Notes and Techniques

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Cook's Notes... 

Oven temperatures are for a fan-assisted oven. Adjust upwards slightly if you are using a regular old-fashioned oven.

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Base lining a tin
To base line a tin, sit it on greaseproof paper or baking parchment and using a pencil, trace around it. Cut out the shape just inside the pencil lines. Lightly rub the inside of the tin with butter and position the paper in the buttery base. This makes it easier to remove the cake from the tin when cooked. For square or rectangular tins, leave a few centimeters of the lining paper overlap on two opposite sides to make it easier to lift the cooled cake out of the tin.

Creaming simply means blending sugar and butter together until they are light and fluffy, usually for a sponge cake mixture, before combining with other ingredients. Using an electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugar as indicated by the recipe. Count on a minimum of three minutes. The sugar and butter should blend together in a light fluffy mixture that becomes paler in colour.

From time to time, I refer to folding when mixing a cake batter or adding beaten egg white to, for example, a pancake mix. To fold flour or another dry ingredient into a mixture simply follow the instructions in the recipe. When you come to the instruction to fold, add about one-third of the flour ingredient to the mixture and taking a spatula or a metal spoon in your dominant hand, cut through the centre of the batter. Move the spatula or spoon across the bottom of the bowl, and back up the side and across the top bringing some of the mixture from bottom to top. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Keep folding the mixture and turning the bowl until the ingredients are incorporated into the batter. Folding avoids overworking the batter keeping it light and airy.

If instructed to fold beaten egg white into a mixture, first of all stir about one-third of the egg white into the mixture to slacken it a little then fold the remaining egg white into the mixture using the technique described in italics above.

Kneading helps develop the gluten in flour, making the dough stretchy and helping the bread rise uniformly

Lightly dust a clean work surface - and your hands - with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and fold it in half. Holding the dough in place with one hand, use the heel of the other hand to stretch the dough away from you along the floured surface. Fold it again, rotate it about an 1/8th of a turn, and again stretch it away from you. Repeat until the dough is smooth and elastic, according to the instructions in the recipe.
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