7 Books Every Home Bakery Business Owner Needs to Read

7 Books Every Home Bakery Business Owner Needs to Read

 7 Books Every Home Bakery Business Owner Needs to Read

First of all you’ve got to know that I hate reading.

There, I’ve said it.

My husband, Adriaan, can read for hooouuuuurs on end.

But to me, reading is just… well… boring.

So the fact that I’m recommending books to you today means that these books are nothing short of MIRACULOUS.

Books may be boring to me in general, yes.

But when a book has the power to turn your business around from losing 70% of your profit to being fully booked – FOR 3 MONTHS IN ADVANCE – then it’s everything but “boring”, right?!

 

Books have saved my Home Bakery Business.

The amount of knowledge experts share in books is astounding!

They’ll honestly share $1500 worth of info in a book that you can buy for just $15.

Books are the most AFFORDABLE way to transform your life and business. Period.

I do offer a whole bunch of online courses to help home bakers get consistent sales and grow their home baking into a full-time career, but I realize that this route isn’t for everyone.

Very often, it’s just impossible – financially – to join an online course.

But an online course isn’t the only way to be successful.

YES, reading is “boring”, but a successful baking business sure isn’t! Don't avoid reading books like I did for the first 4 years in my home bakery. Experts seriously share $1500 worth of information in their books which they sell for $10 - $15! When I finally started reading books to help my business, I became fully booked for up to months in advance. Start reading these books NOW so that you can get more home baking business clients & sales! #homebaking #homebakery #bakingbusiness #athomebakery

 

Gosh, there sure weren’t any online courses to help ME on my home bakery journey! So the ONLY option I had was to fall on my face >> thousands of times.

And eventually my husband convinced me to stop whining about how tough life is and read a book about how to MAKE my baking business successful.

It took about 6 years of trial & error, reading, testing strategies, tweaking strategies, making mistakes, apologizing, learning and GROWING…

But it was worth it!

Reaching your goals and GROWING as a person is always worth it.

Doing it all yourself often just takes a long time.

The great advantage of my online courses is that you’ll take a severe shortcut to home bakery business success. I’ve got a student who’s gone from a full-time desk job to full-time home baking in 10 months – which is a whole lot shorter than 6 years, right?

But I repeat; an online course isn’t the only way to be successful.

You CAN absolutely DIY your Home Bakery success path!

And books are the most affordable and effective way to do that.

Please note: This post has affiliate links. This means that if you purchase some of these products I get a tiny commission – but at NO extra cost to you. I’m super proud to recommend these resources to you because they’ve completely transformed my Home Bakery Business!

Let me fill you in on the 7 Books every Home Bakery owner needs to read.

I’m going to list them in order of importance from a beginner level Home Bakery (thinking about starting) to an advanced level Home Bakery (baking full-time).

 

1. The Heart to Start – David Kadavy

This is a short, funny and sweet book that’s perfect for any creative person – which absolutely includes home bakers!

>> If you struggle with self-doubt

>> Or with having the guts to put yourself and your baking out there…

>> Or you’re a perfectionist that finds excuses NOT to start your Home Bakery (totally raising my own hand too, by the way!)…

This is the book you need.

The Heart to Start breaks down all the reasons we don’t start putting ourselves out there. When you understand WHY you’re hesitant to let your creativity shine, it becomes so much simpler to overcome your procrastination.

He gives it to you straight. He gives you truckloads of perspective that will OPEN YOUR EYES like never before!

You’ll finally understand yourself and how to get out of your own way so you can START the things you were meant to start.

books for home bakery business owners - the heart to start by David Kadavy

 

2. The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau

Where do I begin to express my deep gratitude for this book?…

I was a stubborn home baker that didn’t want to learn ANYTHING about business and marketing. I just wanted to BAKE!

To me the business side felt overwhelming, super scary and boring all at the same time.

For the first 4 years in my Home Bakery Business I kept praying that God would send me someone to handle the business side FOR me.

“Aurelia; you just handle the baking, I’ll handle the business stuff and we’ll all live happily ever after.”

This is what I wanted.

But God did not give me this…

You see dear friend, we spend so much time praying for things to be easier.

And instead of miraculously making our lives easier, God often gives us opportunities to GROW – which will eventually make our lives a bit easier (in that department at least).

But it’s NOT instant.

So when we see the opportunities to GROW instead of the miracle quick-fix, we get upset.

I understand because I often do this too! Even still today!

But because I’d just lost my biggest client and 70% of my income I literally had nothing else to do but read this book.

Guess what happened?

The $100 Startup made me fall in love with business & marketing.

And I’ve been smitten ever since!

This book helped me to realize that if you’re serious about making a profit, you can’t afford to NOT learn about business & marketing.

Business & Marketing isn’t like the dishes and cleaning in your business. This is not something you ignore and hand off to someone else to handle for you.

If you’re serious about making baking your career, you’ll grab the opportunity to learn from this book as soon as possible.

It’s easy to read, realistic and it gets you results.

books for home bakery business owners - the $100 startup by Chris Guillebeau

 

3. How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom – Gerard Baker

This is my favourite baking book of all time. But here comes the plot twist… it’s NOT a recipe book!

How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom is all about the technical science of baking.

There’s nothing worse than baking up a flop and assuming that you were “just unlucky today”.

There’s no such thing.

Baking is a SCIENCE. That’s one of the things I love most about it!

When a bake flops there are always reasons WHY.

Understanding the science of baking is the BIGGEST leap you can take towards improving the quality of your baking.

The better you can understand the science of baking, the better your bakes will turn out and the more consistent your baking will be.

How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom answers a whopping 150 essential baking questions! And with this knowledge your flops will be a thing of the past.

books for home bakery business owners - how to avoid a soggy bottom by Gerard Baker

 

4. Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

For YEARS I thought I always had to put my “best foot forward” in my business to be successful. Maybe you think that’s what you should do too?

We home bakers tend to follow hundreds of popular bakers on Instagram. We see their perfect baked goods, with perfect photos taken in their perfect kitchens.

Then we assume we need to replicate that perfection before our work is “good enough” to share on Instagram.

You see, we make the mistake of thinking that we’re either:

a] Baking for ourselves OR
b] Baking for our baking-heroes

While NEITHER of these is true.

>> Your clients don’t follow hundreds of bakers on Instagram like you do!

>> They don’t stare at your average-ish website criticizing it for hours on end like you do.

>> They’re not looking up every single baker in your town or city and laying out a crime investigation board with photos to determine who the “best” and “most deserving” baker is!

You’re not baking for yourself and you’re not baking for your “competition”. You’re baking for your CLIENTS.

If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, spend your energy thinking about what matters to your CLIENTS.

And one of the biggest things your clients want is to feel like they’re included in something meaningful. They want to be PART of something special.

Show Your Work gives you practical tips for how to make your customers feel like they are a vital PART of your business.

The book shows you how to INCLUDE your clients in your business and as a result you’ll win their attention, hearts and they’ll sing your praises from their rooftops!

books for home bakery business owners - show your work by Austin Kleon

 

5. Building a Story Brand – Donald Miller

For the first 5 years in my Home Bakery Business I always positioned my Home Bakery to “impress people”. I thought that’s what you need to do to get people’s attention. You need to IMPRESS them.

Maybe that’s how you feel right now in your business?

But people don’t buy because they’re impressed.

They buy when they clearly (and quickly) see that you UNDERSTAND their problems and can help them to solve their problems.

Here’s the most shocking truth of why businesses fail: They position themselves as the hero of the story. They make the story all about them and how amazing their company is.

But meanwhile all clients are only interested in ONE story – their OWN story!

Here’s a practical example:

We all tend to think we (and our home bakery business) are Daniel LaRusso in the Karate Kid movie.

On our social media and websites we parade around with our trophy trying to show people “Look at me & my business! My home bakery it legit! Look at the delicious things I make! Look at the list of organic ingredients I use! Come over here and read my life story that’s all about me!”

I did this too.

It’s how we all start out and there’s no shame in that because it’s what we see so many other businesses do.

But if you want your Home Bakery Business to GROW, you’re going to need to start to approach your business’ story DIFFERENTLY.

Truth is, my dear friend, we are NOT the hero of the story.

YOUR CLIENT is the hero.

Your business’ story is about guiding your client to success.

You’re Mr. Miyagi!! You are the GUIDE, not the hero.

A successful business is the one guiding Daniel (your client) and helping him to overcome his problems and reach success.

When your business is all about YOU, it won’t attract new clients. Plain and simple.

But when your business starts to revolve around your clients’ success, they start flocking to you automatically!

 

Believe it or not this is just ONE of the SEVEN steps that Donald Miller teaches you in his best-selling book – Building a StoryBrand.

When I started positioning my Home Bakery Business as the GUIDE and the client as the hero, things in my biz totally transformed!

Building a StoryBrand is THE BEST book on Marketing I’ve ever read. Period.

(The strategies in this book are a bit more advanced though. This book will only be beneficial to you once you’ve already got a website.)

Building a StoryBrand has changed my life!

You can also check out their podcast which is free and incredible >> Building a StoryBrand Podcast. But start at EPISODE 1! Don’t skip ahead and miss all the gold!

books for home bakery business owners - building a story brand by Donald Miller

 

6. Deep Work – Cal Newport

Technology brings a lot of WONDERFUL advantages to our lives. If it weren’t for technology, my blog wouldn’t exist right now!

You’d have needed to WAIT for your hair to dry naturally this morning. And before that you would’ve needed to boil water over a fire for your bath!

Technology is awesome and it’s powerful.

But with great power comes great responsibility, right?

In Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, he fills us in on the greatest disadvantage of technology.

Fact is, technology has TRAINED us to be distracted.

So often I’ll grab my phone because I wanted to do something specific – like making a note of an idea.

Then suddenly, 10 minutes later, I realize I’ve been on Instagram (again) and completely forgot the reason I picked up my phone in the first place!

