13 May 2009

Baking as part of your regular routine

Part of my routine every week is to make something sweet for morning teas or desserts. This is a simple thing for me to whip up, I rarely use recipes because I have a stable of favourite recipes that are used in a kind of loose rotation and even though we have the same things repeatedly, their appearance on the table is far enough apart not to bother anyone.

Both my sons are fine dining chefs. These are Shane's cook books that are currently being stored in our guest bedroom. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Someone in my real life commented the other day that people don't commonly bake now like they did in the old days and that cake stalls are always popular with everyone from small children to older folk. (We were discussing fundraising.) That got me thinking about those of you who are new to baking and cooking from scratch so I thought it would be a good idea to write about a few basic recipes and the ins and outs of home baking as part of your routine.

Soon after I stopped buying ready made desserts, cakes and biscuits (cookies), Hanno and I started our morning ritual of morning tea on the front verandah. Anyone who knows the European way of socialising, would know that often coffee and cake are part of the mix, so for Hanno, tea or coffee without something sweet to eat was not an option. So I bake a cake or biscuits at some point during the week, usually when I'm also baking our daily bread. If I don't get the chance to bake a cake I whip up scones or pikelets. They're easy, I always have the ingredients in the fridge and pantry, and they'll be ready in half an hour. So if you're starting out and want to incorporate this into your routine, the first thing I suggest is to have a group of recipes that are firm family favourites and you put some time aside each week to bake. But you'll also need another group of easier and quicker recipes that you use when there is nothing made and you want something quick. You'll need these recipes when someone phones to say they'll be dropping in to visit in the next hour. It used to be the sign of a good country cook that you could have a plate of scones, hot from the oven and ready to eat, in 30 minutes.

My fast recipes are:
Scones - plain, date and sultana (golden raisin). For scones you'll need flour, butter, a pinch of salt and sugar and some milk. Most of you will have those supplies always on hand. You can go from zero to hot scones on a plate in about 30 minutes. Scone recipe. You can make any plain scone into date or fruit scones by adding a bit more sugar to the mix as well as a cup of chopped dates or sultanas (golden raisins).

Pikelets. Pikelets are little pancakes and like scones you'll probably have the ingredients on hand. They too are made and on the plate in half and hour. Pikelet recipe.

So those are your two standby recipes, the ones you quickly whip up when there is nothing else to eat or when unexpected visitors arrive. They are simple fare but don't be fooled, serving a plate of fresh, warm scones or pikelets topped with jam and cream are one of life's great luxuries. High tea always includes scones, it's a classic. Practise making scones and pikelets quickly for your family on a few occasions so you know the recipe and can make a fast plate when you need to.

Your other standard recipes can be part of your normal baking routine for the week. If you're working outside the home, bake on the weekend and freeze part of what you bake. Most cakes, scones, pikelets and biscuits can be frozen. As you go through the week, just take out what you need for that day from your freezer. If you're working at home, like me, you'll probably have a time set aside for your weekly baking, although those of you with a family larger than mine (just the two of us) will obviously bake more often, maybe twice or three times a week.

My rotation of cakes includes orange and coconut cake, lemon cake, apple cake, banana and walnut cake and tea cake. The ingredients for all these cakes are very similar, the flavouring is different and is usually dependent on what I have growing in the backyard or in the kitchen at that time. Try to use what you have on hand, don't make a special trip to the supermarket to get your ingredients. If you don't have a list of favourite recipes, try perfecting a pound cake and add different flavourings - pound cake recipe. To this recipe you could easily add choc chips, dates, orange or lemon zest and juice, blueberries, sultanas, bananas, nuts, coffee or ginger and other spices. Once you've perfected your pound cake recipe, experiment with it.

Another baking tip is to use all the special ingredients when you buy them. For instance, if you buy a bag of choc chips or nuts for a recipe and don't use all of them in your cake or biscuits (cookies), the next time you bake, bake something that will use it up. If you're going to get serious about your baking, you don't want little bits and pieces in the pantry. Buy a pack, use it all, then buy something else. Try not to waste anything.

