Continuing on from part two of my “Ultimate Guide On How To Run A Bake Club”
What recipes do I choose?
Who chooses the recipes? I do. Don’t get me wrong the members have some input, but there are some fairly strict criteria. Here are the conditions I run with, yours might be different, but at least this will give you a starting point.
- Our meetings last for 2 hours, we have a maximum of 8 participants.
- Recipes have to have readily sourced ingredients (for that reason I mainly shop at woollies) because we want people to be able to make them again at home.
- I try to base the meetings around a theme, Cupcakes and cookies, Sponge, Easter, Mothers day, things that have chocolate in them. You get the picture we’ve even done meetings on one type of cake like Hummingbird. This might not be possible if you have to juggle tins etc. Themes are nice but not a must.
- Recipes have to be weighed, prepared and baked off within 2 hours. A little bit over isn’t so bad, but we try hard to keep it to 2 hours. We want people to enjoy their experience.
- No complicated techniques that take too long.
- Nothing that needs cooling, freezing or setting overnight like cheesecakes or jellies.
Here are some ideas that might help get some of the more time-consuming recipes added to your bake club list.
- For pastries and the like that need resting or chilling time, we use the freezer. For example, if the recipe states rest for 30 minutes in the fridge, we rest in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes for a similar result. Ok, it’s not perfect, but it’s not going to stop us. For pastries that take time to make, like puff pastry, we make rough puff, or we buy it. (We make sure it’s made with butter though, it still has to taste good,)
- If the recipe states bake for 1 ½ hours, we pop the cake batter into muffin tins or mini loaf tins. They’ll cook much faster in smaller tins; you get the picture. They’re also easy to split up at the end of the meeting.
- The instructions need to be simple for bake club. Although in saying that if you look at a recipe and the instructions go over two or three pages, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s complicated. It might just mean that the person that wrote it has told you how to do every little step. I tend to do that when I’m writing recipes. At least then if you’re not sure of a technique, then you can learn along the way.
Where do I get my recipes?
After six years I still can find loads of recipes. We’ve pretty much gone through all the ones we use to make for our Cafe. Those that can be done and dusted in a couple of hours that is. I am writing new recipes all the time, but I tend to use those in classes. For Bake Club though, I have a serious collection of cookbooks, and I have some bloggers I have faith in.
Just remember our cups and tablespoon measurements are different from most other places in the world. A lot of recipes online are from the states, and their cups and tablespoons are the bain of my life. lol. They even have recipes that call for eight tablespoons of butter. Don’t let that put you off though I’ve made a handy guide for you to download for free. Download it, google stuff or just choose recipes that call for grams.
The first thing I like to do when creating a new recipe is to alter all the measurements into grams. This will give you a repeatable recipe once that can be consistently made with the same results.
If you are asked to add a cup of flour, is that an Aussie cup or an American cup, is it sifted or unsifted, is it packed or is it scooped and levelled? See what I mean. As a rule, as you are converting the whole recipe to grams, you should be fine, no matter where it comes from. Unless the recipe is just no good, that happens, trust me.
I ask our Bake Club girls to make any adjustments and enter any measurements in grams on their recipe sheets. That way at the end of Bake Club week I can enter the adjustments before sending the recipes to them. They turn cups to grams, and mils into grams as they go. That way we all have the same recipe that can be consistently made again next time. Also if we need to make any adjustments, we can easily do it in grams and record what we’ve done.
Next, I go back and check the criteria most important it has to be done and dusted in 2 hours and doesn’t have to set or sit in a fridge or freezer for lengthy periods.
I type (lucky I was taught to touch type in high school, why don’t we teach that in high school these days?) the recipes into a program called “Living Cookbook”. Or I copy and paste recipes that look brilliant from the blogs I love and trust.