Come on, you know it’s happened to you too. Just admit it! No shame here.

The problem is that in such a distracted world of constantly checking emails, text messages, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, et freakin cetera… we spend so little time digging into the REAL creativity – the GOLD – within ourselves.

The kind of creativity, productivity, clarity of mind and deep work that requires more than 15 minutes of focus to access.

To get to your TRUE GENIUS, you need to focus on one thing for a few hours – not minutes.

>> Deep Work has helped me to access my BEST ideas.

>> It helps me to GET MORE DONE in LESS TIME every single day.

>> It’s helped me to organize my life to be less distracted and more present.

This book helps me DEFINE what exactly I want and how to get there faster, with more calm and less anxiety.

If you want to uncover your deepest creative genius,
and have a calmer life with less noise & more clarity,
and be more efficient & productive…

This is the book you need to get there.

books for home bakery business owners - deep work by Cal Newport

 

7. The E-Myth Revisited

This book is NOT for beginners.

When we start our Home Bakery Business, the one thing we keep wishing & praying for is MORE clients.

But as your Home Bakery grows so do the responsibilities and sense of overwhelm & obligation.

Over time you start longing for the days when things were smaller and simpler.

You’ll long for the days you could just bake 1 thing at a time – soaking in the beauty of baking.

Now you need to crank out 20 times that per day. You need to employ staff, but you’re SO scared they won’t care about your business the same way YOU do.

So you just soldier on and do everything yourself.

If you’ve been getting to that point where your Home Bakery is constantly fully booked, you’re baking 24/7 and feel like you’re juggling 100 balls at once – this book is SO for YOU!

The “E-Myth” stands for the “Entrepreneur-Myth”. Weird name, I know. But don’t let that put you off.

This single book has the power to save your life and your business – before it swallows you whole (which inevitably happens in EVERY small business).

In this book Michael Gerber tells us the story of his coaching journey with Sarah and her Pie Baking Business. (And let’s pause for a moment and acknowledge how beyond cool is it that his case study is a home baker, right?!)

You get to be a fly on the wall witnessing all their conversations.

The book starts where Sarah’s working 20 hours a day (yes, 20 hours isn’t a typo), 6 days a week. (And I know this is true because I’ve been there too.)

And it ends with she’s able to take a WEEK OFF while her business runs smooth as butter without her needing to be there. Isn’t that incredible?!

The E-myth Revisited asks you the questions you don’t want to hear.

It challenges you like no other book challenges a small business owner.

It will force you to acknowledge that businesses, like people, are destined to grow!

And you’ll learn exactly how to facilitate that growth of your business – without sacrificing quality, your marriage or health for it.

This book will help you to navigate and calm the storm of a growing business.

It will SIMPLIFY the growth process for you and help you to get more profit AND more balance back into your life.

TOTAL must read for advanced Home Bakery Owners!

books for home bakery business owners - the e-myth revisited by Michael Gerber

 

8. Find Your Why – Simon Sinek

Okay fine, I lied… There are 8 books. I just knew that “8 books” in the post title would look WAY more scary than 7!

But there’s another book I just CANNOT leave out.

And it’s Find Your Why.

“People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.

Start With Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does.” – Excerpt from simonsinek.com.

So essentially this book is all about understanding how your clients THINK.

Why is that important to your business?

Because, dear friend, before a client buys from you they THINK a whole bunch of things that lead them to buying from you – OR from your competition.

The success of your business hinges on what your clients think and how they make decisions.

Find Your Why will help you understand why your clients aren’t connecting with you or your business and what you can do to fix that.

books for home bakery business owners - find your why by Simon Sinek

 

Okay, now I’m REALLY done!

There are SO many more books I could recommend, but maybe it’s best that I stop myself here.

Once again, I repeat – I really DON’T like reading at all. But these books have literally changed my Home Bakery Business and my life.

They’ve also been the perfect way SAVE MONEY & GROW at the same time. For example; my cousin who’s a marketing lecturer learned more from the Building a Story Brand book (which costs $16) than in his entire university education (which cost OVER $10,000).

Learning doesn’t need to be expensive.

Special shout-out; I’m extremely grateful to my bookworm husband that persisted in encouraging me to read. If you’re reading this, THANK YOU Fish-pie.

Please don’t be a book-allergic idiot like I was for the first 4 years in my business.

Start reading these books NOW so you can start changing the future of your business and life.

Reading is boring, but success sure isn’t!

Struggling to get home bakery clients & sales? Books are THE easiest, cheapest way to grow your baking business! I know reading seems boring - I mean, hate reading - but being successful sure isn't boring! Click through to learn about the books that transformed my home bakery into a fully booked success! #baking #homebakery #bakingbusiness #cakebusiness

 

And now I want to hear from YOU! Are there any books YOU’VE read that have made a significant impact on your baking or baking business?

Chat soon

Aurelia

 

 

5. Building a Story Brand – Donald Miller

For the first 5 years in my Home Bakery Business I always positioned my Home Bakery to “impress people”. I thought that’s what you need to do to get people’s attention. You need to IMPRESS them.

Maybe that’s how you feel right now in your business?

But people don’t buy because they’re impressed.

They buy when they clearly (and quickly) see that you UNDERSTAND their problems and can help them to solve their problems.

Here’s the most shocking truth of why businesses fail: They position themselves as the hero of the story. They make the story all about them and how amazing their company is.

But meanwhile all clients are only interested in ONE story – their OWN story!

Here’s a practical example:

We all tend to think we (and our home bakery business) are Daniel LaRusso in the Karate Kid movie.

On our social media and websites we parade around with our trophy trying to show people “Look at me & my business! My home bakery it legit! Look at the delicious things I make! Look at the list of organic ingredients I use! Come over here and read my life story that’s all about me!”

I did this too.

It’s how we all start out and there’s no shame in that because it’s what we see so many other businesses do.

But if you want your Home Bakery Business to GROW, you’re going to need to start to approach your business’ story DIFFERENTLY.

Truth is, my dear friend, we are NOT the hero of the story.

YOUR CLIENT is the hero.

Your business’ story is about guiding your client to success.

You’re Mr Miyagi!! You are the GUIDE, not the hero.

A successful business is the one guiding Daniel (your client) and helping him to overcome his problems and reach success.

When your business is all about YOU, it won’t attract new clients. Plain and simple.

But when your business starts to revolve around your clients’ success, they start flocking to you automatically!

 

Believe it or not this is just ONE of the SEVEN steps that Donald Miller teaches you in his best-selling book – Building a StoryBrand.

When I started positioning my Home Bakery Business as the GUIDE and the client as the hero, things in my biz totally transformed!

Building a StoryBrand is THE BEST book on Marketing I’ve ever read. Period.

The strategies in this book are a bit more advanced though. This book will only be beneficial to you once you’ve already got a website and have worked through the book The $100 Startup already.

Building a StoryBrand has changed my life!

You can also check out their podcast which is free and incredible >> Building a StoryBrand Podcast. But start at EPISODE 1! Don’t skip ahead and miss all the gold!

books for home bakery business owners - building a story brand by Donald Miller

 6. Deep Work – Cal Newport

Technology brings a lot of WONDERFUL advantages to our lives. If it weren’t for technology, my blog wouldn’t exist right now!

You’d have needed to WAIT for your hair to dry naturally this morning. And before that you would’ve needed to boil water over a fire for your bath!

Technology is awesome and it’s powerful.

But with great power comes great responsibility, right?

In Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, he fills us in on the greatest disadvantage of technology.

Fact is, technology has TRAINED us to be distracted.

So often I’ll grab my phone because I wanted to do something specific – like making a note of an idea.

Then suddenly, 10 minutes later, I realize I’ve been on Instagram (again) and completely forgot the reason I picked up my phone in the first place!

Come on, you know it’s happened to you too. Just admit it! No shame here.

The problem is that in such a distracted world of constantly checking emails, text messages, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, et freakin cetera… we spend so little time digging into the REAL creativity – the GOLD – within ourselves.

The kind of creativity, productivity, clarity of mind and deep work that requires more than 15 minutes of focus to access.

To get to your TRUE GENIUS, you need to focus on one thing for a few hours – not minutes.

>> Deep Work has helped me to access my BEST ideas.

>> It helps me to GET MORE DONE in LESS TIME every single day.

>> It’s helped me to organize my life to be less distracted and more present.

This book helps me DEFINE what exactly I want and how to get there faster, with more calm and less anxiety.

If you want to uncover your deepest creative genius,
and have a calmer life with less noise & more clarity,
and be more efficient & productive…

This is the book you need to get there.

books for home bakery business owners - deep work by Cal Newport

 

7. The E-Myth Revisited

This book is NOT for beginners.

When we start our Home Bakery Business, the one thing we keep wishing & praying for is MORE clients.

But as your Home Bakery grows so do the responsibilities and sense of overwhelm & obligation.

Over time you start longing for the days when things were smaller and simpler.

You’ll long for the days you could just bake 1 thing at a time – soaking in the beauty of baking.

Now you need to crank out 20 times that per day. You need to employ staff, but you’re SO scared they won’t care about your business the same way YOU do.

So you just soldier on and do everything yourself.

If you’ve been getting to that point where your Home Bakery is constantly fully booked, you’re baking 24/7 and feel like you’re juggling 100 balls at once – this book is SO for YOU!

The “E-Myth” stands for the “Entrepreneur-Myth”. Weird name, I know. But don’t let that put you off.

This single book has the power to save your life and your business – before it swallows you whole (which inevitably happens in EVERY small business).

In this book Michael Gerber tells us the story of his coaching journey with Sarah and her Pie Baking Business. (And let’s pause for a moment and acknowledge how beyond cool is it that his case study is a home baker, right?!)

You get to be a fly on the wall witnessing all their conversations.

The book starts where Sarah’s working 20 hours a day (yes, 20 hours isn’t a typo), 6 days a week. (And I know this is true because I’ve been there too.)