I hope I've given you a couple of ideas to get you started on regular baking. If you can replace store bought cakes and cookies with those you make at home, you'll cut down on a lot of preservatives and artificial flavourings that are present in store bought baked goods. They have to make their products to sit on a shelf until someone buys them, you don't. When I make a cake for just Hanno and I, I usually cut it in half and freeze half of it so it lasts longer. If you have a larger family you wont have to do that. But don't be put off thinking it's only you, or you and your partner, because almost everything can be frozen and defrosted in portions to suit you.

There are millions of recipes online. My particular favourite place is taste.com.au. Their recipes and photos are clear, and generally it is good wholesome food. joyofbaking.com is also good, it's an American site, and Delia Online is a good starting point for my UK friends. And you can't go past baking911.com for recipes, ideas and troubleshooting. This is a superb site for all new and experienced bakers because they explain why things work, and don't, for all forms of baking, including bread. So there you have it. I hope you have enough information here and the motivation within to start working on a regular baking routine. It's a fine thing to offer hospitality to visitors and good food to your family that you have made yourself. Think back to your childhood, I bet their is a favourite memory there of cakes or pies or biscuits. You can help create those memories for your family too. Home baking is one of those enriching and feel good parts of a simple life that almost everyone can do.

And finally, this is the other recipe for crumpets I promised one of the ladies recently. This one is baked crumpets. I haven't tried this recipe, it's from my old CWA (Country Women's Association) cook book and is typed exactly as it appears in the book:

Break two eggs in to a basin, beat slightly, add 2 teaspoons sugar. Sift ½lb SR flour in another basin, pour in eggs to make a light dough - a little milk may be needed. Work quickly. Roll to ½ inch thick. Cut into rounds. Prick with a fork. Bake in hot oven for ten minutes. Tear open and butter while hot.

Happy baking everyone.

ADDITION: Bec's comment made me realise I should add this. If you want to freeze your cakes, do it without the icing or filling. You can add icing or frosting if you want it when the cake is defrosted. Also, you can freeze a cake whole or in slices. If you slice it, put little pieces of baking paper or freezer sheet between each slice and reshape the cake back to its original form. Then place in a plastic bag to freeze. This will stop the cake slices drying out.

You can also freeze biscuits, slices (without icing), scones, muffins and cookies. Just place them in a plastic bag when they're completely cold, remove as much air from the bag as possible, and freeze for up to three months.



  1. Rhonda Jean, thank you so much for this post. I am very new to cooking from scratch and full of mistakes ! I am going to try all these and work on making them something I can "whip up" all the time.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I really appreciate it.

    Many Blessings :)

  2. I love baking and as there are just two of us, I usually bake 2-4 times what we need and freeze it. When I make American muffins, I like doing choc chip and blueberry (frozen ones right out of the freezer). I sometimes make banana bread (a cake really) but it's not my favourite. The other week I bought some walnut pieces, thinking to add them to my regular fruit cake. When we had a huge surplus of bananas a few days later, I made banana bread with walnuts; it brought the usual recipe to a wonderful new level! Now, reading your post, I can see where the inspiration came from; thanks again; it bubbled away in my old brain and came out at last!

  3. I have enjoyed reading your blog regularly for the last month or so after hearing a small part of your radio interview. In many respects I find it quite nostalgic as so much of what you write about relates to my 'growing up' years in Western Australia in the fifties.
    I'm a regular baker, every few days, cakes, biscuits, scones, slices etc., but these days I have one ongoing problem. It's my Anzac biscuits; HELP. I wonder if you or any of your readers has a solution. The processors of rolled oats (both organic and mainstream brands) appear to treat them in a different way then 20 or 30 years ago; they are often hard and almost polished so that they do not absorb moisture during the mixing process and when cooked are a disappointment. Any suggestions?
    I hope you have an enjoyable day, and thank you for the effort you put in to giving others a thought provoking and educational read every morning. The weather here in northern NSW is glorious at present so I expect your's is the same.
    Best wishes, Ann

  4. That lemon cake was divine. I took some to my neighbor across the street for Mothers Day and she also said it was the best lemon cake she's ever eaten. Thanks for that recipe, and also for the crumpet recipe (although I have not tried making the crumpets yet).

