I know some people are big on creating their own recipes, but not I. I acknowledge baking as tasty science, but I am, for the most part, happy to follow the instructions set down by others.
Having said that, I still feel more baker-y than I ever did before moving to the United Kingdom from Texas. For example, store-bought frosting went right out the window. It’s more common here to make it from scratch, and once I got a glob of homemade shoved into my face, I’ve not wanted to go back. And why would I when it’s ridiculous easy and forgiving to make frosting from scratch. It loses that plastic taste that one realizes isn’t actually a part of the frosting for those of us that have stood there in the open fridge, sneaking fingerfuls of Ye Olde Duncan Hines. Nothing to be ashamed of — EVERYONE did this as a kid. I reckon it’s got to be some right of passage.
I’m also less fearful of missing ingredients. For example, there’s a lemon cake that I like to make. The frosting recipe calls for a minute amount of buttermilk.
Considering it is, so far, one of two things I use buttermilk for, and the other takes an entire container, I’m not inclined to buy some just for a spoonful. Instead, one can whip up a wonderful substitute using a bit of milk and lemon juice. Today’s ‘well crap’ was realizing that I didn’t have baking powder. It’s been a long time since I needed any, and the husband very wisely threw out the old/out of date things as part of the process of moving. It’s already on the next shopping list, but that didn’t help my desire to make a cake now now now. Thankfully, I found a site that suggested a viable substitution. I needed 1.5 tablespoons, so I did a tablespoon of cream of tartar, and half a tablespoon of baking soda in addition to the baking soda already in the recipe. If anything, the cake seemed to rise an alarming amount during the baking process, so I guess we can say that it worked as well as, or better than expected.
And of course, homemade cake on the whole is a better experience than store-bought. With a little love, it retains moisture for a reasonable amount of time, and makes you feel self-congratulatory for mastering such tasty science. Granted, both of my recipes came via other sources. For example, the cake recipe came from Hershey:
HERSHEY’S “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” Chocolate Cake Recipe
Of course, being in the United Kingdom, I didn’t use Hersheys to make the cake. I would have quite happily used my Tesco generic drinking chocolate powder if I had had enough. Instead, cake and frosting were poshed up by the fact the nearest store in walking distance only had Bournville (ooh la la). To my delight, it was THE perfect amount for cake and frosting!
Speaking of the frosting, here’s the recipe for that:
Quick, Easy & Creamy Chocolate Frosting Recipe using Cocoa
I do have one minor confession to make about the frosting recipe — I don’t follow the instructions at all. My original copy of the recipe that I printed out just has the ingredients, so I just sort of dump them all in and mix them up. Okay, I guess I have baked enough to know to put the dry ingredients in first, and I do, so it comes out ‘right’. But as said earlier — that’s the great thing about making frosting. It’s VERY forgiving. I ended up having to add a few splashes of milk this time around to make it a bit runnier, but I think that we can all agree that it came out quite well.