be tiring, especially if you’ve missed a few sessions at the gym and your arm strength is lacking! Once your ingredients are mixed together, attach the dough hook on the Total Control Stand Mixer, select the pre-programmed bread dough setting and let the machine do the work. The dough is ready for proving when it’s beautifully smooth and slightly tacky to touch.   


 

 
4. Give the dough plenty of time to prove:
Proving allows the bread to rise and this requires patience; it’s a good time for shopping or catching up with a friend over a coffee! Before you wander off, ensure your dough is in a large mixing bowl to allow plenty of room to rise and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel.  Find a cosy spot in your house, where there’s no draught, and allow the dough to rise for at least an hour - the recipe should state proving times so follow these. Ideally, the dough should have doubled in size. 



 

 
Once you’ve mastered baking your favourite loaf, why not challenge yourself and try making a homemade pizza or a traditional Italian Focaccia? 

If you're not quite ready to go it alone, why not try one of our breadmakers for all the home-baked goodness in a fraction of the time?

For more advice from the Baking Surgery, be sure to check out our Facebook page. #TogetherWellMakeIt


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Banish Baking Blunders With Our Top Baking Tips

By Aimee Pearson | 14/10/2015 | Posted in Kitchen

Baking isn’t always the easiest thing to crack; all it takes is one little error and before you know it you’ve got a baking disaster on your hands! Don’t worry, the Morphy Richards Baking Surgery is here to help. We’ve pulled together some handy hints and tips to help you steer clear of some of the most common – and most easily avoided – baking blunders and be the organised, confident baker we know you can be!

Get more baking hints and tips from our brand ambassador and super vlogger Barry Lewis of My Virgin Kitchen at the Baking Surgery page. #TogetherWellMakeIt

1. Never underestimate the importance of lining your tins:

Although greasing the inside of the cake tin isn’t the most glamourous job, it helps to ensure you get smooth edges and is definitely worth the effort to avoid a broken cake. We’re sure this week’s Baking Surgery competition winner, Emily Coleman, wishes she’d greased her cake tins before baking them!

 


 
All you need to do is scoop some butter onto a clean piece of kitchen roll and wipe your tin for a quick and easy greasing solution – don’t forget to get into the edges! If you prefer to work with grease proof paper, add a little bit of butter to the cake tin first to stop the paper from moving when you pour in the mixture. Easy!

2. Avoid the dreaded ‘raw middle & burnt edges’ combination with this foil trick:

Sometimes the oven is not your friend, and that moment when the thick mixture transforms into a lovely, even brown cake comes far earlier than anticipated…before the middle of the cake has had time to catch up! Don’t worry though, the edges may be burning and the cake may still be raw in the middle, but it’s not too late to save it. To rescue your cake, simply cover it with a tight layer of tin foil to trap the heat and turn the temperature down by 10 degrees for the remainder of the baking time. 

 

 
3. Prepare ahead of time to avoid a last-minute shopping trip:


When the pressure of producing the perfect dinner party dessert is mounting, it’s easy to accidentally forget a crucial ingredient (let’s be honest, we’ve all done it at some point!). Avoid the panic next time by planning ahead and being prepared. Before you start to bake, measure out and organise all of the ingredients in separate bowls and make sure you have everything you need for the entire recipe. If you’re missing anything, you still have time to run to the shop to get the crucial ingredient before you start to bake!  

While you’re organising your ingredients, make sure you have all of the tools you need for the entire recipe, including icing, fillings and sauces. If you’re using a handy multi-functional tool like the Morphy Richards Total Control Hand Blender, make sure you lay out all of the attachments you’ll need for the recipe before you start so you don’t search all of your kitchen cupboards in a panic later on! (If you haven’t already discovered the Total Control Hand Blender, you can get 10% off now with the Baking Surgery promo code). 

 

 
4. Know your flours and get creative: 


Is there a difference between plain and self-raising flour? YES – and using plain flour instead of self-raising is a sure-fire way to ruin a recipe! Never fear though, if you’re running out of storage space for your ever-expanding stash of baking supplies, you can cleverly use the ingredients you already have. Make your own self-raising flour by adding a small amount of baking power to plain flour (just be sure to check the baking powder isn’t out of date and stick to ½ tsp of baking powder per 100g of plain flour). Genius! 

 

 

For more great hints and tips from the Baking Surgery, be sure to check out our Facebook page. #TogetherWellMakeIt



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Great British Fake Off: Top baking cheats and tips

By Aimee Pearson | 27/08/2015 | Posted in Recipes

Do you spend every episode of GBBO salivating at the assortment of delicious treats on your television, but have no idea how to make them?

Get your baking apron ready as we’ve compiled a list of top hints and tips that can help even the most inexperienced cook rival Mary and Paul.

These handy hints will help you on your way to becoming a star baker!

  1. In week one of GBBO, the contestants were put through their paces by having to recreate Mary’s Walnut Cake. The BIG problem was the shiny, boiled icing on top of it, which defeated many of the aspiring bakers whose attempts were “grainy”. To avoid this, make sure your icing is perfectly light and marshmellowy by using the whisk function of the Total Control Hand Blender Workcentre, which builds speed gradually to ensure that exactly the right amount of power is used to prevent sudden jerks and splatters while blending. 

     


  2. When using ingredients like nuts, it’s important to ensure that they’re never too fine or coarse- we’re looking at you, Ian. Try using the chopping function of your Total Control Hand Blender Workcentre for perfectly chopped walnuts. 

