Mama Molloy’s – The home of home-baking
My name is Matthew Molloy (yes I am male, and straight, despite the title) and I am a passionate home-baker. I’ve been baking for about 2 years, sharing photos of my bakes on Facebook along the way, and have now decided that it’s time to up the ante and start blogging recipes alongside the photos. I have no work experience or any sort of training in the art of baking and as a result I am unpolluted by the commercial idea of making things look pretty. My baking is all about texture and flavour rather than fancy sugar work and decoration. As far as I am concerned, I would much rather a cupcake be moist and delicately flavoured but look like a drunkard has been given a bag of icing and a shovel than for it to look like a beautifully sculptured flower sat on a bland and slightly dry sponge that has taken 3 hours to make – but maybe I’m just a bit weird. This blog is going to demonstrate no-nonsense baking that can be done by anyone. If you want to try the recipes these aren’t hard and fast rules, simply how I made them, so feel free to experiment and try your best to improve them (an impossible task I’m afraid). Bin the sugar paste and get baking properly.
The basics – lining cake tins:
When baking, it is important to line the inside of cake tins with grease-proof paper to prevent the cake mixture from sticking to the inside of the tin. By using paper, once the tin has been removed from the finished cake, it is simply a matter of peeling off the paper. It is much easier to remove a flexible material such as paper from a cake, than an un-yielding cake tin.
In order to successfully line a cake tin, the inside of the tin should firstly be thoroughly greased using butter so that the paper sticks to the sides of the tin, rather than collapse in on itself. I used to use the wrapper from a block of butter but this doesn’t carry enough butter and is therefore less successful. Instead, cut a small cube of butter from the block and rub this all over the inside of the tin – a lot messier, but worth it. Make sure every part of the surface is greased. Once the tin is greased it can be lined.
Round tins – place the tin on a sheet of grease-proof paper and using a pencil, draw around the tin to produce a circle that is the same area as the tin. Cut it out with scissors. Next, cut out a rectangle of paper that is roughly 2cm taller than the tin and the same length as the circumference of the tin. Using scissors, make small (about 1cm) cuts along the length of the rectangle every 2cm or so. The tin can then be lined by taking the rectangle and pressing it against the up-right sides of the tin so that the 1cm strip of cuts is flat against the base of the tin, i.e. there is a 90o angle between the strip of cuts and the rest of the rectangle. The circle can then be placed in the tin on top of the strip of cuts, ensuring there are no gaps in the lining, from which cake mixture could leak out.
Loaf tins – lining loaf tins is a less accurate process than round tins. Essentially, cut out a rectangle of paper three times the size of the base of the tin and make diagonal cuts in from the corners. This will leave a rectangle in the middle of the paper the size of the base of the tin and four flaps around it which form the sides of the tin. Press the paper into the tin and the cuts will provide the flexibility in the paper necessary to neatly line the tin.
The basics – equipment:
Kitchen equipment ranges from the bog-standard wooden spoon and bowl to the high-tech gizmos that have too many buttons and comes down to personal preference. You will definitely need a large mixing bowl (mine is 11 inches (28cm) in diameter) and at least one other smaller bowl. A wooden spoon is important for general mixing and working with hot liquids such as butter or chocolate; I would recommend having at least two wooden spoons. Tablespoons (tbsp) and teaspoons (tsp) are useful for measuring out ingredients and obviously everyone likes having a good knife or three. A small pan and glass bowl are needed for melting chocolate effectively. You’ll need a cake tin, the size of which is up to you (mine is 8 inches (21cm) not that I like to brag or anything). The final piece of equipment that I would suggest you get is an electric whisk as it makes mixing and generating air in your cake mixtures a lot easier than using a hand-whisk or wooden spoon. If however you do actually like eating horribly dense cakes then don’t bother with a whisk of any sort… in fact close down your browser and go back to eating cardboard or whatever, I’m sure that’ll taste nicer.
Grease-proof paper and tin-foil are also necessary for baking.