How guesswork ruins our cakes

Scotland is now a nation of Baking Bluffers with almost half of us guessing ingredients, approximating cooking times, or worse still, ignoring recipes.
Scotland is now a nation of Baking Bluffers with almost half of us guessing ingredients, approximating cooking times, or worse still, ignoring recipes.

Scotland is now a nation of “Baking Bluffers” with almost half of us guessing ingredients, approximating cooking times, or worse still, ignoring recipes.

This was the finding of research from Scottish Gas which discovered that baking has firmly established itself as one of Scotland’s favourite pastimes with almost half of people (49.3 per cent) seeing it as a hobby.

Many admit to being inspired by The Great British Bake Off, and more than a quarter (27.7 per cent) of viewers in Scotland say the show has given them improved confidence in their baking abilities.

However, despite their guesstimation, Scots show they have skill in the bakery department with only a quarter (25.4 per cent) following foul to burning their bakes, compared to the national average which reveals that (58 per cent) admit to burning their creations, yet more than a quarter (27.4 per cent) are regularly disappointed by the results of their efforts.

While half of those surveyed consider themselves to be good bakers, 94 per cent guessed the wrong cooking time for the ten most popular bakes.

Oven times for family favourites such as Victoria sponge, shortbread and scones were all significantly over-estimated, being left baking for an extra 10 minutes, 11 minutes and 14 minutes respectively. And when it came to cream horns, the research showed these were typically overbaked by as much as 16 minutes.

In response to these findings, Scottish Gas has released its “Smart Bakes” shortlist, which ranks the nation’s top 15 bakes in terms of their energy efficiency and the cost of the ingredients. By following a recipe faithfully, there’s no need for guesswork on how a bake will turn out.

Sarah Scrivener, Smart Energy Expert at British Gas and avid baker, said: “Busking it and introducing some ad hoc baking flair may impress friends, family and even potential love interests, but unfortunately it’s often a recipe for a baking disaster.

“Most of us don’t realise these unplanned moments of cooking creativity will also impact our energy bills through the cost of unnecessary overbaking.

“Having a smart meter and display monitor in the home helps budding bakers be more savvy with energy usage in the kitchen, and focus on what really matters – the cakes!”