The first thing you need to know about baking as a student is: do it. It’s a great way of bonding with new housemates and it’ll earn you serious brownie points – no pun intended – with all in the near vicinity when you bring your creation out of the oven.
Even students of postgraduate executive MBA progams can find a bit of time to have a go at baking with their housemates, so unleash your inner Delia this term and get a trayful of laughs along with a trayful of treats.
1. Begin with inspiration
Need a helping hand in coming up with some baking inspiration? Well, if you wanted something a bit lighter than the Bunny Suicides-inspired gingerbread men above then you may want to turn to everyone’s favourite baking TV programme – the Great British Bake Off. If they can do it in a tent, you can do it in your kitchen!
Their website has plenty of recipes for you to browse through and attempt, no matter your oven size or baking experience or, if you are looking for a more visual form of inspiration, YouTube has more videos than you can shake a whisk at. So sit back, put the revision to one side and let the docile tones of Mary Berry and glinting wink of Paul Hollywood ignite your passion for icing.
To get you started here’s a clip of the most amazing hidden design cakes. Don’t worry, you’re doing a degree, no one expects this of you.
Maybe biscuits are the way to your heart? Here are the ingredients for creating the 3D biscuits made in week 2 of this year’s incredible series.
For the basic dough:
- 200g/7oz unsalted soft butter
- 200g/7oz caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
- 400g/14oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the icing:
- 1 free-range egg white
- 250g/9oz icing sugar
- food colouring, if using
- ready-to-roll icing, in colours of your choice, to decorate the biscuits
For the full recipe click here.
2. Stock up at baking events
If that wasn’t enough then be sure to check out the Cake & Bake Show taking place at Earls Court between the 3rd and 5th October 2014. With celebrity chefs making an appearance and sharing their thoughts, including the likes of Rachel Khoo, Eric Lanlard, the yummy Fabulous Baker Bros and Rosemary Shrager, it really is a must-see event for any wannabe Berry.
There will be baking expertise and inspiration from these celebrity bakers, as well as:
- live cake decorating
- skills classes
- real bread demos
- live bake-offs
- hundreds of stands offering up-to-the-minute sugarcraft and baking equipment
- PLUS as many delectable cakes, breads and pies that you can stomach!
3. Professional tips for professional results
Celebrity bakers have “risen” in popularity in recent years. Here they share their best tips.
The exciting Eric Lanlard
Is there a more appropriate celebrity chef to follow than Eric Lanlard for top baking recipes as a student? His cake-boy.com website has a whole host of information on his public appearances, such as the Cake& Bake Show and his latest baking projects. His favourite recipe is Pear Tarte Tatin; it’s rustic and it’s a Breton favourite, which is where he hails from originally. If you want to give it a go then be sure to download The Cake Boy App where you can try all of his latest recipes, and with over 80 of his favourites it is unlikely that you will run out.
Eric’s top tip for student want-to-be pastry chefs or bakers:
“Work hard – this isn’t a job for wimps, listen and show passion. You have to love what you do and do what you love. Learn from the best and be prepared to make mistakes but learn from your mistakes – practice makes perfect.”
The lovely Lorraine Pascal
Lorraine Pascale – she may be a former model, but that just means that she can offer some great fashion and beauty tips as well as how to make a top-batch scone. The Lorraine Pascale YouTube channel is full of helpful hints and tips, including recipes for ‘a lighter way to bake’ so you can enjoy all the fun of baking at university without feeling bloated during your weekend MSc accounting and finance study.
The delightful Delia Smith
Finally, an equal legend to the Bake Off’s prized gem Mary Berry, Delia Smith is one to listen to in the kitchen. Her website, deliaonline.com, features a free online video cookery school on baking, so you can hear from the woman herself and learn how to create the perfect housemate-bribing cakes.
What’s more, she has plenty of other incredibly useful videos that are perfect for students, from how to boil eggs to making your first loaf, and from late September 2014 she’ll have plenty more videos on pasta and rice – the student staples! If that wasn’t enough, her How to Cook book came out on top in the Independent’s best cookbooks for students, so you won’t be left with a soggy bottom or half-risen scone again.
Has this inspired you to pick up the wooden spoon and apron? Share pictures of your creations on the GSM London Facebook page and remember, even if it doesn’t go to plan, icing solves all woes – from burned edges to beheaded gingerbread men…
Image Credits: Eric Lanlard, Delia Online/Alban Pix
This content was written by Rachel Smith. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.