And it ends with she’s able to take a WEEK OFF while her business runs smooth as butter without her needing to be there. Isn’t that incredible?!

The E-myth Revisited asks you the questions you don’t want to hear.

It challenges you like no other book challenges a small business owner.

It will force you to acknowledge that businesses, like people, are destined to grow!

And you’ll learn exactly how to facilitate that growth of your business – without sacrificing quality, your marriage or health for it.

This book will help you to navigate and calm the storm of a growing business.

It will SIMPLIFY the growth process for you and help you to get more profit AND more balance back into your life.

TOTAL must read for advanced Home Bakery Owners!

books for home bakery business owners - the e-myth revisited by Michael Gerber

 

8. Find Your Why – Simon Sinek

Okay fine, I lied… There are 8 books. I just knew that “8 books” in the post title would look WAY more scary than 7!

But there’s another book I just CANNOT leave out.

And it’s Find Your Why.

“People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.

Start With Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does.” – Excerpt from simonsinek.com.

So essentially this book is all about understanding how your clients THINK.

Why is that important to your business?

Because, dear friend, before a client buys from you they THINK a whole bunch of things that lead them to buying from you – OR from your competition.

The success of your business hinges on what your clients think and how they make decisions.

Find Your Why will help you understand why your clients aren’t connecting with you or your business and what you can do to fix that.

books for home bakery business owners - find your why by Simon Sinek

 

Okay, now I’m REALLY done!

There are SO many more books I could recommend, but maybe it’s best that I stop myself here.

Once again, I repeat – I really DON’T like reading at all. But these books have literally changed my Home Bakery Business and my life.

They’ve also been the perfect way SAVE MONEY & GROW at the same time. For example; my cousin who’s a marketing lecturer learned more from the Building a Story Brand book (which costs $16) than in his entire university education (which cost OVER $10,000).

Learning doesn’t need to be expensive.

Special shout-out; I’m extremely grateful to my bookworm husband that persisted in encouraging me to read. If you’re reading this, THANK YOU Fish-pie.

Please don’t be a book-allergic idiot like I was for the first 4 years in my business.

Start reading these books NOW so you can start changing the future of your business and life.

Reading is boring, but success sure isn’t!

Struggling to get home bakery clients & sales? Books are THE easiest, cheapest way to grow your baking business! I know reading seems boring - I mean, hate reading - but being successful sure isn't boring! Click through to learn about the books that transformed my home bakery into a fully booked success! #baking #homebakery #bakingbusiness #cakebusiness

 

And now I want to hear from YOU! Are there any books YOU’VE read that have made a significant impact on your baking or baking business?

Chat soon

Aurelia

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

Grainy Ganache (Broken/Oily/Split) – SAVE it & PREVENT it!

Grainy Ganache (Broken/Oily/Split) – SAVE it & PREVENT it!

Split/Oily/Grainy Ganache – Fix it & Prevent It

Split/Oily/Grainy Ganache can ruin the brightest day.

You’re combining relatively expensive ingredients and hoping for super shiny, luscious awesomeness and then wamp wamp wamp…

It all splits into a greasy, grainy MESS! It totally sucks.

Do you make MORE ganache? But what if it splits again? And the thought of dumping these expensive ingredients in the bin just about burns your soul…

But fear not my friend! You DON’T need to throw out that split, grainy, greasy ganache because – you CAN SAVE it!! And in today’s blog post I’m going to show you how 🙂

On top of that I’m also going to show you all my tips and tricks for PREVENTING chocolate ganache from splitting in the first place.

Let’s do this!

What is Chocolate Ganache?

Chocolate ganache is a smooth and shiny mixture of chocolate and cream used in cakes, desserts and pastries. Only 2 Ingredients, but a whole lot of things can cause it to split or break.

Photo: josephcphillips.com

I generally use 65% Dark Chocolate. If I’m making truffles, then a 2:1 ratio of chocolate:cream is best. For covering cakes, or as a filling between cake layers, I use a 1:1 ratio.

White chocolate and Milk Chocolate are naturally softer, so a 3:1 ratio of chocolate:cream for covering cakes. For truffles use a 4:1 ratio.

Whatever your ratio of chocolate to cream is, don’t fuss too much about it. That’s most probably not where you are going wrong.

I’ve found that it’s usually in the method and technique where things go wrong. That’s what splits ganache.

For this post in particular I am going to focus on how to achieve the smoothest, shiniest result which is ideal for covering cakes with or spreading on top of cupcakes.

And most importantly, I’ll share a few tips that are GUARANTEED to save your Broken/Oily/Grainy Ganache!

What Causes Broken/Oily/Split/Grainy Ganache?

Ganache is essentially an emulsion. Remember that word from 7th grade science? It’s when 2 ingredients are mixed together that don’t actually want to be mixed together – oil and water.

Generally, if the temperature of your ganache goes too high, it will cause the fat in the chocolate to separate. This results in a oily/split/grainy ganache. The severity of the graininess will depend on how overheated your cream was.

Now before we get into fixing a broken ganache, there are a few things you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Basic Tips for Preventing Oily/Split/Grainy Ganache:

  1. Do not let the cream boil – only bring it to a simmer. If the cream is too hot it will overheat the fat in the chocolate, causing it to separate.
  2. Don’t let the chocolate overheat. If you make ganache in a microwave, this is KEY. Just 10 seconds too long and boom! The fat in the chocolate separates. For this reason I prefer to heat the cream gently on my stove top. It gives me more control over the heat.
  3. Chop your chocolate very finely. It just makes it easier for the chocolate to melt into the cream.
  4. Stir all you want in the beginning to incorporate the chocolate into the cream. As soon as your chocolate has melted into the cream, the mixture is smooth and fully combined – STOP stirring. The ganache will now begin to set. Just leave it be and let it cool down to the desired consistency. It firms up as it cools down. Avoid putting it in the fridge and let it set at room temperature. The fridge won’t harm it, you will just need to stir to combine the more set ganache with the less set ganache which involves STIRRING. Not good. Plan ahead and let nature take its course.
  5. Choose your heat. Microwave OR stove-top. I once made ganache by heating the cream on the stove, but after I combined it with the chocolate, it started setting too quickly. In a panic I placed the setting ganache in the microwave for 10 seconds and it split into oblivion. Generally I avoid the microwave altogether when I work with chocolate. The rate at which it heats food is just too intense for chocolate in my opinion. A stove gives you so much more control. If I’m in a rush I’ll heat just the CREAM in the Microwave till it’s hot and steamy (but not boiling over) and then add the chocolate to it outside the microwave. The heat from the cream is usually enough to melt the chocolate.

I’ve also found some extra little tips that have made all the difference in my ganache!

Extra Tips for Preventing Oily/Grainy Ganache:

  1. Do not use a plastic bowl. Use a glass bowl. The ganache comes out so much shinier. For about 2 months I made ganache in a plastic bowl and it was dull & slightly grainy every time. I switched back to glass and never had problems again. A glass bowl yields the best results.
  2. Add a bit more sweetness. *It works wonders! This is particularly effective with Dark Chocolate ganache! I usually replace about 15-20% of the dark chocolate with milk chocolate which contains more sugar. If, however, I want the ganache very dark, I simply dissolve sugar into the cream (1 tsp sugar per 100 ml cream) while it’s heating up. I even like dissolving some Milo/Ovaltine powder to the cream which gives the ganache a little malty flavour! Super shiny, super yummy. It works – really!
  3. Do not use a balloon whisk (or wooden spoon for that matter) to stir the ganache. Use a stainless steel spoon instead. I’ve found that a whisk provides too much friction and irritation for the chocolate ganache. It may be a very subjective opinion, but I do find the ganache to be a tad grainy when it sets. A metal spoon is gentler and as a bonus, it incorporates far less air.
  4. Add a tiny bit of sea salt to the cream before heating. This doesn’t make a difference in the texture of the ganache! It just brings out the chocolate’s flavour 🙂

Don't throw out your split chocolate ganache! You can save it and make is 100% smooth & shiny! :D Click through for all the tips you need to fix and prevent split/oily/grainy chocolate ganache. #chocolateganache #splitganache #bakingtips #bakingtipsandtricks

How to Fix Split/Oily/Grainy Chocolate Ganache:

So for some reason that no one knows a ganache can often still break or be slightly grainy even though we really did EVERYTHING right. Good news is that there are a myriad of options available to you! I will list them from most effective to least effective.

  1. The milk fix. Works great on warm ganache that has just split. Place your ganache in a saucepan on the lowest setting and whisk it as bit. In a separate pan (or bowl in the microwave), heat up about ¼ cup skim or low fat milk to simmering point. Dribble little bits of the warm milk into the ganache while constantly whisking with a balloon whisk. This hack is the least strenuous and works extremely well! This hack is perfect for fixing ganache that will be used as a glaze/covering over your cake.
  2. Melt & Stir. I LOVE this hack. It’s perfect for grainy ganache that has cooled down. I especially use it on frozen and thawed ganache (which obviously splits) ALL the time. Place the grainy ganache in a saucepan. Place the saucepan directly on the stove over the lowest heat possible. As it begins to melt, stir it with a balloon whisk. Keep stirring and gently whisking. By the time all the ganache has melted, it will have come together again completely. So amazing!
  3. Add more chocolate. If you just made the ganache and it is still warm, adding some more chopped chocolate can bring it back together quite quickly. I don’t always like this method because it makes the ganache a lot stiffer. If you will be using the ganache underneath fondant or for truffles, a stiffer ganache won’t be a problem.
  4. Add more cream. Heat about 2 Tbsp of cream till it begins to steam slightly. Turn off the heat and whisk your broken ganache into the cream little by little till everything is once again incorporated, smooth and glossy.
  5. Blending or whisking. Many people recommend this technique across the web. By whisking the mixture together at a high speed you will force the fat and water to combine. I have tried this technique many times, but it has not worked for me. The ganache often does smoothen out initially, but as it sets again, you end up with an at least slightly grainy ganache.

