Posted on Leave a comment

How to Bake the Perfect Cookie-6 Steps

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Coffee and Cookies
Coffee and Cookies

When my mother introduced me to the world of cooking, I quickly learned that baking was my forte. I have always loved making cookies, but have you ever wondered how some people can just make a cookie that melts in your mouth and you find yourself going back for more? It’s because I was taught one of the most important baking tips, the technique.

Yes, it does take a bit of practice, but if you will follow my techniques, you will realize how easy it really is to make a perfect cookie.

Read on to find out more…


1. Follow the Recipe

Cookies Recipe
Follow the Recipe

This is the most important one of all, the recipe! If you don’t follow the recipe step by step I can promise you it will be a flop. And nobody wants that to happen. If you are going to take the time to bake cookies or anything for that matter, you may as well do it right the first time. Although this may seem like a small step, it is (to me) the most important step in the baking process.


2. Flour: All-Purpose or Self-Rising

White Lily All Purpose Flour 5 lb Bag (Pack of 2)
White Lily All Purpose Flour

Yes, my baker’s, the flour DOES matter. I can tell you this from my many years of baking. I have used both in my cookie recipes, and trust me when I tell you that All-Purpose flour works best for cookies, unless it specifies Self-Rising. Ever time I used the self-rising flour my cookies would never turn out the same. Once I made the switch to All-Purpose flour they turned out to be the perfect taste, texture, and consistency. Imagine that!


3. Baking Soda or Baking Powder

Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
Baking Soda

Most cookie recipes use baking soda and some use baking powder. I prefer baking soda because it is the most conventional raising agent in cookies. You can use baking powder, but just know that your cookies will have a more cake like consistency. And that will be fine if that is the way you want them. Using baking soda will make them good and chewy.


4. Butter, Butter, and Butter

Butter VS Margarine
Butter vs Margarine

Oh my goodness, there is nothing like the rich creamy taste of REAL butter. It is way better than margarine. Of course if all you have on hand is margarine, then it will work too. But if you ever try real butter in your cookies or other recipes calling for butter, honey you will never go back to margarine. Trust me! My favorite butter to get in the whole world is Amish butter. Now that’s some good eating. So rich and creamy. If you keep your butter in the fridge, set it out for about 15-20 minutes to get it at room temperature. Soft butter mixes up better in your dry ingredients. Don’t won’t to wait for it to reach room temp.?

Just pop it in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. Melting it will make a softer chewier cookie.


5. What about the Eggs

Basket Of Brown Eggs
Basket of Brown Eggs

If your cookie recipe calls for eggs, and most of them do, make sure to lay your eggs out about 30-45 minutes before you start baking. This helps your cookies to have more volume and will turn out better and prettier. Plus, your eggs will mix-up with the dry ingredients much better. I prefer brown eggs to white eggs. I personally think that brown eggs are richer and make desserts taste richer.


6. Brown Sugar or White Sugar

Brown Sugar Or White Sugar
Brown Sugar or White Sugar

For me I like to use whatever the recipe calls for. But you can mix them by using half white and half brown. This gives your cookies an almost Carmel like taste. Now when it comes to peanut butter cookies, brown sugar is best if you have it. The right sugar for the right recipe gives your cookies that chewy or crunchy like texture we all love.


Tips from Donna’s Kitchen

Tip #1. Always go by your recipe instructions step by step for best results.

Tip #2. Gather all the ingredients for the recipe.

Tip #3. Measure out all of the ingredients before you start the mixing process.


If you follow all of my techniques and tips, you will be on your way to making perfect cookies every time no matter which cookie recipe you choose.🍪

Try one of my cookie recipes below and enjoy!😋

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy👩‍🍳

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Donna’s Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Donna’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies

Donna’s Best Holiday Butter Cookies

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Increase Your Productivity in the Kitchen

Work Smarter Not Harder
Tips to Get More Done in the Kitchen

If you are anything like me, then you will find that sometimes your kitchen can feel like a war zone. However, kitchens do not have to feel this way. With the help of the little tips I am going to share with you today, you can get your kitchen back under control.

Prepare to Increase Productivity in Your Kitchen

Grocery List
Grocery List

The first tip– is to get everything prepared before you start. You may think that cooking is all about improvisation and winging it, but if you want to be productive in the kitchen, this is not true. Prepare and plan before you start. Take stock and make sure that you have everything that you need, and that it is all in good working order. By doing this, you will be giving yourself the best possible chance to produce a great meal.


Washing Dishes
Wash the Dishes

Second tip-always start with a clean kitchen! There is nothing that stresses me out more than to try and start baking with a messy kitchen. Make sure all of your clean dishes are put away and your dirty dishes are washed up. Make sure you wash your dishes as you go. This will help you to get out of the kitchen much faster. My hubby usually washes the dishes as I go to help me out. I so appreciate his help! Especially around the holidays.


Reading A Recipe
Read Your Recipe

Third tip-read your recipe all the way through and get all of your ingredients ready. Then get your measuring cups, spoons, mixer, etc. ready to go. Measure out your ingredients and set aside. Put your flour, milk, eggs, flavoring, and sugar back in its proper place. Doing this will keep your kitchen counters more organized and less cluttered.


