If You Love Baking, You Must Have These 10 Pantry Basics
Whether you wish to make a cookie or a cake, these pantry essentials are a must
Whether you are new to baking or a pro, the right ingredients and measurements can help you create a masterpiece at home, like one from a posh patisserie. Be it moist cakes and cupcakes or brownies, crunchy cookies and crusty breads, these baking must-haves will help you make just about anything you want.
1. White flour: A kitchen staple, white flour (maida) is used in a lot of Indian recipes—in savoury breads such as bhatura and naan as well as in sweet delights such as jalebis and gulab jamuns. White flour is especially great for baking breads, cakes, pastries and cookies because it is less dense and has a light and airy texture. It’s best to refrigerate white flour after opening the packet.
2. Baking powder: If you want airy baked goodies, then you must use this leavening agent, a powdered acid.
3. Baking soda: While baking soda is also a leavening agent that makes baked goods rise, it needs a combination of acid and heat to activate. So, remember to always pair baking soda with an acidic ingredient, like lime juice, vinegar, cocoa powder or yogurt to get the desired result.
4. Salt: Surprised to find it on the list? Just a pinch of salt, if added to the right ingredients and at the right step, can transform and raise the flavour of your baked dish. It can not only enhance the flavour of butter and chocolate but also make fruits taste better in your dessert.
5. Yeast: A slow-rising agent compared to a baking powder or a baking soda, yeast is a must-have for making delicious breads. It provides a distinct flavour and aroma to your breads, a result of the fermentation process.
6. Unsweetened cocoa powder: A necessary addition to most chocolate confections, cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants. You can use it to whip up a super-tasty hot chocolate or a smoothie.
7. Dark chocolate: When it comes to baking, you should go for dark cooking chocolate and not the regular sweet chocolate bar you have at home. You can use dark chocolate to make restaurant-style cakes, mousse, chocolate chip cookies and more.
8. Extracts and essence: If you like your cakes and bakes to be subtle in flavour with just a hint of sweetness, then a natural vanilla extract, although slightly expensive, is worth it.
9. Sugar and sweeteners: White sugar is a kitchen staple and you can use it in its coarse form or grind it to fine powder depending on the recipe. If you’re looking for alternatives to sugar, you can go for brown sugar or honey or coconut sugar.
10. Butter and oil: While white or unsalted butter is ideal for any baked goodie, you can also use regular salted butter, but then do keep a check on the overall salt measurement for your dish. Vegetable oils that are neutral in flavour can give you that moistness you look for in a perfect cake.
Super Easy Moist Mocha Cake
1 and 3/4 cups white flour
1 and 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 cup boiling water
Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a large baking pan with oil. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the dry mixture and mix them with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Mix the instant coffee powder in the boiling water to make an espresso and gently pour it into the cake mix. Don’t panic if the batter looks runny, it will turn out super moist. Pour the mixture into the greased baking pan and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. If a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, you cake is ready. Cool it on a wire rack and serve.