     


  3. Impressed by Paul Jagger’s Cecil the Lion bread on GBBO last week? More of a basic bread baker than a daring dough devil? Keep it simple and classy with the Total Control Plastic Stand Mixer for effortless bread every time. Making the perfect loaf has never been easier! The Total Control Plastic Stand Mixer delivers the right amount of power at the right time, ensuring that your dough will always be knock-out!

     


  4. If presentation isn’t your strong-point, you can still create beautiful cakes by simply sieving icing sugar through a doyly. The sugar will settle on your cake in a stunning pattern, tricking everyone into thinking that you have slaved over the decoration for hours. Perfect if you are running short of time- it’s just a shame Nadiya didn’t know this trick to spruce up her biscuit box at the last minute.

     


  5. If you don’t happen to have a piping bag on hand, you can create one using a humble sandwich bag- not as fancy, but a great cost-effective alternative. Simply add your icing to the bag, twist the top end of the bag, cut off one of the bottom corners and use as normal.

     


  6. Filling your piping bag can be a messy job, why not try folding the top of the bag over a cup to give yourself a stable base and an extra hand to help for an easier filling process?

     


  7. These hints and tips will help you on your way to creating a 'show stopper', so relax and have fun with your baking!
Now you’re on your way to being a baking pro, why not share your creations with us on Facebook and Twitter, or Tweet us live during the next GBBO episode?

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There’s no need to cry over spilt crumbs

By Aimee Pearson | 14/08/2015 | Posted in Household Cleaning

This week we put the SuperVac 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner to the test against the traditional dustpan and brush in our Man vs Morphy challenge. Who will win?

The bread crumbs are on the floor, ready to be cleaned up, both the SuperVac and the dustpan and brush looking determined to succeed. Could the old fashioned dustpan really beat the super lightweight, upright cordless vacuum cleaner? 

Man got off to a slow start bending down and shuffling on his knees while he started to sweep up the crumbs. With no need to bend down and no cord to plug in, SuperVac got off to a flying start – vacuuming up the crumbs in the middle of the floor with ease. 

Almost half way through and it was starting to look like fair game until the SuperVac pulled out its hidden power – the handheld setting. While man was struggling to sweep up the crumbs from the corner of the kitchen, the SuperVac’s handheld setting got into the awkward corners in no time – cleaning up the crumbs in a flash. With enough battery power still left to clean the whole house, the SuperVac set to work at what it does best…cleaning! 

And there you have it folks– in the battle of Man vs Morphy, Morphy has won again. 



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How to make the perfect iced tea

By Aimee Pearson | 12/06/2015 | Posted in Kettle

With Britain preparing for the upcoming heatwave (we can but wish!), what better way to enjoy the sun than with a chilled glass of fruity iced tea?

 

Despite it being a relatively simple recipe, it’s surprisingly easy to get iced tea wrong, and if you’ve never made it before, a bad batch could put you off ever wanting to attempt it again. 


We’ve created an easy guide to go with a delicious recipe to help you achieve refreshingly good results every time. Trust us; you’ll soon be making iced tea so delicious that you’ll put grandma’s original recipe to shame. 

 

 Lemon iced tea

Top tea tips:

  1. Top quality H2O: This is easily overlooked; the quality of your water can be the difference between a good and a bad glass of iced tea. For great tasting, filtered water why not try using one of our Brita filter kettles? You will ensure that your tea is of the highest quality and will leave no unsavoury aftertaste.
  2. For the coolest brew, first get hot: Using hot water is vital when brewing tea bags and particularly when adding sugar. If cold water is used, the sugar won’t dissolve and will give your beverage a grainy texture. Brew up with your Brita filter kettle for a clear consistency, which will give you an easy-sipping delight.
  3. Don’t over-steep:  The longer you leave your tea to brew, the stronger, but also the more bitter the drink will be. Be sure to not leave it brewing for longer than stated in the recipe, and if you want a more intense flavour, simply add more tea bags or ingredients.
  4. Freeze the flavour: Make a batch of syrup and freeze it in an ice cube tray. This allows you to add different flavours to different teas and also means you can vary the intensity of each glass. Nifty, eh?
  5. The perfect serve: Always serve your iced tea in a glass rather than a plastic cup. Not only does this look more aesthetically pleasing (you can’t beat a high ball glass for class, can you?), but it will also make your drink taste better. Plastic receptacles can absorb flavours, meaning you could end up ruining all your good work at the last hurdle. 
Lemon, mint and passion fruit iced tea

For iced tea novices and aficionados alike, this is a delicious and zesty recipe, which combines sweet and sour for a summer drink that still packs a punch.


Syrup ingredients: 
2/3 cup of caster sugar
½ cup of lemon juice
¾ cup of orange juice
4 passion fruit, halved

Tea: 
6-8 tea bags of your choice
2 litres of boiling water 

To serve: 
½ cup of fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, halved and thinly sliced
1 orange, halved and thinly sliced

Method:

  1. Add the caster sugar, lemon juice and passion fruit into a large pot. 
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for roughly 15-20 minutes. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the passion fruit has turned into a purée. 
  3. Strain the syrup using a sieve and freeze to set into ice cubes. 
  4. When the syrup has set, boil water using your Brita Filter Kettle and add teabags to brew. Let the water brew for approximately 10 minutes before removing the tea bags. 
  5. Add the frozen syrup ice cubes to the tea and cool to room temperature. 
  6. Finally, add the fresh mint leaves, sliced orange and lemon and then serve. 
If you have recipes or tips you’d like to share, why not post them to our Facebook or Twitter pages?

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