If you want to read more posts on chocolate ganache, here are my favourites:

Want More Chocolate Tips & Tricks?

Then you’ll LOVE these posts:

🍫 How to Make Luscious Dark Chocolate Shavings/Curls

🍫 The Easy, Foolproof Way to Temper Chocolate

🍫 How to Write on Cake with Chocolate

There you have it! If you have any other questions or struggles with grainy ganache, please comment below because I would love to help!

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – Advanced Tips

How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – Advanced Tips

How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – Advanced Tips


Perfect Cupcakes are a science! In my previous post I covered all the
basic errors that often occur when baking cupcakes.

Some of these errors include pointy cupcakes, overflowing cupcakes, shrinking cupcakes, etc. If you want to know the science behind these occurrences, click here.

I’m particularly excited for today’s post! It will be the first time I’m disclosing my top secret tips for baking EXCEPTIONALLY PERFECT cupcakes!

Error-free cupcakes are already a massive achievement, but over time I’ve discovered methods (some normal and some quite unorthodox) that have significantly improved the texture and quality of my cupcakes.

So with a cheerful and excited heart I am sharing this information with you 🙂 May there be myriads of perfect cupcakes baked across the world through these cupcake baking tips!

Please also share your thoughts below, if something is not making sense.

 

All Cupcakes are NOT Created Equal

There are obviously many posts on “How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes”. I will definitely share those tips as well. Some tips do apply to all cupcakes and are good methods to implement across the board.

I have found, however, that all cupcakes cannot be approached in the same way.

Butter based recipes respond completely differently to oil based recipes. If you want to bake perfect cupcakes, it is important to take note of this.

how to bake perfect cupcakes 1

Through nearly 4 years of full time home baking, I’ve come to understand that cupcake recipes can be divided into 3 separate categories.

  • Butter based Recipes

  • Oil Based Recipes

  • Recipes containing fresh fruit/vegetables

These 3 recipe categories respond vastly differently to the environment in an oven. They cannot all simply be baked in “the center of the oven”.

 

My Baking Equipment

Although I am a full time baker, I do not do the industrial oven thing. I bake from home in my own itty-bitty kitchen because I LOVE being at home!

Most people are shocked when they see the size of my oven and kitchen, but I am really just so happy and content baking here 🙂

I tried working in an industrial kitchen… ONCE. We went through a lot of effort to move everything into the new kitchen. Everything was all set up and ready to go.

The huge convection oven was there waiting for me in the corner of the large kitchen… The idea of baking 6 pans of brownies all in one go was overwhelmingly exciting!

3 hours later I was in tears. My cupcakes were pointy. My brownies had no shiny crust. I had come to hate that convection oven in just 20 minutes! Singlehandedly, I loaded the car (I’m very little and weak), drove back home and started all over again with my orders for the next day.

I don’t have a fancy mixer. I have an old Kenwood standing mixer I got from my dear mother-in-law. The model is from the 80’s I think, but it works brilliantly!

  • My oven is just a standard electric Defy Oven with a 4-plate stove on top (you will see a picture of it later).
  • The previous flat we lived in had a standard built in electric oven.
  • At one point we were living with my cousins, their oven was also just a standard electric oven.
  • As a student I baked at my boyfriend’s house in their standard built in electric oven.

These methods for perfect cupcakes worked in all 4 of these ovens!

Gas ovens are a bit tricky though. You will find that you might not be able to apply some of these methods. Take what you can use and comment below if there’s a particular struggle you experience with cupcake baking.

RELATED: 14 Tools You Need to Start a Home Bakery

 

Methods that Apply to All

I’ve read through most articles online that cover the topic at hand. There are quite a few tips that appear on all of them.

Here’s a summary for Cupcake Baking Tips that do apply to all recipes (I’ve included my own as well). These tips do make a difference in the quality of your cupcakes.

1. Bring ingredients to Room Temperature:

This is a very important tip. Ingredients just combine better if they are all the same temperature.

Butter can take quite long to come to room temperature – especially in winter! I usually end up putting the butter in the microwave on the “defrost” setting for 15 seconds at a time if it is still not soft enough to cream.

Eggs should never be stored in the fridge in my opinion. Keep them away from direct sunlight, in a cool area. Buy smaller amounts of eggs at a time at more regular intervals. This ensures that your eggs will always be fresh and not need to be stored in the fridge.

If you do insist on keeping your eggs in the fridge, take them out the night before you plan to bake. This gives them ample time to come to room temperature.

Shortcut: put your eggs in a bowl of warm water for half an hour to bring them up to room temperature faster!

 

2. Use top quality ingredients:

What you put in, you will get out. Use free range eggs, real butter and good quality vanilla extract.

Image by nutritionsecrets.com

 

3. Don’t over-mix:

Some recipes require you to beat the batter for 2 minutes, others only until the ingredients are just combined. Just be sure to follow the instructions given in your recipe. Over-mixing directly damages the rise and texture of your cupcakes.

 

4. Oven Temperature:

Preheat your oven till the exact temperature before putting the cupcakes in the oven. Gas ovens tend to slip up on accuracy – hang an extra thermometer in your oven to be sure.

 

5. Consistent accuracy in filling cupcakes:

If you want to bake perfect cupcakes, you can’t just eye-ball when distributing the batter. Some insist that using an ice cream scoop full of batter in each liner will give you perfect cupcakes. This still leaves some room for error in my opinion.

It might be overkill, but weigh the batter you put in each case till your eyes can tell the difference. If it’s a more liquid batter, you can use a measuring cup as well.

Do yourself a favour and invest in a digital scale! They are affordable and so convenient! I have a small A5 size scale.

You can place your entire cupcake pan on top of the scale, “zero” it, and weigh each amount of batter that goes directly into each liner.

Images by bhg.com and rachelteodoro.com Images by bhg.com and rachelteodoro.com[/caption]

Here’s what I do:

  • I make sure to remember the weight of my mixing bowl (or write it down).
  • Then I weigh the mixing bowl with the batter.
  • Subtract the weight of the bowl plus an extra 5 g for the batter that sticks to the bowl and spoons.
  • Divide that amount by the amount of cupcakes your recipe makes.
  • Place the lined cupcake tin on the scale and weigh the batter out cup for cup.
  • Bit of a mission, but it gives me perfect cupcakes, so it’s actually a small sacrifice!

 

6. Proper greasing:

Even though I use cupcake liners, I also grease the top rim of each cupcake hole in the tin. This makes it easier to loosen the edges of the cupcake that did come into contact with the pan.

 

7. Don’t over-bake:

Don’t go shower and wash your hair while you are baking cupcakes! Give a peek through the glass every now and then to check on them. Once you can see there is no more shiny batter in the centre of each cupcake, wait for another minute and then test them.

You do want the testing pin to be clean, but do be careful not to leave the cupcakes in there for too long.

 

8. Turn or Burn?:

I do turn my cupcakes halfway through baking. Always. The odds of them deflating through doing this are really small. Obviously you shouldn’t do this with a soufflé! With cupcakes I think it is essential for an even bake.

All domestic ovens I have baked in tend to be hotter in the back left corner for some reason, so I insist on turning the cupcakes.

Rotate your cupcake pan with care. If you handle the pans gently, they will be just fine. Don’t bang it down on the counter; treat the pan like a sleeping infant.

 

9. Accurate measuring and weighing:

Weigh anything that is not liquid! This is my motto. I weigh my baking powder and baking soda while sifting the dry ingredients together.

Seriously 1 little gram does make a difference! Think about how dangerous measuring is. Some folks scoop out a compacted teaspoon of baking powder, while others pour it out of a refill pack. There is just too much room for error.

Write down on each recipe the exact weight of baking powder you use so that you will know for the next time you make that recipe and get consistent results. Also stick to one brand! All of them differ, even if it is just slightly.

I always WEIGH the amount of egg I use. Crack it in a cup, whisk it lightly with a fork and then weigh the exact amount of grams you put in.

If the cupcakes come out perfect, make a note on your recipe of the weight of egg you used, so that you’ll know how much to use when you make the recipe again.

If you feel the cake needed a bit more egg, make a note of that too. Weighing the amount of egg I use has made all the difference in my baking.

 

10. Fill, but don’t spill:

This may seem obvious, but I’m mentioning it anyway. Be patient when filling your cupcake liners with batter.

Rather scoop smaller amounts at a time (right into the center of each liner) to avoid spilling. Batter can easily end up between the liner and the tin. This will result in messy edges on your cupcakes! It can even let your cupcakes rise lopsided.

dont spill perfect cupcakes

Advanced Tips for Baking Perfect Cupcakes:

As mentioned before, I have come to see that cupcake recipes can be divided into 3 separate categories.

1. Butter based Recipes

2. Oil based Recipes

3. Recipes containing fresh fruit/vegetables

These 3 recipe categories respond vastly differently to the environment in an oven. I will discuss each category separately.

Most importantly: I do not agree that all cupcakes should be baked in the center of your oven. In fact, I do not think ANY cupcakes besides Vanilla Cupcakes should be baked in the center of your oven.

Step one is to divide your oven cavity into 3 equal parts using 2 oven racks, like this.

oven for perfect cupcakes

Let’s number the upper oven rack as Oven Rack A and the lower one as Oven Rack B. This is the basis of everything I do. You will understand why a bit later. This arrangement is THE FRAME WITHIN WHICH ALL MY METHODS ARE APPLIED.

1. Butter Based Recipes:

I do prefer the creaming method, but I find that standing mixers incorporate a bit too much air. Light cupcakes are fantastic, but if they are too light, they are very difficult to handle and little edges often end up breaking off.

For this reason I prefer to use a hand-held electric whisk. When baking large cakes, a standing mixer is perfect for mixing a butter based batter.