Don't Answer Your Phone If You're Busy
Don’t Answer Your Phone

Fourth tip-try not to answer your phone! I know, right? This really drives me crazy when I am trying to get my ingredients together, measured out, put back up and start the mixing process when my dang phone rings.🙄 For me, I don’t need that distraction at all. If I’m not careful I will forget what I have already measured out and poured into my mixing bowl and that is a pain in my butt I don’t need. (This is right up there on the stress bar with a dirty

kitchen).


Keep Pans In Cabinets Closest To Stove
Keep Pans in Cabinets Closest to Stove

Fifth tip-this is another very important tip for me and it will be for you as well, keep all of your baking pans together in one place. I like to keep my in the cabinets closest to my stove. This will save you a lot of time, I promise. I also like to keep my cake plates together as well. Doing this saves me the time of looking every where for them. I have my measuring spoons and measuring cups together in the same drawer as well as my cake spatulas I use for frosting my cakes, cookies or whatever I am working on.


Stay Focused
Stay Focused on Task at Hand

Sixth tip-stay focused on the task at hand. Try to avoid distractions at all cost. For me it is so hard to get my focus back if I get of course. I know that may sound crazy, but that’s just how it is for me. If we are being honest, I think this is true for most of us. Set a time you want to get started and stick to it. This will definitely speed up your productivity in the kitchen and you will get finished a lot faster.


Prepping The Ingredients
Prepping the Ingredients

Seventh tip-make a schedule of what you would like to bake and on what days. Get things prepped the day before. With a lot of recipes you can make things the day before. For instance, cookie dough can be made the day before and kept in the fridge. This is especially helpful during the holidays. Writing out what you are going to bake on certain days for the holiday festivities will be a tremendous help and time saver for you. Planning this out will be helpful with your grocery list as well.


Listen To Music While Baking
Listen to Music While Baking

Eighth tip-listen to your favorite music while cooking. In fact, I encourage it. I love to listen to me some Kenny G, smooth jazz or some soft rock. It just makes every thing I’m doing move along smoothly. During the holidays, I love me some Christmas music. Now that really gets my baking juices flowing! So, turn on your favorite music and get baking!


Old Pans
Donate Old Pots and Pans

Ninth tip-get rid of weird shaped pots and pans you are not using. If you don’t use them to cook in, then toss them. Plastic bowls with missing lids, toss them out as well too. Have any melted spatulas just lying around taking up space in your drawers? Chunk them. Are you starting to get the idea? If you are not using any pots, pans, cookware, spoons, spatulas, etc. throw them out or donate them to a goodwill store. Someone else can use them if you don’t need them anymore.


Cluttered Kitchen
Keep Your Kitchen Floor Clean of Clutter

Tenth tip-we talked about keeping your kitchen counters clutter free, the same can be said for your kitchen floor. This is something we don’t usually think about, but it’s a good idea to make sure nothing is in the way that you can trip over, slide down on that would ruin your day of baking in the kitchen. If you have small children make sure their toys are out of the floor and they are out of your kitchen. We don’t need the little kiddos getting hurt or burnt while mama is baking.


If you follow my 10 tips, then you will be on your way to learn How to Increase Your Productivity in the Kitchen. These tips will make your life much easier.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

5 Tips to Baking with Your Grandkids

Do You Love Wilton Products? I Do!

5 Cake Pans You Need for Baking Cakes

Posted on Leave a comment

5 Tips to Baking with Your Grandkids

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Baking is something that I love to do with my grandkids, but can sometimes be frustrating to figure out how to make it work. With the help of my grandkids, I have come up with 5 Tips to Baking with Your Grandkids.


1. Let them help you and pick a recipe

Kids Picking Out Recipe
Kids Picking Out Recipe

I know, I know, it is hard to teach a child to bake when you have things going on around you and on top of your counter. But, first and for most, insist that the little ones wash their hands before ya’ll get started. Let your grandchild pick out the recipe and help you with measuring and pouring the ingredients into a mixing bowl. When they are little, all you need them to do is stir, if they are older let them blend ingredients together. It makes them feel special and more engaged.


2. Have a neat area for baking

Clean as You Go
Clean as You Go

Everything else, stop! Have the kids clean up the area before you start baking. Have a place for everything and use it all. For example put flour in a sifter and put it back on the shelf after it is done being used. In fact, it would be a lot easier to go ahead and get the recipe and get all the ingredients measured out and ready before ya’ll start mixing things together.


3. Consider which task each child can do

Consider What They Can Do
Consider What They Can Do

The smaller children can help pour and stir the ingredients, while the older one(s) can read the recipe and help measure out the ingredients. As your grandkids help you, they will learn how to do things in order, like reading the recipe first, gather the ingredients, measuring out everything, and how to mix the ingredients according to the recipe. You can also teach your grandkids how to work together and take turns doing each task. You can teach them the importance of making sure they have all the ingredients before starting to bake.


4. Know that it will get messy and be ok with it

Kids Making a Mess Baking
Kids Making a Mess Baking

Lord knows I can’t say anything about my grandkids being messy, because believe me I am too when it comes to baking! But I’m ok with that because they are children and it can and will get messy. When there is flour and sugar involved, it’s going to get on the counters and the floor. Let them help you clean up as you go. Don’t stress about it and just have fun. After all you are making beautiful memories to cherish for a lifetime with your babies.


