It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon and you’re in the mood to bake a gooey-licious chocolate cake. You get your favourite recipe out, prep the cake pan, measure out the flour and…you’re out of sugar! And baking powder… And there’s just, um, one egg and a scrap of cooking chocolate that’s not enough even for a cookie! Ever been there? Totally sucks, right? We know. And that’s why we’ve put together a list every home baker needs; a list that’ll ensure you have ALL your baking ingredients in place whenever you’re in the mood for some bakin’. Put this on your must-read radar along with our list of must have baking essentials every home baker needs and you’re good to bake!
The ULTIMATE baking ingredients checklist for beginners!
The basic baking workhorse!
This is your basic baking workhorse, whether you’re thinking cakes, cookies or breads. Two of the commonly used flours most home bakers come across are plain flour and self raising flour. Self raising flour is plain flour with a raising agent already added. If you’re using plain flour, you’ll need a raising agent like baking powder or bicarbonate of soda to ensure your cakes get that awesome rise you want!
Wholemeal flours tend to give a denser texture, but you can swap part of your refined flour with wholemeal for a healthier version.
Keep watching this space for some funky and healthy recipes using wholemeal flours- coming up soon!
2. Baking Powder
Those cakes ain’t rising without this ‘magic’ baking ingredient ;)
When you have flour on the list, baking powder is bound to follow, coz that flour ain’t rising without this must-have on your baking ingredients checklist. Baking powder is a raising agent made of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar and sometimes, cornstarch. Cream of tartar is an acid which activates the bicarbonate of soda- causing the release of carbon dioxide and helping to aerate the cake with moisture, so that the cake doesn’t get too dry.
3. Bicarbonate of Soda
The soda bakers can’t do without :D
Also known as baking soda, this is a base that is called for in recipes that also contain some sort of acid like buttermilk, yoghurt, lemon juice or honey, to name a few. The acid in the recipe reacts with baking soda, creating carbon dioxide and causing your cake to rise.
Just in case you were wondering- baking powder and baking soda are two very different ingredients.
Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda- this is usually to get the desired leavening as well as flavour and browning of your baked goodie.
Utterly butterly required on any list of must have baking ingredients! Beaten together with sugar, butter is what gives your cakes its light, airy feel.
Important Baking Tip: Remember, butter needs to be at room temperature for baking.
We CANNOT imagine our creamed cakes without the delicious feel of butter!
5. Another all rounder on the must have baking ingredients checklist…
Good ol’ eggs to get that fluffy sponge cake just right
…Eggs of course! Eggs are used in batters for binding as well as to trap air in the batter. As with butter, make sure the eggs are at room temperature before you get baking.
6. Cocoa/ Chocolate
Coz what would a chocolate cake be without this on our must have baking ingredients checklist? Okay, plain vanilla which is also kinda nice, but we admit we’re chocoholics and we must must must have our chocolate cakes! You can go with either cocoa or chocolate. Or be like us and use both 😉 for your cakes, buttercream icings and fillings.
A pinch of sugar…
The sweetest no-brainer on our baking ingredients check-list. There are all sorts of this sweetie of course 😉 Plain old white granulated sugar- nothing quite like this baby for creaming those wet ingredients together.
We have a sugary sweet post coming your way soon: all about the various sorts of sugars you need to sweeten up your baking just right!
Caster sugar tends to be quite popular among home bakers too; it blends real nice thanks to its fine texture. Icing sugar, is what you need for icing-DUH! Then there are a variety of brown sugars- light, dark, muscovado; each with a distinctive flavour and each lending itself to a particular sort of recipe.
…and some spice…
Sugar and spice go together to bake all those baked goodies nice Think cinammon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom. A pinch or two can add that burst of flavour that’ll elevate your cake or cookie to the next level.
9. Vanilla Extract
…and a hint of vanilla, bakes all things nice!
This can really add that special zing to a recipe which is why it makes it to our list of must have baking ingredients. Invest in real vanilla extract made from vanilla beans, SO much better than the cheaper vanilla essence.
Fresh, creamy, flavorful…the goodness of milk in our gourmet bakes
We like ours full fat for that added creaminess and flavour
That bread looks yeasty good!
Yeast. Instant, active dry, rapid rise, there are some yeasty varieties out there. Pick yours depending on what your recipe calls for.
Can’t imagine grub without salt? Well, bakes need a dash too…even some sweet ones!
Just a pinch. For that added dimension to your scrummy bakes.
13. Vegetable Oil
Make your bakes healthier with this ingredient!
Can be used as a substitute to butter, or swap in a bit for a healthier version. Plus it brings in its own distinctive flavour to the bake at hand. We love our coconut oil for our pumpkin muffin recipe and our sunflower blend for our rich sponge cakes!
Okay peeps, you can stop reading and get baking already! And don’t forget to watch this space for the next post in our home baker essential series; we have a post coming up on the ultimate baking ingredients check-list- the ADVANCED version!
Do you have any basic ingredients you think we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!