Mixing Batter & Filling Cases:

Add dry ingredients to bowl as instructed. Beat on low speed for 10 seconds to get most of the ingredients combined. Stop the hand mixer.

Take care to scrape around the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all the butter gets incorporated into the batter. Resume beating on medium speed for a further max 10-12 seconds.

Remember, little lumps are not evil! They will disappear during baking. Your batter does not have to be smooth!

Obviously there shouldn’t be large lumps of flour. Squash a few of the lumps out with a spoon to check if they are solid dry flour or a harmless bit of batter that just appears lumpy.

After dividing the batter into the lined tin (aluminum preferably!), it is important to smooth out the batter before baking.

Smooth out the surface of the batter in each hole with a teaspoon. Push the batter up slightly against the edges of the wrapper. I find this helps the cupcakes get an even start in their rising process once in the oven.

perfect cupcakes smooth

Baking:

  • Butter based Cupcakes bake best on Oven Rack A (or in the center of your oven) at 180˚C.
  • The cupcakes deeper in the oven will rise faster than those in front. About 8 minutes in, you will need to rotate the cupcakes 180 degrees. Do not take the cupcakes out of the oven to do this. Gently rotate the pan in the oven.
  • Once you can see there is no more shiny batter in the center of each cupcake, wait for another minute and then test them. You do want the testing pin to be clean. Butter based cupcakes tend to sink if they are under-baked.
  • When they are done baking, there might be slight variations in size. To fix this is super easy, but it has to be done immediately when the cupcakes exit the oven. You only have a 1 minute window to do this before the cupcakes start firming up. Wipe a butter knife on some butter so it has a very light coating of butter to prevent the cupcake from sticking to the knife. Gently push in edges of the cupcakes that are not perfect according to your liking. Tada! Perfect Cupcakes!

perfect cupcakes post bake

  • Allow them to cool for about 7 minutes in the tin before transferring them to a rack to cool further.

2. Oil based recipes:

This is where it gets weird. When I started baking more seriously in 2012, I still baked 2 trays of cupcakes at the same time. This saves time and electricity of course!

When it came to the Red Velvet Cupcakes, the cupcakes from Oven Rack A turned out vastly different from Oven Rack B.

The cupcakes from Rack B were so beautifully smooth on top and had a very slight dome – perfect cupcakes! The cupcakes on rack A were a bit cracked, did not rise as well as the cupcakes on rack B, and were a little too pointy.

I realized that this phenomenon couldn’t have anything to do with the batter as the same batter was used for both cupcake trays. The secret HAD to be in the baking.

Baking:

Over time I developed this technique:

Even though your recipe may say “Bake in the center of your oven at 180˚C”, don’t do it. Try this baking method for your oil-based recipes like Red Velvet and Chocolate.

  • Preheat your oven to 170˚C.
  • Place a clean and empty roasting tray on rack A.
  • Place your cupcakes on rack B.
  • Pour about 1/2 cup water (boiling or not, doesn’t matter) in the bottom of the oven. Truthfully, I cannot even remember how I ended up doing this in the first place, but it really helps the cupcakes rise so much better and keeps them super moist! (DON’T TRY THIS with BUTTER BASED RECIPES. The cupcakes end up overflowing and come out too soft and fragile.)
  • Turn halfway through baking.
  • They are usually done baking when there is no shininess left in the center of the cupcakes – which you can see through the glass door.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tins for about 7 mins, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Once again, if there is an edge that didn’t come out perfectly round, don’t panic! You can push it in slightly, while the cupcakes are still hot and slightly malleable, with a butter-wiped-knife. Tada! Perfect Cupcakes!
  • Another handy tip (applies to Fresh Fruit/Vegetable Recipes as well): Just before you pop your cupcakes in the oven, drag the batter right up the sides of the liner all the way around. This not only gives your liner an even appearance on the outside, but also helps your cupcakes to rise evenly. Don’t do this too early or the batter on the sides will dry out and actually cause your cupcakes to rise poorly.

up sides perfect cupcakes

3. Recipes containing fresh fruit/vegetables:

This includes recipes like Carrot Cake, Zucchini Chocolate Cake and German Apple Cake. You probably know that these recipes end up releasing a lot more moisture during baking. The fresh fruit/vegetables release liquid as they bake.

Mixing Batter & Filling Cases:

The biggest tip for making perfect cupcakes from these batters is in the dividing of the batter between your cupcake cases – for 2 reasons:

1.       These recipes contain lots of bits. Carrot Cake, for example, can contain grated carrot, raisins, nuts and crushed pineapple! If you fill your cupcakes fully from cupcake 1 down to cupcake 12, the last cupcake often ends up with 1 nut, 1 raisin and a whole lot of batter. The rise is also drastically affected. The last cupcake will rise beautifully, or even too much, while poor cupcake number 1 is an under risen lump of carrot and raisins.

2.       Sugar and salt draw out liquid from fresh fruit & vegetables. The longer your batter stands, the more liquid it will become. If you fill your cupcakes fully from cupcake 1 down to cupcake 12, the last cupcake will get batter with a higher liquid content compared to cupcake 1.

To solve these problems, fill all your cupcakes halfway first, from cupcake 1 to cupcake 12. Make sure each one gets a helping of all the bits in the batter.

At this point it is important to give your batter a fold or two, just to distribute the additional fruit/vegetable liquid that has been released.

Then distribute the batter again, going from cupcake 12 to cupcake 1. This method gives me the most consistently perfect cupcakes.

Another handy tip: Just before you pop your cupcakes in the oven, drag the batter right up the sides of the liner all the way around. This not only gives your liner an even appearance on the outside, but also helps your cupcakes to rise evenly.

Don’t do this too early or the batter on the sides will dry out and actually cause your cupcakes to rise poorly. *See image above for this tip.

Baking:

  • I find Oven Rack A at 180˚C to be best for baking these recipes. No rocket science in the baking here.
  • Turn halfway through baking.
  • They are usually done baking when they have an even colour on top. If the center of the cupcake is lighter in colour, they are probably not done yet.
  • When done, remove from the oven and leave to cool in tins for about 7 mins, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Once again, if there is an edge that didn’t come out perfectly round, don’t panic! You can push it in slightly, while the cupcakes are still hot and slightly malleable, with a butter-wiped-knife.

cupcakes | perfect cupcakes | bake cupcakes tips | baking tips and tricks |

A shout out to all these lovely posts on how to bake perfect cupcakes! These were the most helpful and accurate ones 🙂

“Cupcakes 101: 10 Tips to bake the perfect cupcake” (This is my favourite one),  “5 Steps to Perfect Cupcakes”, “10 Tips for making Perfect Cupcakes”, “How to Make Perfect Cupcakes”, “Top tips for Baking Better Cupcakes”, “10 Tips for Baking a Perfect Cupcake”

Gosh, this post was quite intense!! I need a drink… dark hot chocolate… Made with cream… With a cinnamon doughnut on the side… yes please!

I really hope you find this helpful. These tips have transformed the quality of my cupcakes forever. I trust they’ll do the same for you!

 

Want Perfect Cupcake Recipes?

Today’s your lucky day because I’m giving you my Home Bakery’s 3 most popular, perfected Cupcake Recipes for FREE! I’ve spent 7 years perfecting these recipes and have baked and sold literally THOUSANDS of these cupcakes.

  1. Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes Recipejoin the free Resource Library for Home Bakers to get the recipe.
  2. Ultimate Carrot Cupcakes Recipeclick here get the recipe on my blog.
  3. Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes Recipeclick here get the recipe on my blog.


Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

POPULAR BAKING TIPS

Don't throw out your split chocolate ganache! You can save it and make is 100% smooth & shiny! :D Click through for all the tips you need to fix and prevent split/oily/grainy chocolate ganache. #chocolateganache #splitganache #bakingtips #bakingtipsandtricks
Want to get that thin, super shiny crust on top of your brownies? Great news is, you don't need to drop your favourite brownie recipe in search of a shiny-top brownie recipe! You can use this simple baking tip to get a shiny crust on ANY brownie recipe that contains dairy and sugar! Click through to get the step by step method for baking brownies with a shiny crust on top... #baking #bakingtips #brownies #homebaking #bakingtipsandtricks

POPULAR POSTS

How much income is your home bakery missing out on every month because you keep undercharging for your baking? It shouldn't be this way! You deserve to be paid well for your hard work! In this post you'll learn how to stop feeling guilty for charging customers full price. Then you'll get step-by-step tips for raising your prices so you can start earning more income from your home baking :) #homebakery #homebakerypricing #cakebusiness #homebakingbusiness
Struggling to find time for yourself and your family in your home bakery business? These AMAZING time management tips from a 6+ years full-time home baker are exactly what you need! Learn how to use what you've got to get your baking done faster. Learn how to prioritize and plan effectively so you are in charge of your schedule, make a great profit, and don't burn out in the process! #homebaking #homebakery #athomebakery #cakebusiness #cupcakebusiness
How do you price home baking? What if you charge too little for your home baking and don't make enough income? What if your home baking's prices are too high and no customers want to buy from you? In this post you'll learn how to do your baked goods pricing the RIGHT way, so you can make more profit and even turn home baking into your career! #homebakery #bakerypricing #bakingbusiness #cakebusiness

Do you dream of starting a home bakery, but then thoughts of self-doubt like these start flooding your mind… “People aren’t going to think my baking is worth it. All the other bakers are better than me. I’m not good enough.” Truth is pretty much ALL home bakers get these thoughts! You’re not alone! In this post you’ll learn how to beat self doubt so you can be free to pursue your baking business goals. Click through to get the tips now… #homebaking #selfdoubt #homebakery #bakingbusiness #baking