5. Most of all be patient

Being Patient with Grandchild
Being Patient with Grandchild

If mistakes happen, and they probably will, don’t go postal! Let them know that mistakes are to be made and it’s ok. Teach them that’s how we learn and the next time they will know what to do to correct it. For example, you can show them what happens if you don’t spray your cake pans before pouring the cake batter into the pans or what happens if you don’t follow the recipe step by step. This will help them to be more aware of why the steps in a recipe are so important. You can also share some of your baking mishaps and have a great laugh. Let them know that no matter how long you have been cooking, mistakes are going to happen and it’s ok. Just learn from them and move on.


One more very important part of the baking…Share the goodies with the grandkids and praise them for doing such a good job. Ask them what they enjoyed most about baking with Nana. Most of all let them share their goodies with friends and family. Let them know you can’t wait to bake with them again.

I would love to hear from you about baking with your grandkids. Let me know how it went and share some pictures.

Below you will find 3 of my best cookie recipes that will be easy to make with your grandkids and they are very delicious. Enjoy!😋

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy 👩‍🍳

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Donna’s Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Donna’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies

Donna’s Best Holiday Butter Cookies

Posted on Leave a comment

6 Best Brownie Pans

Brownies
Brownies

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Are you in the market for a really good brownie pan? Look no further I have got you covered. There is nothing like stirring up a batch of homemade warm gooey brownies. Topped with vanilla ice cream or how about the homemade cool whip? Yep, you read that right homemade cool whip!

Ok, now that I am drooling, let’s get back to the task at hand so you can get the perfect brownie pan.

There are four important categories to consider when choosing a brownie pan.

They are as follows:

  1. Square or rectangular brownie pan
  2. Non-stick pans
  3. Specialty brownie pans, square with dividers (pan can be made of either metal or silicone)
  4. Cast Iron Skillet (this should be self explanatory)

The features you should look for in a brownie pan:

  1. Flat bottom – All of the pans we looked at need to have a flat bottom for even baking.
  2. Efficient and even heating – The best and most nonstick pans for brownies will also be the ones with the best and most even heating.
  3.  Proper capacity – It is important to know that all of these pans will work for baking a 9×13-inch brownie.

6 best brownie pans

Wilton Brownie Bar Pan
Wilton Brownie Bar Pan

#1. Wilton Brownie Bar Pan (Amazon’s Choice) If you want to bake your favorite brownie recipe to perfection, then you need to start with Wilton’s premium non-stick bake ware. This pan is heavier than most other brands so that you can be assured that this premium non-stick pan will heat evenly resulting in brownies baked to perfection. This pan is not just for brownies, you can also create beautiful single desserts like miniature cakes, fruit bars, and much more. 4.8/5 STARS

Features:

  • made of Alloy Steel that is built to last
  • Heats evenly for perfect results every time
  • 12 individual serving cavities, no slicing needed
  • Non-Stick coating
  • Last for years of perfect baking
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 1.81 x 10.56 x 15.12 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Brooklyn Brownie Copper by GOTHAM STEEL

#2. Brooklyn Brownie Copper by GOTHAM STEEL- This brownie pan allows you to mix your batter right in the pan with a mixer! This keeps you from messing up an extra bowl. You can quickly mix up 18 brownies, cakes, or whatever your heart desires to serve to your family or friends. Want pizza appetizers? No problem, you can easily mix your batter right in the pan. Next, insert the brownie grid, and stick it in the oven. This brownie pan promises to deliver crispy edges while keeping the centers gooey. This is achieved by the even distribution of the heat by the pan’s bottom, sides, and grid. 4.4/5 STARS

Features:

  • Made from premium heavy-weight aluminized steel
  • Non-stick coating allows for easy food removal
  • Pre-cut divider, no dividing of food needed
  • Made from premium heavy-weight aluminized steel
  • Non-stick coating allows for easy food removal
  • Pre-cut divider, no dividing of food needed
  • Cooks more than just brownies
  • Fast clean-up and dishwasher safe
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 14.09 x 9.19 x 2.59 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Chicago Metallic Professional Slice Solutions Brownie Pan

#3. Chicago Metallic Professional Slice Solutions Brownie Pan(Amazon’s Choice) Create perfect brownies every time with this non-stick brownie pan. Because of the divider, it allows you to customize each brownie with nut toppings, sprinkles, candies, or whatever you like. This unique brownie pan is not just for brownies, you can make cornbread, cakes, and many other baked treats. 4.5/5 STARS

Features:

  • Removable divider
  • Perfect 3 inch by 2 inch treats
  • No knife needed to cut every piece
  • Customize each brownie with different toppings
  • Premium quality durable stainless steel for superior
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 16 x 10 x 2.5 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Silicone Brownie Pan with Dividers

#4. Silicone Brownie Pan with Dividers- (#1Best Seller) If you love silicone or have never tried it, you need to. The silicone brownie pan is very flexible with a non-stick function making for quick and easy release of your baked good. It is made to sit directly on your oven racks, but I highly recommend placing it on a cookie sheet so you can avoid it folding in on you. It is silicone, so when it gets hot it is going to be very flexible. 4.4/5 STARS

Features:

  • Flexible silicone and non-stick finish allows for easy release of your baked goods
  • Made of 100% food grade silicone
  • Easy clean up: dishwasher safe and cleans up well with warm soapy water
  • Oven and microwave safe: -20 degrees F. to 450 degrees F.
  • Set of two: 12 + 24 Cavity. Very good deal!.
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 13 x 8 x 0.6 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 8-Inch Square Baking Pan