    I have been to a couple of tea-shops here in midwestern USA, and they don't have a solid clue as to what it's all about. The last one I went to charged $9 for a single pot of tea, and served it up plain or with lemon (when I requested a bit of milk, they were terribly confused as to what I wanted it for ); and alongside, served tasteless, cold little scone bricks obviously baked some time in the previous days. Then the owner hovered over us, telling us how to enjoy our morning tea, like some sort of imperious tea-shop dominatrix.

    It was so horrible, it was funny.

    It was a birthday gift, so now I have to comment anonymously in case my poor MIL and SIL find out it's me. :-)

  5. Hi Rhonda, with my five young children I tend to increase cak recipes so I make four at a time; then I cut them all up and store them for the week (or less!) in large tupperware containers.
    In regards to freezing cakes - do they freeze/thaw bette whole or cut? Sometimes it can be a number of days from when we run out to when I can bake again and I would like to freeze some to have on hand.
    Biscuts don't freeze do they???
    We rarely have icing (birthday cakes do though) so icing won't be something extra to do after thawing.
    For almost the last three weeks we have been without a computer so yesterday and today I have been catching up on reading your blog. I missed it. It has been really nice reading about home life in your recent posts.
    You have intrigued me with mention of home shoe repair. I have an intrest in learning the leather craft (my nana used to make wallets and handbags for the family) and have often thought of shoes - how wasteful shoes are these days with few being repaired. Both of these areas will be something to pursue in the future.
    Loving the simple life, Bec xxx

  6. I had the funny experience the other day. It was my son's 6th birthday and I baked his cake for the party. Six out of ten parents there asked me where I had bought it and had trouble believing that anyone would bake from scratch.

    Thank-you for your daily inspiration!!

    in Melbourne

  7. My mum had a rotation of goodies too, Rhonda, pikelets being our favourite (although I still wonder about my brother's preference for topping them with peanut butter and soy sauce!). Will have to try your crumpet recipe; the shop ones just don't cut it anymore.

    Two of my children have food issues (one intolerance and one gluten-free). I bake for a few hours on Sunday afternoons - to the accompaniment of early jazz or blues - and stock my freezer with goodies for the week. A lot of work, but much tastier and much less expensive!

    The Commonsense Cookery Book has been a great jumping-off point for fabulous, wholesome food.


  8. Ace, don't forget to look at Baking 911. It will help you. Good luck, you're doing a good thing.

    Attila, LOL better late than never.

    Rosebank Magic, welcome. I think they steam the oats now. I use Kialla oats and they appear to be the same as those we used many years ago. Anyhow, that is beside the point. Hopefully this may help: soak your oats in a similar way you soak them for porridge. This increases the nutritional benefits significantly because it breaks down the outer casing and allows our bodies to absorb the nutriton in the oats during the short amount of time they're in our stomachs and intestines. Once they're soaked overnight, spread them out and allow them to dry out a bit before using them in your normal ANZAC recipe. I made Anzac biscuits this week and they turned out fine. Good luck.

    Anon,glad the lemon cake was a hit. LOL, we'll keep your secret.

    Bec, I answered your question in an addition to the post. Yes, biscuits freeze well.

    Claire, I hear things like that all the time. It's amazing what people are missing out on isn't it.

  9. Cath, your kitchen sounds like a real delight. I love the Commonsense cook book too. I don't have one of them at the moment but I'm on the lookout for a second hand one.

  10. Pikelets are a standby in our family too - we all love them. Especially with sugar & lemon juice on top!

    My brownie recipe is another great standby in our family, I can have it ready in about 30 minutes, maybe less.

    I have a 'cheat sheet' on my fridge - it lists the ingredients, cooking temp & time (as tested for my oven!) of our favourites on it. I use it a quick reminder.

    A friend & I were discussing your point of people not baking anymore. She was showing me how to make pastry horns (for cream horns), because I'd admired a batch she'd made. They were so easy! We talked about how people get so impressed when we make something from scratch like that, we thought maybe lots of people just had never been shown how to make things like that.