POPULAR BAKING TIPS

Don't throw out your split chocolate ganache! You can save it and make is 100% smooth & shiny! :D Click through for all the tips you need to fix and prevent split/oily/grainy chocolate ganache. #chocolateganache #splitganache #bakingtips #bakingtipsandtricks
Want to get that thin, super shiny crust on top of your brownies? Great news is, you don't need to drop your favourite brownie recipe in search of a shiny-top brownie recipe! You can use this simple baking tip to get a shiny crust on ANY brownie recipe that contains dairy and sugar! Click through to get the step by step method for baking brownies with a shiny crust on top... #baking #bakingtips #brownies #homebaking #bakingtipsandtricks

POPULAR POSTS

How much income is your home bakery missing out on every month because you keep undercharging for your baking? It shouldn't be this way! You deserve to be paid well for your hard work! In this post you'll learn how to stop feeling guilty for charging customers full price. Then you'll get step-by-step tips for raising your prices so you can start earning more income from your home baking :) #homebakery #homebakerypricing #cakebusiness #homebakingbusiness
Struggling to find time for yourself and your family in your home bakery business? These AMAZING time management tips from a 6+ years full-time home baker are exactly what you need! Learn how to use what you've got to get your baking done faster. Learn how to prioritize and plan effectively so you are in charge of your schedule, make a great profit, and don't burn out in the process! #homebaking #homebakery #athomebakery #cakebusiness #cupcakebusiness
How do you price home baking? What if you charge too little for your home baking and don't make enough income? What if your home baking's prices are too high and no customers want to buy from you? In this post you'll learn how to do your baked goods pricing the RIGHT way, so you can make more profit and even turn home baking into your career! #homebakery #bakerypricing #bakingbusiness #cakebusiness

Do you dream of starting a home bakery, but then thoughts of self-doubt like these start flooding your mind… “People aren’t going to think my baking is worth it. All the other bakers are better than me. I’m not good enough.” Truth is pretty much ALL home bakers get these thoughts! You’re not alone! In this post you’ll learn how to beat self doubt so you can be free to pursue your baking business goals. Click through to get the tips now… #homebaking #selfdoubt #homebakery #bakingbusiness #baking

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – Full Cupcake Troubleshooting

How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – Full Cupcake Troubleshooting

How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – Full Cupcake Troubleshooting

Cupcake Troubleshooting is a science – but it’s TOTALLY worth it to get stuck into the nitty-gritty details of baking perfect cupcakes!

Nothing is really quite as perfect as a perfect cupcake. Perfect cookies are cool… But there’s something about achieving perfection in something as delicate as a cupcake!

They tend to expose every shortcoming you may have in your baking skills… Which is why we end up covering them in too much frosting so that you cannot see the bad bake underneath.

Every home baker knows that chocolate, frosting, fresh berries and sprinkles cover a multitude of sins!

My journey with baking perfect cupcakes has been nearly as intense as perfecting the shiny brownie crust.

There are quite a few helpful articles on the internet, but it really came down to baking cupcakes 1000 times over to figure everything out.

Once again, supplying cupcakes to restaurants and coffee shops has given me ample opportunity to experiment! So grateful!

Here is a FULL cupcake troubleshooting guide that will help you to better understand your cupcake dramas.

 

Cupcake Troubleshooting (Common Cupcake Errors):

Discover the 15 mistakes that are ruining your cupcakes plus solutions to easily fix all of these problems. Learn how to Bake PERFECT cupcakes EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. #perfectcupcakes #cupcakes #cupcaketips #bakingtips

I have to start with a cupcake troubleshooting list before I share my extra methods. Oh gosh, the list is long and we all know how horribly disappointing these results are! 

I’ll add some of my own thoughts on each point and provide my favourite links that discuss these topics in more detail.

In my NEXT POST I share my more Advanced, Secret Tips I use to make my cupcakes exceptional, not just error-free!

 

Cupcake Troubleshooting Problem A: 

Cupcakes rise with a pointy top:

Image by The Cooks Academy Blog

1. Your Oven is too Hot

NEVER EVER bake your cupcakes on the thermofan or convection oven setting! EVER! The fan pushes hot air around in the oven, but makes the environment too intense for the batter to handle.

The outer edges of the cupcakes bake too fast, crisp up and stop rising very quickly while the center still keeps rising and ends up pushing through the top of your cupcakes – pointy!

The worst pointy cupcake episode I ever had was when I baked my cupcakes in a convection oven. I cried.

Another reason is over-beating your batter. Make sure you follow the instructions of your recipe. Make sure you added in all the ingredients as directed so that you don’t need to mix in an ingredient after the wet and dry ingredients have been combined.

Certain cake recipes do require extensive beating once all the ingredients have been combined. Just be sure to stick to the required beating time of your particular recipe.

Best link – “How to Get your Cupcakes Flat on Top” by HubPages.

 

Cupcake Troubleshooting Problem B: 

Cupcakes shrink/sink after baking:

Image by restingdough.com

Ah man this is a frustrating one!

Your cupcakes look perfect when they come out the oven (they seem slightly smaller, but that’s normal right?). Then, within the next 3 minutes, they shrink into puny little things and the texture is also way too dense. Why does this happen?!

It’s happened to me 7 times, for 6 different reasons:

2. The cupcakes were under baked:

Perfect cupcakes are obviously not over-baked, but it really is important for them to be baked properly. I’ve found that it’s quite ideal if one or 2 moist crumbs stick to the bottom of the skewer after testing. Then you have a perfect bake.

There should never be any traces of batter glued to the skewer. Also be sure to insert the skewer all the way to the bottom of the cupcakes, not just to the centre.

If the batter has not cooked and formed a proper structure, it will sag down (and in) once out of the oven.

3. Over-beating the batter:

Over-beating your batter overworks the gluten, making it tough and less likely to rise. Another analogy is that you are beating in too much air which will then escape once your cupcakes are out of the oven, causing them to shrink.

4. Self-raising flour fail / Old baking powder:

It is a handy ingredient yes, but not always so trustworthy in my experience. In summer I make the most amazing Passion Fruit & Raspberry cupcakes. They had come out perfectly every time before this one particular day.

I always bought the best Self-rising flour our country has to offer. This one day they shrunk into oblivion!

I made them again – same result. Then I made them yet again, but this time using flour and baking powder – perfect cupcakes!

Since that fateful day I’ve swapped self-rising flour for all-purpose flour and baking powder. Just use 2t baking powder per 160g (1 cup) Flour. Perfect!

5. Poor quality sugar:

I did not see this one coming. Sugar is sugar, right?

Turns out it’s not.

Our grocery store had this tower of sugar with bright red “sale” signs all over – of course I was going to buy it! It was a brand I had never seen or heard of before, but come on! It’s on SALE! I bought a few… Little did she know…

The poor cupcakes shrunk to about half their original size in just 2 minutes after exiting the oven. I made them again with a trusted brand of sugar – perfect cupcakes! We ended up using the poor quality sugar in our tea and coffee.

Perfect Cupcakes are a science! It really came down to baking cupcakes 1000 times over to figure everything out. Click through to learn how to bake PERFECT cupcakes every single time. #perfectcupcakes #cupcakes #cupcaketips #bakingtips

6. Too much sugar:

It was purely just a lack of focus that revealed this error. My mind was occupied with a lot of stuff…

Towards the end of mixing my batter I could not remember if I had added the sugar… It’s important to note that this recipe contained 3 different types of sugar. White, demerara and golden syrup, so I couldn’t just taste it and figure it out.

I wasn’t sure if I had added the white sugar. What to do?

So the cake would be a tad too sweet if I might be adding extra, big deal.

Shrinking cupcakes are a big deal though. And shrink they did. Be sure to focus, follow your recipe and don’t add extra sugar!

7. Too much egg:

Eggs vary in sizes. I generally get quite upset when a recipe doesn’t specify what size egg you should use.

Too much egg WILL shrink your cupcakes.

Once I added about 1,5 times the amount of egg the batter specified because I didn’t want to waste half an egg. In the end I wasted a batch of cupcakes instead!

I always WEIGH the amount of egg I use.

Crack it in a cup, whisk it lightly with a fork and then weigh the exact amount of grams you put in. If the cupcakes come out perfect, make a note on your recipe of the weight of egg you used, so that you’ll know how much to use when you make the recipe again.

If you feel the cake needed a bit more egg, make a note of that too. Weighing the amount of egg I use has made all the difference in my baking.

If this bit of effort gives me perfect cupcakes, I’m more than happy to do it.

Are you willing to sacrifice one minute of extra effort for perfect cupcakes? If you think about it that way, it’s totally worth it 🙂

8. Important notes on liquidy batters:

If your batter has a high liquid content, shrinking will occur after baking. The liquid produces a lot of steam. This steam puffs up the cupcake, but will evaporate after baking and your cupcakes will shrink.

Most amazing chocolate cupcake recipes call for boiling water, which is totally fine. I always just add about 1/5 less water than the recipe states – just in case!

Best link – “5 Ways to Keep your Cakes from Sinking” by Always Order Dessert.

 

Cupcake Troubleshooting Problem C: 

Cupcakes Overflow:

First you get excited because you can see your cupcakes are rising so well in the oven. How delightful! “These are going to be my most perfect cupcakes ever!” you think out loud.

Then they continue to rise… upwards and then outwards! Wait, Stop! Nooo!

So, what causes this?

9. Too much Leavening Agent:

More often than not, the reason is too much baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. Especially with bicarbonate of soda. “Soda spreads, powder puffs” Kitchen Conundrums always says.

I always weigh my baking powder and baking soda while sifting the dry ingredients together. Seriously 1 little gram does make a difference!

Think about how dangerous measuring is. Some folks scoop out a compacted teaspoon of baking powder, while others pour it out of a refill pack. There is just too much room for error.

Write down on each recipe the exact weight of baking powder you use so that you will know for the next time you make that recipe and get consistent results. Also stick to one brand! All of them differ, even if it is just slightly.