#5. Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick 8-Inch Square Cake Pans (Amazon’s Choice) Don’t need to make 12-24 brownies? Then these cake pans are for you. If you do a lot of baking and cooking, this set will work wonders for your busy kitchen. These pans are made with heavy-duty rolled steel construction that is meant to last you for years to come. And of course, this pan can be used for cakes, bars, or anything you want to bake. With its durable non-stick coating, clean-up is a breeze. 4.8/5 STARS

Features:

  • Comes in a set of two 8-inch non-stick square pans
  • Made with heavy-gauge construction for long-lasting durability
  • Even heating allows for food to cook thoroughly and prevents warping
  • Durable non-stick coating so food slides out easily
  • Scratch-resistant coating
  • Dishwasher safe for quick clean up or wash in warm soapy water
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 2.3 x 12.3 x 9.4 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 9-Inch Square Baking Pan With Lid

#6. Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 9-Inch Square Baking Pan with Lid- (Amazon’s Choice) This is the perfect gift set for that special just starting out baking, or a nice gift for yourself. This comes with a set of 2 non-stick baking pans with lids to keep all of your cakes, brownies, lemon bars, etc. fresher longer. 4.8/5 STARS

Features:

  • Heavy gauge construction spreads heat evenly and prevents warping
  • Non-stick coating so treats release easy
  • Easy cleanup with warm, soapy water
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes in a set of two 9-inch square pans w/lids
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 2 x 9 x 9 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


These are some really awesome pans with fantastic prices. I know you will find one to your liking and baking needs. Check them out and get baking!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍽

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

6 Best Cake Mixers of 2021

5 Cake Pans You Need for Baking Cakes

Donna’s Baking Tray Liners

Posted on 2 Comments

How to Make a Cake in a Mug

Cake In A Mug
Cake in a Mug

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I have a confession to make: I love cake. Baking a cake in a mug sounds like it should be super easy, right? After all, it’s just a tiny little cake.

Cake in a mug is a lot easier to make than you think. In fact, you’ll wonder why you ever bought those boxed mixes that require six different bowls and a hand mixer. Now you can make cake from scratch without all those annoying bowls!

This cute little cake is perfect for that after-dinner treat, or it’s great for breakfast if you’re that kind of person. Either way, it’s super simple to make, and will take less than 5 minutes of active work on your part.

The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to use just one mug or one type of mug. You can use different mugs in different sizes for different portions. So if you just want a little bite of cake, use a smaller mug. If you’re having company, use larger mugs.

To celebrate Fall, I know you will love the following recipe. This is so simple, so let’s get baking. Here’s what you’ll need:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Mug Cakes

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 Egg

3 Tablespoons brewed espresso coffee or very strong coffee, room temperature

1 Tablespoon canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/4 Cup sugar

1/3 Cup Original Bisquick™ Mix

1/2 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Pinch of salt

Whipped cream, for serving

Ground cinnamon, for serving

Directions:

  1. In small bowl, beat melted butter, egg, espresso and pumpkin with whisk. Add the sugar, Bisquick mix, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix until incorporated; batter may be lumpy.
  2. Divide batter between 2 microwavable mugs. Microwave uncovered on High 2 minutes. Cool a few minutes before serving.
  3. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

TIP #1: If you want to save on clean up mix the batter in one mug, and then pour half of it into the other mug.

TIP #2: If you are not a fan of coffee, you can use another liquid such as water, buttermilk, Chi Tea, milk, etc.

Try this easy recipe for Homemade Cool Whip Only 2 ingredients:

Your taste buds will thank you! This is way better than the canned stuff and a lot tastier than what comes in the plastic bowls.

3/4 Cup heavy whipping cream (Very Cold)

2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

directions:

  1. In chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed.
  2. Add powdered sugar before stiff peaks form.
  3. Beat ingredients until stiff peaks form.

TIP #1: For enhanced flavor, try adding a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract when adding the powdered sugar.

TIP #2: Make sure you keep your mixing bowl and your beaters in the freezer until you are ready to use them for the best results. And you want your heavy whipping cream very cold too.

TIP #3: This homemade cool whip is great on Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Strawberry Short Cake or whatever you want to put it on. Enjoy!🧁

Related Posts:

Why I Love My Kitchen-Aid

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FROSTING AND ICING?

5 Cake Pans You Need for Baking Cakes

Posted on Leave a comment

👻10 Tips for Creating a Spooktacular Halloween Party for Children🎃

Halloween Party
Halloween Party

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Halloween is upon us, and it’s the perfect time to organize a Spooktacular party for the kids. As much as I love fancy dress, I also like to relax and party hard at home with my family. Here are my top ten tips for creating the ultimate kid’s Halloween Party, which your adult guest will enjoy too.

Are you ready to create your Spooktacular Halloween Party? Let’s go….


#1. Choose Your Theme Wisely

Halloween Theme
👻Halloween Theme👻

This is the first thing you want to do is decide on the Halloween Theme you would like to create and build off that. There are so many Halloween themes to choose from, you are sure to find one to meet your goulash needs. For example, do you want to go with spider webs with black and orange décor? Or would you prefer a monster theme, witch fest along with a scary forest outside? As you can see the possibilities are endless. But do remember you want the kiddos to have fun, not be frightened.


