You do not have to be a domestic goddess to be able to bake – trust me I am no Bree Van de Kamp.
In my experience, all you require is the desire to get your hands into the mixing bowl, the ability to rub flour into butter, patience, some tried and trusted recipes and reliable ingredients. Of course an array of baking pans also help, as will a set of kitchen scales – and if you are here then you are probably interested in making some English fare.
English cakes are plain, elegant and satisfying. At their best they are comforting, loaded with butter and steeped in history and heritage.
Most of the traditional cakes have a story to tell – from the Victoria sponge developed for Queen Victoria (who relished the new craze for tea-parties) to the humble Eccles cake which was illegal to eat in 1650 – anyone caught eating one would be sent to prison.
When baking the English way, please remember two very important things:
- Never use self-rising flour – US self-rising flour contains added salt – around 1/2 teaspoon per cup. Switch to all-purpose flour (known as plain flour in England) and for every 110g/3.5oz of flour add 1tsp of baking powder – simple!
- Measure ingredients carefully with a set of kitchen scales. Use grams or ounces and never a combination of both.
My weekly blog
My weekly blog will cover everything you will need to know to make the wonderful baked goods that are enjoyed regularly across the pond, including:
- recipes from some of England’s best bakers (I have adapted them slightly to make them work with ingredients available in the US),
- potential problems when using a recipe from England
- hints and tips for English baking
- the history behind some England’s favorite cakes and biscuits
So lets get you going on how to bake the English way and a few things you will need.