Have you ever had that lovely time baking when everything seems to be going really well and then just at the last minute some disaster strikes? It happened to me last weekend and then a day later my friend messaged me saying ‘I need some help, how do I salvage this bake?’ I thought perhaps it was time to do a baking salvages post.
Last weekend I was sat watching tv when the phone pinged and it was my friend needing help with a baking solution.
To be fair I had no idea! I can never wait long enough for my flapjack to cool before I take it out the tin, so my baking disaster is usually that it's a little ‘delicate’ shall we say, as flapjack needs to cool to set properly and mine's always still hot! I had to do a quick Google job, where I found that steam was supposed to work and there were suggestions to put a few drops of water underneath the greaseproof and put it back in the oven.
Here’s where it gets more complicated though, she’d already take it out of the pan and cut it into slices and it was only now partially covered with greaseproof paper, so now what to do?
I did suggest popping it in the microwave but that could make it go really gooey and it might be more like eating very sweet sticky porridge - just to note, she wasn’t phased by that and thought it might be rather nice! However, I thought a bit harder and suggested laying a cooling rack across a pot of boiling water and putting the flapjack on top to see if the steam would help release it, a bit like steaming open an envelope, or for those of us old enough to remember lickable stamps, steaming the stamp off the envelope when you realised you wrote the address wrong but didn’t want the waste the stamp you’d already stuck on!
The results….well....carry on reading! She decided to hold it over the kettle to steam rather than a boiling pot of water and she filmed it so you can checkout what happened.
I have to say when I saw this I was amazed! I had an idea that it might work a bit but not as easily as this did. It was merely one of those ‘it's worth a try?’ ideas, but the success of it I thought was well worth sharing.
This is not the only baking salvage I managed in that week either. The day before I had made a birthday cake for a family member and all was going well until I came to sandwich it together. Now admittedly when we put it in the oven neither of us (Mr OMC and myself - I’m not going to take all the responsibility) thought to put the timer on or even look at the clock! So we estimated how long it had been in the oven and checked it when we thought it was about time. Yes we checked it, with the skewer and about 8 times all over on each slice but the skewer came out perfectly clear and so we took it out the oven believing it to be done and left it to cool.
It was only an hour later when the oven was off and I cut the dome part off the top of one cake to make it flatter to sandwich together with the others that I discovered the middle was still raw. A total hidden sloppy mess! I checked the other sandwich slice and it to was raw in the middle too - oh no! The bake had been going so well but not having enough time (or enough of some ingredients) to make another cake my brain went into action. What could I do to salvage this problem?
Thankfully the raw bit was only in the middle and so I rummaged around the glass cupboard until I found a glass that was an ideal size. Then turning it upside down I used it as a cutter to cut out the raw bit and the cake got a make over. This wasn’t now any normal cake. This was now a doughnut cake!
There were still some slightly raw bits that I hadn’t managed to get inside the glass and since the oven was off I went for the next best thing - the microwave! I very often make sponge type puddings in the microwave and thought, 'well if you can cook a whole cake in it surely I can finish off a few little edges?', so I stuck them in for a minute or so. Obviously this is something to be done at your own risk but it sorted out the small parts that were still gooey and it at least meant that I could salvage some of the bake and produce a birthday cake.
Thankfully I’d made far too much butter cream so I had plenty to complete the look and ice it all over and then I chucked some smarties on the top to look like sprinkles and it was finished. The cake wasn’t too bad, the taste was lovely. It could have ended up being a little dry if it was microwaved too much but then again I doubt I'd have noticed with the amount of frosting on it!
Sometimes you look at a bake and think thats not even going to be salvageable, but that's not always the case. Have you ever made that cake that's just broken up into pieces or one that's so dry you’d have to have a glass of water to get it down? Never fear there is still always hope!
If you make a cake that simply breaks into pieces and doesn’t resemble slices of any kind then you still have options. The first is simple in that you can use it as the sponge element in a trifle (see below for my easy trifle recipe). The other option is to reuse it in another bake.
Yes that really is possible, I’ve done it with all sorts of bakes! It works really well when the cake is dry and bulks out a recipe to make more without wasting anything. A few years back we had a Christmas stollen that was dry and basically far too hard to eat. I took the marzipan out, with the amount of sugar in it it was still perfectly fine. It didn’t last long, we just ate it, then I put the rest of the cake through a sieve. Ordinarily I wouldn’t put it through a sieve (far too much effort for me) I would have just put the cake into a bowl and made it into a crumb with my fingers but the stollen was quite dense and it had fruit pieces in it so it wasn’t easy to crumb and this was the best way to save it. I made a fresh batch of basic sponge cake (see below for that recipe too) and added in the cake crumbs and fruit pieces and put them into fairy cake cases. It made some beautiful cakes with all the flavouring of Christmas spices and adding the crumbs doubled the amount of mixture - bonus!
So there you have it, a few quick baking salvages for when things go wrong. Do you have any tips or tricks for saving a bake? Are there any tips that you’re in need of? If there are leave us a comment below or on the Over a Morning Coffee facebook page.
Mrs OMC's Trifle recipe
Basic sponge mixture.
If there's anything you would like to see on the blog in the future, send me a message, I’d love to hear your ideas.