#2. Make Fun Invitations

Halloween Party Invitations
🕷Halloween Invites🕷

Now that you have your cute little theme picked out, it’s time to get the invitations ready. Make your own and have fun with it. You can include the kiddos as well to help. This will make it even more special. One thing you can do with the invitations is make them match your Halloween Theme. You can also make little candy gift bags to match as well. Kid’s love to make crafts at least my grandchildren do.


#3. Halloween Games

If you have different age children as I do, you can still have games that everyone can enjoy. Even the adults. Here are some fun games to consider for all ages…

These games are sure to keep the kiddos happy and entertained. On Amazon under $10.00!


#4. Start and End

Time To Party Clock
Time To Party

Now it’s time decide what time you want the party to start and when you want it to end. If it’s just a party for the kids, younger ones may only last for a couple of hours and the older ones 3-4 hours. Make sure to state the start and end times on the invitations so the parents will know what time to drop them off and pick them up.

Now for me and my family, we always have a start time, but then we end it when we get ready too. Which is usually longer than 2-4 hours.🎃


#5. Baking Time

Halloween Cookies
Halloween Cookies

This is my favorite part besides the decorating. Depending on what and how much you are making, give yourself enough time to get your treats baked, decorated, and ready for the big day. Baking your goodies a couple of days ahead of time will take a lot of stress off of you.

For me, I bake my cookies, especially if I decorate them, 2 days ahead of time. Then I will bake my cake the day before and decorate it. I like to make cookies and then let my grandchildren come over and help me decorate them. They love it and so will you. If the family wants to help in baking goodies, let them! For a delicious cookie recipe go to Donna’s Best Holiday Butter Cookies.


#6. Decorate the House

Halloween House
Halloween House

Now that you have picked out a theme and got all of your goodies baked and decorated, it’s time to get your Halloween decorating on. I like to decorate a few days before the party. Give yourself plenty of time to get everything like you want it. Get your spooky juices flowing and turn your house into a Halloween Scene that is sure to please both you and your guest. If you need some cute decorations and don’t want to make them yourself, check out your local Dollar Tree or Dollar General. They have cute stuff priced to fit any budget.


#7. Add Music to Your Theme

Dancing Children
Get Your Groove On

There’s nothing like adding a little music to your party to get things going. These songs are sure to get everyone dancing. I recommend songs like “Monster Mash,” “Ghostbusters,” “Thriller.” And of course, if you have an Alexa, you can ask her to play Halloween music for children.


#8. Serve Simple Snacks

Monster Cupcakes
Monster Cupcakes

No need to stress yourself out over the snacks, just keep it simple. Here are some ideas below:

  1. Monster Cupcakes-get these at your local Walmart to save time
  2. Cake Pops-get some your local bakery
  3. Halloween Cookies-pick some up a your local Walmart
  4. Sneak in some healthy snacks-Halloween monster mouth snacks, crunchie Halloween mummies, pumpkin party mix

#9. Time for Halloween Games

Halloween Crafts/Games
Halloween Crafts/Games

Now that the kiddos have eaten some treats how about some dancing to burn off some of the sugar highs? My little ones love to have dance contests and I bet yours would too. After all, that dancing try sitting down for a rest and playing some board games like Halloween Bingo, do a craft like decorating some pumpkins, watch a Halloween cartoon-like “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”


#10. Photo Time

Halloween Photo
Family Time

Well, the party was a hit and things are winding down, now is the time to take photos to save the memories of time spent with family and friends. Have your guest stand in front of some of the decorations as a backdrop for the pictures. Then you can have them developed and share with family and friends.


Follow these 10 Tips for Creating a Spooktacular Halloween Party for Children and it should put your mind at ease and help you stay organized while planning your Halloween Party.

I would love for you to share some of your pictures with me. It would be wonderful to see what you came up with.

I hope you and your family have a great Halloween and be safe.🎃

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy👻

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Donna’s Best Holiday Butter Cookies

10 Best Tips to Create Perfect Cookies

Decadent Chocolate Cake

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Make a Cake: A Step-by-Step Guide 

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

While baking cakes is usually easier than cooking, sometimes things can get quite tricky. This is why you need to know the basics of cake baking.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to baking or have been baking for years, this guide will help you.


How to Make a Cake: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making any cake is not rocket science. However, it is always good to follow the basic rules. By following these 12 easy steps, you will be able to create a beautiful and tasty cake every time. This guide will teach you how to make a cake.

Before you get started, you will need to decide on the cake recipe you would like. You can get a cake recipe here and then click on the Recipe tab. Now that you have your recipe, follow the steps below for a delicious moist made from scratch cake.

KitchenAid
KitchenAid

Step 1: Get Your Kitchen Aid Mixer Ready or Your Mixer of Choice

Get your mixer plugged in, your bowl set on your mixer, and your edge beater (flat paddle if you have a Kitchen Aid) ready to attach to your mixer. Doing this will save you some much-needed time.


Step 2: Prepare Your Baking Pans

Cake Pan
Cake Pan

This is a very important step to do before you pour the batter into the cake pans. Because you do not want your cake layers to stick. I love to use Pam Baking Spray or Bakers Joy Spray. These sprays already have the oil and flour mixed together making greasing and flouring your pans a breeze. One step and you’re done.

