10 budget baking tips

With the eigth series of the Great British Bake Off about to begin, it's never been more tempting to grab your rolling pin and scales and get creative with some cake mixture. But with so many ingredients and equipment needed, baking can come at a hefty price. So we’ve put together 10 simple ways of saving money when you’re baking and making. Some of them may sound a little strange but trust us, they work! 

1. Use lace as a topping pattern

Looking for some easy and cheap inspiration to decorate the top of your cake? Simply take an old piece of lace and slowly sift your frosting or icing sugar through. This will create an intricate pattern that will surely wow your guests.

2. No rolling pin? Try a wine bottle

Don't panic if you suddenly realise you don’t actually own a rolling pin – just use an empty wine bottle instead. The shape makes the perfect roller and will be flattening out your mixture in no time.

3. Crimp your crust with a necklace

Instead of daintily pinching the sides of your pre-cooked pie before it goes in the oven, use a pearl necklace. Simply undo the clasp and roll the necklace around the edge to make neat indents. You can also use a corkscrew tip or measuring spoon, but it's way less stylish. Practise your crimping with these Chicken and chorizo pies

4. Keep brown sugar soft

There's nothing worse than your brown sugar turning hard, but you can keep it soft and fresh by simply placing a slice of bread in the container. The bread won't go mouldy and the sugar won't go hard. It couldn't be easier! Try our easy Baked raspberry and lemon dairy-free cheesecake which uses Demerara sugar.

5. Make double and freeze

By making double the mixture and putting half in the freezer, this not only cuts down on food wastage but also makes your next baking session a lot easier and quicker. Just place your unused mixture in a freezable bag or container and microwave before use the second time round.

6. Ripen bananas in the oven

Sometimes you're just craving a banana-based recipe, such as Banana Caramel Cupcakes , but you don’t always have a bunch of overripe bananas to hand. Don't worry if your fruit isn't ready just yet; place them in the oven for around 40 minutes to ripen on a low heat. This will make them go completely black and very soft – the perfect texture for baking. Here are 6 reasons we should all eat more bananas!

7. Make your own sprinkles

They're sweet, crunchy and colourful – the perfect topping for your cake. And it's easy to make your own rather than heading to the shops to buy a pack. All you need is sugar, egg whites, warm water, flavouring and food colouring. Whip together and let the icing dry, before cutting into your desired shapes.

8. Don't cry over cracked eggshells

Cracking eggs into a bowl before baking may look easy but can prove tricky when you spot a shard of eggshell or two along with your yolk. There's no need to waste the egg and try again though, by wetting your fingers you'll be able to scoop up the unwanted crunch.

9. Keep cookies moist longer

It might sound slightly odd but by placing a small apple wedge into your container of newly-cooked cookies, they will keep their moisture and not dry out. This is because the cookies will slowly absorb the moisture from the apple, keeping them delicious and edible for longer. Try our delicious Cinnamon and raisin cookies

10. Salvage burnt goods with a grater

Don’t panic or cry if your baked cookies are looking a little scorched after a date in the oven – they can be salvaged. Using a cheese grater, simply shave off the bottoms with a grater. No one will ever know!

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