10. Overfilling your cupcakes:

If you see there is a bit too much batter, rather bake half a cupcake extra. Rather have one little manky one (which serves as your sneaky treat anyway) and 11 perfect cupcakes as opposed to 11 overflown cupcakes.

11. Oven temperature is too low:

Preheat your oven till the exact temperature before putting the cupcakes in the oven. If the temperature is too low, the outer batter will take longer to cook, extending the cupcakes’ rising phase beyond normal.

Consider buying an additional thermometer to hang inside your oven. Oven thermostats are not always that accurate. An additional thermometer is a MUST for a gas oven.

12. Too much acidity:

I once tried out a lemon cupcake recipe which called for lemon juice in the batter. I made a batch with lemon juice and one without. The batch with lemon juice completely overflowed.

Acidity can also act as a rising agent. Think of traditional Red Velvet Cake. The vinegar, along with the bicarbonate of soda, makes the cake rise.

Best link – “Basics and Troubleshooting” by Cupcake Blog.

 

Cupcake Troubleshooting Problem D: 

Cupcakes bake out in weird little overflowing limbs:

Image by maisoncupcake.com[/caption]

1. Oven temperature is too hot:

If your oven temperature is too hot, the outer layer of batter will bake and harden too quickly. The centre of the cupcake will still be liquid batter that needs to expand and go somewhere!

It will find the weakest spot on the cupcake and force itself out in that direction.

13. Unevenly mixed batter:

Always be careful of unevenly mixed cake batter when using a stand mixer. In fact, this can also occur when using a handheld electric beater.

Gently go around the bowl with a rubber spatula to loosen any butter and sugar that might still be stuck from the creaming phase.

Be sure to do this on the bottom of the bowl as well. Gently keep folding the batter with a rubber spatula till there are no streaks of butter left.

8. Too much leavening agent:

This can cause total overflowing (as discussed above) or sporadic overflowing in selected areas around the edges.

Best link – “Basics and Troubleshooting” by Cupcake Blog.

 

Cupcake Troubleshooting Problem D: 

Cupcake peels away from the wrapper all by itself:

Image by Jessica Harris Cake Design

This tends to happen when I bake gluten free cupcakes. I assume it is because gluten free goods contain less binding agents. In that case it makes sense that there is less binding between the cupcake and its wrapper as well.

The way I solve this is to use average quality cupcake wrappers. They have a poor non-stick ability, so they stick very well to cupcakes. With regular cupcakes this can be annoying, but with gluten free cupcakes it works perfectly!

14. Under baking your cupcakes:

With regular cupcakes it is usually due to under baking your cupcakes. When the cupcakes cool, they then shrink inwards and leave the wrapper behind.

15. Fancy Cupcake Liners:

This problem also occurs with fancy cupcake wrappers. All cupcakes will shrink at least a little bit after baking. If your wrapper is a rigid one, the shape of the cupcake will change post baking, but the wrapper will remain the same.

For this reason I really prefer fluted paper cupcake wrappers which expand and contract with the cupcake.

Best link – “Cupcake wrapper mystery – SOLVED!” by Jessica Harris Cake Design.

This concludes my FULL Cupcake Troubleshooting! Thanks for reading! If you have had any other cupcake struggles which are not discussed in this post, please share them. I’ll answer them to the best of my ability or direct you to someone who can.

 

Want Perfect Cupcake Recipes?

Today’s your lucky day because I’m giving you my 3 most popular, perfected Cupcake Recipes for FREE! I’ve spent 7 years perfecting these recipes and have baked and sold literally THOUSANDS of these cupcakes.

  1. Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes Recipejoin the free Resource Library for Home Bakers to get the recipe.
  2. Ultimate Carrot Cupcakes Recipeclick here get the recipe on my blog.
  3. Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes Recipeclick here get the recipe on my blog.

How to Bake PERFECT cupcakes every single time. Perfect Cupcakes are a science! Click through to discover the 15 mistakes that are ruining your cupcakes plus solutions to easily fix all of these problems. #perfectcupcakes #cupcakes #cupcaketips #bakingtips

I hope you enjoyed my full cupcake troubleshooting! Click here to read PART 2 of How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes. In this post I share my more advanced, secret tips I use to make my cupcakes exceptional, not just error-free!

Happy baking! Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

Shiny Brownie Crust – Foolproof and Perfect!

Shiny Brownie Crust – Foolproof and Perfect!

Shiny Brownie Crust – Foolproof and Perfect!

I’ve finally cracked it! Here’s EVERYTHING you need to know to give you a shiny crust (shiny brownie skin/tops)!

I LOVE baking science and LOVE geeking out on it, but if you just want to skip the science-y stuff and jump straight to the step-by-step method, then click this button…

A BROWNIE IS NOT FULLY DRESSED WITHOUT ITS SHINY CRUST.

The texture of the brownie can be perfect, nuts can be waiting for you in every bite and the best quality chocolate can radiate its aroma, but without the thin, crackly, SHINY crust… the experience just isn’t the same 😕

Please note: This is a long post. It has been a VERY complicated and long journey to crack the science behind the Shiny Brownie Crust.

There are a myriad of my Brownie recipes that can get away with not having a crust; like my EPIC Red Velvet Brownies, but for good old classic Chocolate Brownies or The Best Ever Gluten Free Brownies, there is no where to hide!

Shiny brownie crust 1

My relationship with the humble brownie crust has been a love-hate one for sure. My husband and I can recall at least 5 different instances where I’ve shouted “I’ve finally figured out the shiny brownie crust!!”.

And then 10 more where I said very soberly No, this time I’ve REALLY figured it out! I know I’ve said this so many times before, but this time it’s really true.

As you may have guessed I then figured out, again, for the fifteenth time, that I hadn’t REALLY figured it out yet.

I was onto it, but I just didn’t get it yet…

So here is my 3 1/2 year long brownie journey condensed into one blog post. I’ve done this so that you will not suffer the same frustration, but get to experience all of the joy of a perfect shiny brownie crust!

 

How did I crack the Shiny Brownie Crust Phenomenon?

Having supplied coffee shops here in Cape Town for 5 years (Field Office, Salisburys and Eat with Emma) has given me a very generous opportunity to experiment with baking methods.

My goal is always to get each baked thingy as good as it can possibly be.

How many brownies have I baked? This is where Microsoft Excel comes in handy! And the answer is 28748 BROWNIES. Yep. That’s about 5750 brownies per year.

For a solo baker that is quite a lot I suppose. I’m sharing the numbers because I want you to see that it sometimes takes a lot of patience and perseverance to crack a baking secret.

Trial and error, trial and error (repeat).

What is amazing is that quite often you’ll discover other secrets along the way that you didn’t even bother to think about! I’ll be sharing these secret discoveries as well.

 

Which Brownie Recipe Should You Use?

The beauty of this Shiny Brownie Crust Hack is that it applies to ALL classic brownie recipes (not vegan or sugar free though) – Whether it uses cocoa powder or chocolate or both! Happy days! So, you can really just use your favourite brownie recipe.

This hack unfortunately does not work for Vegan brownies, but here is a vegan brownie recipe that does turn out with a shiny brownie crust.

I personally prefer chocolate only for gluten free brownies, but for normal brownies I love a recipe that uses both cocoa powder and chocolate in the batter itself as I find the chocolate flavour to be more intense and the texture perfectly chewy!

I LOVE CHEWY BROWNIES. I love adding chocolate chunks as well.

There are many blogs on INGREDIENT properties such as different sugars, flours, chocolate etc. This blog will not cover those topics. Click here for a useful guide on ingredient properties.

 

Breakthrough #1: Butter

Let’s pause. It is beautiful.

Moving on…

The main factor here is HEAT.

I’ve done a fair bit of internet research on how to crack the darn brownie crust and here is what some had to say about the butter:

“Melt the butter over simmering water OR in the microwave in 30 second bursts. Do not boil!”

FALSE. You want this mixture to be as warm as possible. You need the heat for a very specific reason which will be explained later. Bring the butter to boiling point in your microwave in a mixing bowl and from here on work as quick as you can.

When the butter it HOT, it dissolves the sugar much faster. And for the shiny brownie crust hack to work, you need your brownie batter to be a bit warm – preferably.

Be sure to have all your dry ingredients already sifted together, chocolate already chopped, room temperature eggs standing by.

Go ahead and melt the butter in the microwave for 3 minutes until it boils. It is not necessary to do it in 30 second bursts.

The heat of the butter made a huge difference, BUT to my frustration this did not work 100% of the time. In winter especially, the shiny brownie crust would take a vacation.

This new discovery was great, but I was still missing something.

 

Breakthrough #2: Ratio of Ingredients

My ratio is:

Butter Sugar Dry ingredients Eggs
400g 600g 400g 4 Jumbo eggs (240g without shell)
1 1.5 1 1

This ratio is more for the purpose of optimal texture AKA fudgy, gooey, chewy perfection! I use a combination of Treacle sugar and white sugar. The treacle sugar adds a lovely earthy note and also chewiness – yum!

 

Breakthrough #3: Whipping/Beating

I found this information from Brownie Chronicles:

“Whether brownies have a crust on top depends on how much you beat the batter after the eggs are added. The more you beat, the more crust you get. If you beat vigorously with a mixer, you can get a dramatic crust. 

Depending on how much you beat, this crust can be barely noticeable or a crisp, shiny crust that is totally puffed, and separated above the cake or brownie. It is also usually lighter in color. The color and shine are especially noticeable on brownies.

“This is a meringue-like crust and is actually caused by a “meringue.”  Your beating of the batter after the eggs are added creates it. This seems not to be widely known even among chocolate experts.

I tried this. It didn’t work. No shiny brownie crust. I was depressed.

Brownie chronicles should have the answer right? I did however find that beating the batter improves the brownie texture massively!