You can use two 9-inch pans, two 8-inch pans, or a 13x9x2 inch pan. The choice is yours. The recipe may specify which size pan to use as well. I use non-stick pans, but still, use the spray for assurance my cake layers will not stick and slide out of the pans with ease.


Step 3: Gather Your Ingredients

Gathering Your Ingredients
Gather Your Ingredients

Now that you have all of the ingredients for your recipe, allow them to reach room temperature. This usually only takes about 15-20 minutes. Doing this will allow for butter to mix up easier (you just want the butter to be soft) and allow the eggs to yield a higher cake volume. For food safety reasons, be sure not to leave the eggs out longer than about 20 minutes.


Step 4: Pre-Heat the Oven

Pre-Heat Oven
Pre-Heat Oven

Pre-heat your oven while mixing up your cake. For most cakes it is 350 degrees F. But there again, go by what the recipe says. You don’t want to put your cake into a cold oven and it has to sit there while the oven heats up. This can cause your cake to be dry and not as moist and can decrease the thickness of the layers. (want rise up as pretty).


Step-By-Step Recipe
Step-By-Step Recipe

Step 5: Follow the Recipe Step by Step

Make sure you follow the recipe exactly in order. Don’t try to skip ahead with steps to get it mixed up faster. If you do, you are going to be messing up big time! For example, if you are adding your eggs and the recipe wants you to add them one at a time and mix well before you add another one, you add them one at a time.


Step 6: Mixing the Dry Ingredients

Mix Dry Ingredients
Mix Dry Ingredients

Mix together the dry ingredients first, ie: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, whatever the recipe calls for. You can mix these together in your mixing bowl using a wire whisk.



Step 7: Cream Together Sugar and Butter or Sugar and Shortening

Cream Butter, Sugar, And Shortening
Cream Butter, Sugar, and Shortening

Now you will want cream together either the sugar and butter or sugar and shortening depending on what your recipe calls for. Make sure that your butter is at room temperature. This will take about 15-20 minutes. You just want the butter soft enough to mix up smooth with the sugar. Beat on medium to high speed for about 30 seconds to get a smooth creamy texture. This is the secret to light and fluffy cakes.


Adding The Eggs
Adding the Eggs

Step 8: Let’s Add the Eggs

Typically you add the eggs one at a time mixing well before adding another one. Doing this causes the cake to maintain its structure better. And again go by the recipe. Not all recipes require the eggs to be added one at a time.


Step 9: Combining Dry and Wet Ingredients

Combing Wet and Dry Ingredients
Combing Wet and Dry Ingredients

When it comes to dry and wet ingredients, typically you alternate between the two. You will add a little of the dry mixture followed by the wet (milk, juice) and mix. You alternate like this until they both are added and incorporated into the batter. Make sure you start with the flour and end with the flour. Mix well, but do not over mix.


Step 10: Pour Batter into Prepared Cake Pans

Pour Batter Into Pans
Pour Batter Into Pans

Pour the cake batter evenly into prepared cake pans using a silicone spatula and bake at temperature according to the recipe. Most of the time it is 30-40 minutes. Start out with the lowest time first, you can always increase the time if needed. You can check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it toothpick comes out clean, they are done. If there is any wetness on the toothpick, cook in increments of 5 minutes until done. This will keep you from overcooking the cake and drying it out.


Step 11: Cool the Cake Layers Before Frosting

Cool the Cakes
Cool the Cakes

Place cakes on a cooling rack(s) for 5 minutes, and then turn out on cake rack(s) to finish cooling. (About 60 minutes). To loosen the cakes from the side of the pan you bump the cake pan on the sides or run a knife around the edges. If you have a non-stick pan use a plastic knife so you won’t damage the pans.

Always frost or ice a cool cake! You don’t want your frosting to melt and run off of the cake!


Step 12: Frost a Cool Cake

Frost A Cool Cake
Frost A Cool Cake

Now comes the fun part! Make frosting or icing of your choice and frost the cake. Start by placing the top layer face down on your cake plate where the smoother side is facing up. Then you can place the cake plate on a rotating cake stand for easy frosting and decorating. Next, you want to put about 1/2 cup of the frosting on the first layer, then place the second layer with a smooth layer down (you are putting the smooth bottoms together).

Next, you want to put a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry about how this looks right now. This is called a “crumb coat.” Then place the cake in your fridge or freezer for about 20-30 minutes. This will seal the crumbs in so they want get all in the frosting as you finish frosting the cake.

After the 30 minutes is up, finish frosting the cake. Start with a generous amount on top of the cake working down the sides all around the cake using an offset spatula. You can use circular motions to make a lovely design as you are going around the cake.

If you like you can add sprinkles to the top of your cake for decoration or whatever you like. You can also just leave it like it is with the beautiful swirls.

Follow this guide and you will not go wrong on making a cake. What are you waiting for? Get baking!🎂

FYI: Find all your baking items at bakingwithdonna.com click on The Bakers Shop.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Have You Ever Asked the Question, “Which Flour Should I Use?”

6 Best Cake Mixers of 2021

MY 5 Tips TO Moist Delicious Cakes

What’s the Difference Between Frosting and Icing?

