Using up ribbon scraps: most bakers I know have a ribbon addiction. Look in any cupboard or spare space in their house and you'll no doubt find a cake stand or scraps of ribbon too "lovely to use on a cake". My boss showed me some of these ribbon wreaths she made as gifts this year and I was stunned! What a fab and easy way to use leftover pieces of ribbon, you can theme them too so they're not just a Christmas wreath or make minI wreaths to hang as ornaments too. There's a great tutorial on how to make them here
Make your own vanilla extract: I did this last year with a 1L bottle of vodka from Aldi and I use it for my home bakes. It's soooo easy to make and I left mine bottled for 3mths before even attempting to open it - definitely worth the wait! You can decant and give it as gifts and even use other types of alcohol to make your own special vanilla extract blend.
Make your own ingredients: some ingredients can be made by using what you already have in your store cupboards:
- Self raising flour: 1 cup plain flour + 1tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt = self raising flour
- Buttermilk: 1 cup milk (preferably whole milk) + 1 tbps of white vinegar + 5mins resting = buttermilk
Make your own pan release: this recipe is a staple in my baking prep. I haven't bought a pan release type product since finding this recipe a few years ago and this stuff even works on giant cupcake pans and 3D tins which can normally be a nightmare to release cakes from. I make small batches and keep it in a lidded container in the cupboard, it can separate so a storage tub you can shake is best!
Keep those candy melts: we sell a lot of candy melts in the shop I work in and it surprises me how many people throw away leftover candy melts. If I'm making cake pops and I have a lot of melts left I'll pour them onto some cling film and twist them up to use again on another day (just remember to note the use by date on the bag). If I only have a small amount of melts leftover then I'll pipe them into my silicone button moulds and make lots of buttons to store in an airtight container. These always come in use for last minute cake orders or bakes for school events.
Freeze leftover cake batter: this tip was a revelation to me! I never thought you could freeze cake batter so I experimented by freezing some cupcake batter in a plastic piping bag. I left it in the freezer for a few days and then let it come to room temperature before snipping off the end of the bag and piping the contents into cupcake cases. The cupcakes baked perfectly and domed really nicely. They tasted fab and I now use this method if I'm baking an odd number of cupcakes as there's only so much cake my family can eat ;) I also store baked cupcakes in the freezer for cake pops so if you have an overbake and no time to make cake pops at the time then just freeze them for another day!
Want banana bread and have no overipe bananas to use? Pop them in the freezer for a day or two and then when defrosted they'll ripen really quickly. I also store ripe bananas this way if I know I won't have time to make banana bread.