From then on I have always beaten my batter with the paddle attachment on medium – low speed for 3 minutes. You’d think it makes the brownies tough, but it seriously doesn’t! It just adds a glorious chewiness – you’ve got to try it at least once!

shiny brownie crust texture

Beating by hand plays no role. Unless you want impressive guns. Beating the eggs and sugar separately for 3-5 minutes before folding in the remaining ingredients (http://www.handletheheat.com/ultimate-brownie-guide/) creates a “crust”, but it is not always shiny.

Very often it is dull, but just a lighter colour than the rest of the brownie below the surface.

Some recipes with beating the eggs and sugar separately, do deliver a shiny crust, BUT the texture is NOT chewyI want both if that’s possible. Shiny brownie crust AND chewiness.

I do not beat the eggs and sugar separately, but I beat the mixture right at the end when all the ingredients are in the bowl. This does not deliver a shiny crust at all, but I do it because it improves the texture of my brownies.

 

Breakthrough #4: Eggs

The crust is definitely influenced by the amount and type of egg in the recipe.

You can achieve a brownie crust with a normal amount of eggs – you don’t need to add more or less eggs. The amount of eggs I use is mainly for the optimum texture.

Although, I’ve noticed that it helps the crust along if my total egg in the recipe contains more EGG WHITE. 

Let’s say my recipe uses 130 g of egg; then I’ll use about 100 g of whole egg and top up the remaining 30 g with egg white. Not beaten or anything, just plain egg white out of the shell.

Too much egg will result in a very spongy brownie. Too little and the brownie is too dense and solid. 

Another myth is that you have to add them in one by one. Not necessary. I add them all in one go and mix on low speed for 10 seconds until they are roughly incorporated.

Want to get that thin, super shiny crust on top of your brownies? Great news is, you don't need to drop your favourite brownie recipe in search of a shiny-top brownie recipe! You can use this simple baking tip to get a shiny crust on ANY brownie recipe that contains dairy and sugar! Click through to get the step by step method for baking brownies with a shiny crust on top... #baking #bakingtips #brownies #homebaking #bakingtipsandtricks

 

Breakthrough #5: Sugar

Here’s where things get interesting.

According to Hackaday’s shiny brownies post, the shiny crust is determined by how well you dissolve the sugar in your brownies AND how much sugar you use.

This is definitely true.

But the problem comes in if you DON’T want a brownie that’s SUPER sweet. Personally it’s a bit disappointing to me that I HAVE to use loads of sugar to get a shiny brownie crust.

Don’t get me wrong, I think sugar is wonderful. But I want the overall flavour of my brownies to be CHOCOLATY, not overwhelming sweetness.

So, with my method you get to create a shiny brownie crust without compromising the flavour of your brownies.

Of course, in ALL baking it’s good to dissolve your sugar – although it doesn’t need to be dissolved completely with my method.

Just dunk all your sugar into your melted butter in one go. Then mix on low speed for about 1 minute – the sugar should be sticky and glue-y when you lift up the paddle.

But if your recipe specifies to beat the eggs and sugar together for 5 minutes, then please do that.

 

Breakthrough #6: Chocolate vs. Cocoa Powder

When I first started making brownies as a side-hustle in university, I used a recipe with mounds of chocolate.

Problem is that I had a horrible oven (university dorm kitchens!), an even worse stove and no understanding of chocolate seizing.

They were still amazing though! I sold them during my years as architecture student to raise money for the university’s charity program – Jool/Rag. This recipe used the eggs & sugar whipping technique. A shiny brownie crust did appear from time to time.

I thought it might be worth a go to try a recipe that uses cocoa powder. I took the first one I found in a magazine which happened to be a yummy one! I decided to make it my new “go to” recipe as the chewiness of the brownies was just amazing!

I’ve modified the recipe drastically over the years. One addition to the recipe was Milk Chocolate chunks and hazelnuts. I loved the idea of chocolate chunks (dark and milk separately) and hazelnuts that provide flavour as well as more exciting textures!

What puzzled me was that sometimes there was this ridiculously awesome shiny brownie crust on top and other times not even a trace of it! I did not understand. I made an effort to mix it EXACTLY the same way as I did before, but different results came forth with very inconsistent frequency.

I also did not believe that it could be Chocolate that makes the big difference because my gluten free brownies have ONLY DARK CHOCOLATE and also didn’t develop a shiny brownie crust.

 

Breakthrough #7: MILK Chocolate

So it happened one fine day in the second month of 2015 that someone ordered brownies without any nuts due to an allergy.

This meant my dear hazelnut milk chocolate had to be left out this time and so did other chocolate because most of them are “manufactured in a factory that uses nuts”.

Now up until this point I had believed that the whipping caused the shiny brownie crust (even though the success rate was 70/30, which was the most consistent theory I had found anyway).

Even Kitchen Conundrums said this too and I really have a high regard for everything they say! Their lemon meringue video is amazing!!

I did everything the way I always do it… Melt the butter to boiling point in the microwave. Quickly add the white sugar and treacle sugar. Mix in the eggs all at once. Add the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed till incorporated. Scrape down the sides. Beat on medium speed for exactly 3.5 minutes. Bake at 180°C for exactly 37 minutes, turning after 15. And then…

NO crust.

This time, however, my inward fit of frustration only lasted 10 seconds as I had realized what has been happening all along…

The reason why it often worked when the butter was boiling hot, was because there was heat. The fully mixed batter had enough heat to melt something that is sensitive to temperature…

The reason why it often worked to let the moody brownies rest before baking, was because there was more time available for something specific to happen.

The reason why the crust took a vacation in winter, was not because it fancied the Bahamas. The drastic drop in temperature hindered a scientific reaction.

Milk chocolate. MELTED milk chocolate. In the nut free version, there was no milk chocolate present. The heat of the batter couldn’t melt it no matter how long it stood “resting” because well, it wasn’t there. I had left out the Hazelnut Milk Chocolate due to allergies.

I had another experiment.

This time I chopped as little as 20g of milk chocolate. I sprinkled it on top of the batter, left it for a minute and spread the slightly melted chocolate into the top layer of brownie batter…

shiny brownie crust method

Eureka. HELLO SHINY BROWNIE CRUST!!

Struggling to get shiny tops on your brownies? You know, that thin shiny crust that take brownies to the next level! In this thorough post you'll learn all the secret tricks you need to get this shiny crust on any brownie recipe (except vegan or sugar free)! #brownies #homebaking #chocolatebrownies #shinybrownies #browniecrust

Now there happens to be a lovely trick you can apply during winter months… the hairdryer! Tada! Sprinkle finely chopped milk chocolate over the surface, apply heat until chocolate is melted, spread into the top of the batter.

PERFECT SHINY BROWNIE CRUST. EVERY. TIME.

Shiny Brownie Crust! An incredible baking hack! Best part - this baking tip gives you a shiny crust on ANY brownie recipe! Click through to learn how to create a shiny, paper thin crust on your brownies. #homebaking #bakingtips #baking #brownies #chocolatebrownies

 

Try it out and let me know if you are pleased with the results!

I’ve tried this with my gluten free brownies as well which don’t contain any cocoa powder. I’ve had the same successful shiny brownie crust for 6 glorious months now on ANY brownie recipe!

WE’VE FOUND NEMO!!

I’ve been tempted to stop here, but the journey is not yet fully complete. Continue to read if you are a scientist like me! I still wanted to understand and know what specific ingredient name I had to frame in my home!

WHAT ingredient is it that causes the shiny brownie crust for Pete’s sake?!

So my experiment took me a little further. I approached my favourite chocolaterie, CocoaFair (Cape Town, South Africa) and asked for their expertise on Milk Chocolate.

There are 2 ingredients that feature in Milk Chocolate, but not in Dark Chocolate.

Milk powder (Milk solids) and Soy Lecithin. I obtained some Soy Lecithin and Milk Powder from my dear chocolate friends at CocoaFair!

This week I made 3 last batches to settle the argument of the shiny brownie crust once and for all.

  1. Normal brownie batter + milk powder.
  2. Normal brownie batter + soy lecithin.
  3. Normal brownie batter + milk powder + soy lecithin.

milk & soy test

Thus, it is the COMBINATION OF SOY LECITHIN AND MILK SOLIDS that creates the shiny brownie crust. Wow! I dissolved the soy lecithin granules and milk powder in water (left it standing for one hour).

shiny brownie crust smear

I thought it might be a good idea to smear at least part of the surface with a spatula so that the structure of the top layer had been realigned – another one of my theories. It turned out to be another key to a shiny brownie crust!

To Clarify The Shiny Brownie Crust Method:

  1. Make your favourite brownie recipe as usual, but make sure the melted butter is boiling hot. Add the sugar and mix it for at least 1 minute so it dissolves a bit . It should be sticky, glue-y and cling to your spoon or paddle beater.
  2. Mix in the eggs and dry ingredients. Move quickly so your batter stays WARM. If your batter gets cold, your crust will be compromised. Pour the batter into the tin and level it out with a spatula.
  3. Chop about 20 g of MILK chocolate finely (don’t use anything higher than 38% Milk Chocolate. Dark chocolate doesn’t work! You need the dairy & sugar in the milk chocolate. If you’re making blondies, use white chocolate). Sprinkle on the surface of your brownie batter in the tin.
  4. Apply heat to the top to melt the milk chocolate. In summertime you can leave it in the sun for 40 seconds – 1 minute. In winter, use a hairdryer to melt the finely chopped chocolate on the surface.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, smear the melted milk chocolate into the top of the brownie batter in even, long strokes. Be sure to smear all of it in and not leave any chocolate streaks!
  6. Bake in the top third of your oven for the time your recipe states. (Don’t add anything else to the oven while the brownies are baking. Moisture in the oven will stop the shiny crust from forming.)
  7. Voila! Perfect Shiny Brownie Crust! Enjoy!

Well, it’s been frustrating, enlightening, educational and (mostly) fun! SO grateful that I can sleep at night now – at last!!

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)