Posted on 1 Comment

6 Best Cake Mixers of 2021

Kitchen Aid Mixer
Kitchen Aid

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Author Picture

Hey, Y’all! Baking has become one of my favorite hobbies. I love having fun in the kitchen, playing with words, and creating my own recipes. Here are 6 of my best cake mixers of 2021.

Read about each one carefully and decide which one is best for your needs. You may not need one of the bigger mixers, it just depends on how much you bake and what you bake. So, before you purchase one of these stand mixers, check each one out.

Set back read and enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget your coffee.☕


#1 KitchenAid Classic KP26M1XER 6 Qt.

KitchenAid KP26M1XCE 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series Bowl
Copper Pearl

I absolutely love my KitchenAid and use it for just more than mixing up cakes, pies, and cookies. I use the dough hook for mixing up my biscuits and cornbread. Plus I have extra attachments for slicing, coarse shredding, and medium shredding. The KitchenAid has a lot more accessories that you can buy. So, really check this out before you make a decision.

FEATURES:

  • 10 different attachments
  • 6-quart stainless steel bowl with comfortable handle
  • Bowl-lift design
  • 10 different speeds, powerful enough for any task or recipe
  • Includes: burnished flat beater, power knead spiral dough hook, wire whip.Electrical:60 Hz
  • Available in 22 awesome colors

#2 Aucma Stand Mixer 6.5-QT 660W

Blue

Is one of Amazon’s best sellers. It is very easy to use and meets all of your kitchen needs for mixing cakes, cookies, pies, bread, muffins, and more. It has a 660W high-performance pure copper motor with lower noise.

FEATURES:

  • Powerful motor & variable speed control
  • 6.5Qt Large capacity bowl with handles
  • Tilt-Head & outside design
  • Comes with 3 mixing accessories: whisk, dough hook, mixing beater
  • Has a splash guard with access hatch helps add ingredients without making a mess
  • Available in 10 beautiful colors

#3 Cuisinart 50BC 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer

Cuisinart SM-50BC 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer
Brushed Chrome, Silver Lining

This is a very nice mixer that has a large mixing bowl that can easily handle full and double batches. This mixer has the capacity to mix large batches of cookies, and large cakes. Need 5 batches of cookies? No worries, this mixer can handle it with no problem.

FEATURES:

  • Polished stainless steel 5.5 quart capacity
  • Powerful 500 watt motor with die cast meal construction
  • Tilt back head for easy access to bowl
  • 12 speeds for precision mixing
  • Chef’s whisk, dough hook, and flat mixing paddle, splash guard w/pour spout
  • Available in 12 lovely colors

#4 COOKLEE Stand Mixer, 9.5 Qt. 660W

COOKLEE Stand Mixer, 9.5 Qt. 660W
Pink Mixer

This mixer has a large enough capacity for mixing bread dough, thick batters, meringues, and whipping cream, plus lower speeds for stirring and finessing your most delicate concoctions. It also has a pulse setting for faster blitzing (a fancy word for chopping, or pureeing food all at once) of nuts, parsley, etc.

FEATURES:

  • 9.5 Quart high capacity stainless steel mixing bowl
  • 10 speeds to handle any size recipe
  • Easy clean up- all the attachments are dishwasher safe
  • Available in 5 colors

#5 Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer
Black

Another very nice mixer that it’s made to help you get the job done fast and efficiently. Capable of handling a variety of mixes and batters such as thick cookie dough, sticky bread dough, and even delicate meringues. It has the same mixing action as the KitchenAid stand mixers.

FEATURES:

  • Tilt-up head for adding ingredients and ease of changing attachments
  • Complete bowl coverage: No scraping necessary
  • Mix hands-free with excellent results every time
  • 300W powerful motor for mixing thick batters
  • 4-Quart stainless steel bowl
  • Dough hook, flat beater, whisk, splash guard
  • 7 speeds and includes a mixing guide
  • Available in 5 awesome colors

Dash Go Everyday Mixer
White

#6 Dash Go Everyday Mixer

If you are looking for a simple yet powerful mixer that doesn’t take up a lot of space, then take a look at this one. This compact mixer may be small, but it packs a powerful punch for mixing,  whipping, beating, or kneading with even, uniform results.

FEATURES:

  • Lightweight, portable and compact
  • 6 preset speeds
  • 2 dough hooks and 2 beaters
  • Revolving bowl can be adjusted for better mixing
  • Can be stored under your kitchen cabinets
  • Available in 9 pretty colors

Now that you are well informed on the 6 Best Cake Mixers of 2021, I’m confident that you will be able to pick out one that suits your needs.

You are well on your way to becoming an awesome baker. So, what are you waiting for, get baking!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Have You Ever Asked the Question, “Which Flour Should I Use?”

BAKING WITH DONNA—HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT PIE CRUST

10 BEST TIPS TO CREATE PERFECT COOKIES

Why I Love My Kitchen-Aide

Posted on Leave a comment

5 cake pans YOU NEED for BAKING CAKES

Different Sized Pans

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Christmas and other holidays are just around the corner and I’m sure you’ll need to bake plenty of baked goodies to share with the people you love.

This is why I’m sharing with you my top 5 favorite cake pans for baking cakes.

There’s something about making a delicious cake from scratch that makes me feel so accomplished. It’s such a great feeling to be able to provide for yourself and your loved ones. And one of the ways you can make your loved ones feel extra special is by making them a delicious cake.

