Aside from cake decorating, saving time in the kitchen is one of my biggest passions. When I’m baking for pleasure, time isn’t necessarily the most important, and I can be more leisurely in the kitchen. However, as a business owner, I strive to be as efficient as possible to maximize my profit when baking for clients.
Over the last 17 years of being in the cake industry, I’ve learned a few ways to save time. It may only feel like a few minutes here and there, but those minutes add up quickly! Here are a few of my favorite time-saving kitchen hacks.
1. Mise en Place
This French phrase translates literally to “put in place.” What it means to a baker is to gather all of your tools and ingredients so that everything you need is right at your fingertips.
This practice not only saves time in the kitchen, but it also improves the accuracy of your recipe by decreasing the margin of error and ensures you have all of your ingredients before you get started. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting halfway through a recipe only to realize you’ve run out of an ingredient.
2. Using a Scale
While measuring cups and spoons have their place in baking, utilizing a scale is more accurate and creates fewer dishes to wash. Converting recipe measurements from volume to weight is fairly easy with the use of this handy kitchen conversions cheat sheet.
3. Softening Cold Butter
Even with the best of intentions, I often forget to set out my butter to give it enough time to come to room temperature. In a perfect world, I would set it out the night before so I can use it first thing in the morning, but that just doesn’t always happen.
On those days when I need soft butter in a hurry, I use one or more of these tricks to speed up the warming process:
• Cut cold butter into thin slices
• Smash a stick of butter with the heel of your hand (also allows you to let out a little stress!)
• Place butter in the hottest part of the kitchen, typically near the stove or oven if in use
• Microwave butter for 15–30 seconds on low and repeat until soft but not melted
4. Bringing Cold Eggs to Room Temperature
Unlike butter, eggs cannot sit out overnight. If you need eggs right away, try this quick and easy trick. To bring cold eggs up to room temperature, put them in a bowl and cover them with warm tap water. Do this first thing when you walk into the kitchen, and your eggs will reach the perfect temperature by the time the rest of the ingredients are gathered.
5. Batch Bake and Freeze
Cakes can easily be made in advance and frozen without the fear of the quality or taste suffering. Just bake the cake, let it cool, wrap it in two to three layers of plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer for up to three months! If you don’t need to use the pans again, you can wrap your cake while it’s still in the pan for extra protection.
These helpful tips are sure to save you a few precious minutes the next time you’re in the kitchen and ready to bake. Do you have any time-saving kitchen hacks? Share them with us in the comments below!