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Friday 19 April 2019
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The joy of baking

BAKING both relaxes and intrigues me. There is something to be said about adhering to the traditional principles of baking and watching the transformation of basic ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and eggs, into countless ethereal tastes simply by tweaking flavourings, changing ingredient ratios and methodology.

Baking is a culinary skill that requires practise, discipline with respect to adhering to methods and measurements and the ability to overcome failure! Let’s face it, if you are a new baker, your initial products may not be in the top ten but being able to troubleshoot will certainly put you at an advantage the next time.

If you think that YouTube tutorials will make a great baker out of you, think again. Learning a practical skill such as baking, online, will put you at a disadvantage because you cannot touch, smell and taste in an online tutorial. Those are the three senses that you depend most on during a live baking class. The alternative to which would translate to you rolling up your sleeves this weekend, following a great recipe and creating your own baking experience. Happy baking!

Red velvet whoopie pies

Red velvet whoopie pies

¼ cup butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

4 tbs vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 tbs food colouring

⅔ cup plain yoghurt

4 tbs cocoa powder

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda


Cream ⅔ cups butter with 1lb cream cheese until smooth.

Add about 2½ cups sifted icing sugar with 2 tbs sour cream, add 1 tsp orange zest.

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add vegetable oil and beat for a few seconds, add the egg and beat until incorporated.

Stir together the food colouring and yoghurt and add to the creamed butter.

Combine cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add gradually to creamed butter mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with dry mix. Do not over mix.

With a small ice-cream scoop, drop cookie dough onto the prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cookies slightly spring back when touched.

Cool on baking sheets for few minutes before moving to cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Prepare cream cheese frosting.

Pipe a blob of frosting onto the flat portion of one cookie, place another cookie on top flat face down and gently press until frosting comes to edge of cookie.

Makes 12-3½ inch whoopie pies

Lime chocolate mini cheesecakes

For the crust:

16 chocolate sandwich cookies crushed to fine crumbs in a food processor

¼ cup butter, melted


1 lb cream cheese

⅔ cup granulated sugar

3 tbs flour

1 tsp vanilla

4 eggs

3½ tbs freshly-squeezed lime juice

⅔ cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325F

Make the crust by combining cookie crumbs with melted butter, press into the bottom of 24, mini cheesecake pans or into the base of mini cupcake cases.

Freeze until ready for use.

Beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth, and there are no lumps.

Add sugar and flour, combine.

Beat in eggs one at a time until well combined and mixture is smooth, add vanilla.

Stir in lime-juice and fold in sour cream.

Spoon by ¼-cup measure into the mini cases.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Chill for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes.

To make one cheesecake, pour into a 9-inch spring-form tin, and bake for 50 minutes.

* If you are using a spring-form pan you can wrap the pan in foil during baking to prevent any liquid from dripping through the seam of the pan.

Jammy mini cake doughnuts

¼ cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

¾ cup thin yoghurt or buttermilk

3½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

coconut oil or vegetable oil for frying

½ cup jam for filling

1 cup icing sugar for dusting doughnuts.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar until light, add eggs and beat well, add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat well.

Now combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir well.

Heat oil in a deep-frying pan to 365 to 375F

Drop doughnuts by teaspoonfuls into hot oil, do not crowd pan.

Fry for about 2 minutes per side and turn over.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Have ready a piping bag ready with a #12 decorating tip, fill with your jam.

Insert tip into each doughnut and fill with a little jam.

Dust with icing sugar.

Makes about 24

Wendy’s Cooking Classes

Pre Divali Roti Class: October 27, 9-12 pm

Pastelle Workshop: November 3,9-12 pm

Call 357-9027 to register. Cost: $600 each.

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