I believe in making it special for them, instead of trying to make the most expensive cake ever. What’s more special than giving someone a homemade cake made with love?

So here are my top 5 cake pans for baking that you will find in my kitchen.

  1. Round Cake Pan– My #1 baking pan I prefer to use is the basic 9 inch round cake pan. Everyone needs a round cake pan. Baking cakes in a round cake pan is so much easier than a square, rectangular or other shaped pans. The most common size for this type of pan is 9 inches in diameter. However, there is a size for everybody. A larger, 14 inch round cake pan is a great choice for a standard layered birthday cake, and smaller 6 inch round pans are great for cupcakes and mini-cakes. Remember that round cake pans are not just for making cakes. They also work well with other baked desserts like cheesecakes and other deserts.
  2. Spring Form Pan – Spring Form Pans are an essential piece of equipment for the baker at home. These types of cake pans first became popular during the 1950’s because they were viewed as more convenient than traditional layer pans. They also happen to be perfect for making all types of cheesecakes.
  3. Bundt Cake Pan– The standard size for Bundt Cake is a 10-inch pan. This pan is great for making Pound Cakes and regular cakes if you just want one thick layer. They come in beautiful designs so you can create a spectacular cake for your events or just for fun.
  4. Angel Food Cake Pan Bakes a classic angel food cake with ease. It is a standard 10 inch-pan. I have one of these that I love and bake my pound cakes in it. Turns out beautiful every time.
  5. Square Cake Pan This is another pan that I love to have in my kitchen as part of my baking ensemble. Some people don’t like baking cakes in them, but I do just for something different. You almost always see round cakes, so occasionally I like to make square ones. They are a little harder to frost, but not that bad. I have 8-inch, 9.5 x 5-inch (this one is a loaf pan), and 9 x 13-inch.

So, there you have it my top 5 cake pans that I love to bake cakes and other sweets in. Of course, you don’t have to go out and buy them all at once. Start with my favorite, the 9-inch round cake pan. I use this one more than the others. You can get these in a set most of the time and that will save you some money.

Then you can gradually add the other pans as needed. Perhaps you could casually mention that you would like to have some cake pans for your birthday or perhaps Christmas.😊

Not busy this weekend? No? Girl, go buy yourself some cake pans and surprise your family or friends with one of my tasty cakes. Go ahead, you can do it!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Have You Ever Asked the Question, “Which Flour Should I Use?”

Why I Love My Kitchen-Aide

10 techniques for delicious homemade Pound Cake

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FROSTING AND ICING?

Posted on Leave a comment

MY 5 Tips TO Moist Delicious Cakes

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Image of Author

Hey, y’all! Today I am going to share with you “My 5 Tips To Moist Delicious Cakes.” Yup, that’s right. Just like all your favorite recipes. Are you ready to find out what they are? Well, first of all, I am a lover of all things sweet. I just love desserts and treats. I have to say this is probably my favorite thing about baking and creating cakes and cupcakes.

Many people make the mistake of choosing a cake mix because it is “easier”. However, what they don’t realize is that cake mixes are full of preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients that will make your cake dense and dry.

Do you know why Sara Lee uses a cake mix for their cakes? The answer is simple: convenience. It takes longer to prepare a homemade cake or cupcakes than it does a store-bought cake. But homemade cakes and cupcakes are so much more enjoyable than store-bought ones.

The ones you buy from the bakeries, you don’t really know how long they have been frozen before they are thawed out and decorated.

“My 5 Tips To Moist Delicious Cakes”

  1. White Lily Unbleached Self-Rising Flour-I love this flour for all of my cakes except Pound Cake. It makes my cakes so light and fluffy.
  2. Borden’s Whole Buttermilk-Great for cake recipes gives a wonderful flavor to your cakes. If the recipe calls for sweet milk, use buttermilk instead.
  3. Canola Oil– Oil is known to make cakes moist and light by keeping the fat and moisture in the cakes. With Moist Delightful Cakes you will get that beautiful light finish that looks and tastes amazing.
  4. Check Your Oven Temperature-Another element to creating moist delicious cakes is checking your oven temperature. Ovens vary so much that it is important to check the temperature of your oven with an oven thermometer. Moist cakes are best baked at 350 F. Don’t over cook!
  5. Follow Recipe-This is as important as the ingredients you use in your cakes. Follow the recipe just as it instructs you to do. For example, if it tells you to add your eggs one at a time and mix well after each one, you need to do that. Speaking of eggs, I prefer to use brown eggs in my cakes.

FYI: Don’t over mix your cake batter, mix until ingredients are well incorporated.

If you follow the above tips, you will be on your way to making moist and delicious cakes for your family and friends. There is nothing like making cakes from scratch and rewarding your family and yourself with their tasty goodness.

Yes, it may take a little more time to make cakes, cookies, pies, etc. homemade, but the rewards far out way the time it takes. And really once you get the hang of it you will be glad you did.

How about this weekend you give it a try and make a cake right from scratch and see if you and your family don’t appreciate the soft moist deliciousness.🧁

I know you can do it! So, get baking!😊

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Have You Ever Asked the Question, “Which Flour Should I Use?”

Why I Love My Kitchen-Aide

10 techniques for delicious homemade Pound Cake

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FROSTING AND ICING?

No time to go to the store? Click on the link below to get yours today!