10 tricks to bring your baking fail back from disaster
I know how it feels when baking turns into a disaster, we've all been there! The fondant icing that splits when you are just about to ice a three-layer rainbow cake because you've taken too long to roll it out, the biscuits that spread into one giant slab on the baking tray, the curdled mixture that you just don't know how to fix. Sometimes, we just have to accept that things have gone wrong, and make what you have into something different (or sometimes just start again!), but here are my top 10 tricks to help you come back from the baking 'Hall of Lame'.
1. Use your broken cake for the bottom of a trifle
You were going to serve a gorgeous and elaborate cake for your dinner guests but the cake falls apart as you're taking it out of the tin. Yes - sticking together cake with buttercream may be fun, but it doesn't look that pretty. So, break the cake up and use it as the base of a trifle. Everyone will be none the wiser AND they will be impressed that you've made a whole trifle from scratch!
2. The key to fixing a mixture that is curdled is just adding a little of the dry mixture you were using e.g. flour
Your cake mixture can curdle if you add your liquid (in most cases, eggs) too quickly without ensuring it is fully incorporated, but it is easily fixed! Simply take a little of your dry mixture and fold it in - problem solved! The same trick can be used for frosting.
3. Use your broken cake for cake pops
Crumble your cake into a food processor, add your icing and blend to get a consistency that you can mould into balls, freeze and dip into melted chocolate or candy melts. Simple.
4. Call your sinking cake a torte
You've taken your cake out of the oven and it starts to sink. What do you do? Pour chocolate over the top and call it a torte - don't tell anyone and they will never know.
5. Cut the middle of your sunken cake out
Another option for a sunken cake, simply cut out the centre and your cake turns into a successful ring cake so that you can keep your smugness! Don't waster the centre either - use it as the bottom of a Baked Alaska - or cover your cake in icing and sprinkle cake crumbs over the top.
6. Cut your slab of biscuit into thin strips
Your biscuits have baked into a huge slab and your elaborate shapes are no more. But do not fear, cut your biscuit into thin strips and serve with a warm chocolate sauce. It doesn't get much better than that!
7. Fix a burnt cake by using a metal sieve to rub off the burnt bits
This means you can remove the burnt bits without cutting and changing the shape of the cake too much.
8. Pierce a dry or stale cake and pour alcohol or fruit juice over the top
Leave the cake wrapped for 24 hours and it will be as good as new.
9. Fix a broken Swiss roll by rolling flat and cutting out shapes
You can then fill in between the slices of Swiss roll with cream and fruit and turn it into a sort of mille feuille.
10. ALWAYS have a no-fail recipe in reserve
If you get into such a disaster that there really is no coming back (it happens, trust me!), always have a recipe that you know won't fail and that won't take too long to create. A recipe that mixes in one bowl is great, like Nigella's Old Fashioned Cake recipe https://www.nigella.com/recipes/old-fashioned-chocolate-cake.
Always learn from your mistakes. Every day is a school day! Baking is an art and mistakes are all lessons in perfecting - I have certainly had my share in the past.