  11. Hi Rhonda, i enjoyed your post this morning on baking,i live alone, so whatever i make a lot goes in the freezer for later, i made scones on Sunday morning, and when they were cool i cut them in half and put shredded cheese,sliced spanish onion and 1/2 of a baby Roma Tomato and a basil leaf on top and back into the oven, for 15 min's, they were lovely as a nibble before our lunch on Mother's day, and no added nasties in them, Regard's Carol

  12. What a handy post! Thanks Rhonda I will be back tonight for a more thorough read.

    I have two days a week I can bake as a rule unless I bake in the evening which I'd rather not do.To get around that I've tried some shortcuts to baking. The freezer is a big help: I freeze pikelets, muffins etc. Also biscuit dough which is rolled into a cylinder ready to cut. Cheers.

  13. Oh, yum. I just gained five pounds reading your post.

    I was just thinking about this very thing today, how thrifty it is to have homemade baked goods for my guys.

    What sparked this was a quick trip to the store with my husband and noticing the outrageous prices for baked goods.

    I chatted with my daughter about it on the phone. She said that she is so thankful she was raised learning to cook and bake. It has saved them a lot of money. She is also an excellent cook.

    You are a poet with a keyboard as a pen! :)

  14. Great post again.

    One thing I do is when making biscuits I freeze them uncooked. Rolled out put on tray, freeze when frozen bag.

    This way whenever the oven is on I can have fresh homemade biscuits without having to mix/clean up. I have frozen most for up to two weeks no problem (you could probably freeze longer they just dont last that long).



  15. Hi Rhonda - great post for explaining how to bake simply and quickly. I don't think many people realise how easy it is. Both my husband and I are able to quickly whip up scones. He also makes a great shortcake without a recipe, to the amazement of our friends.

    Years ago when I was living in a group house my house mate expressed amazement that I cooked cakes from scratch. My mum always cooked from scratch so I had never even considered using packet cakes. I was surprised to discover that packet cakes are really no different from a normal cake - you still need to add milk and egg so why bother? They are expensive and taste horrible!
    To the lady who wants to make Anzacs - I use a Margaret Fulton recipe (she calls them highland oatmeal cookies). It works fine with rolled oats.
    cheers Rebecca Blackburn

  16. Hi Rhonda,
    lovely entry today......and very fitting in my family. I bake every Sunday night, and Wednesday , two cakes, and biscuits for lunchbox treats for the children. Its just how I was brought up...desserts in the winter time, most dinners from scratch...pikelets for play days, scones for afternoon tea on a Sunday....lovely...........have a lovely day..........Suzanne

  17. Great post, Rhonda Jean. I will try some of your recipes soon, especially the Lemon Cake. Here in Georgia we make Cobbler as a fast dessert, using ingredients usually on hand. This is my Mama's Cobbler Recipe: 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 sticks butter, 3 or more cups fruit(peaches, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries) and water. Mix all the dry ingredients except about 1/4 cup of the sugar. Put the fruit into the bottom of a 13x9x2 rectangular glass pan, and add water to cover. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the fruit, and then also sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar over that. Bake at 400 degrees until brown and bubbly.
    I hope you enjoy!

  18. Hi Rhonda,
    I know you posted about reading Nourishing Traditions relatively recently, so I'm interested in your take on highly refined white flour and sugar? Although clearly, homemade is a vast improvement on bought, I find am baking less and less frequently for my young children these days because I worry about their health - I'm not sure if white scones with butter for afternoon tea are much better than a store-bought muesli bar, for example?

    Cheers, Julie

  19. Hi Rhonda Jean :) What an excellent, encouraging post! Thanks so much for the time you took to type it and to set all of the links. Love & hugs, Q

  20. Rhonda Jean:

    It is strange how your blog posts almost read my mind. I have been thinking about baking our own bread, but where to find the time???

    I know it is like anything else...you do it so many times, it becomes a habit.

    I wonder if women everywhere are collectively thinking about simple living, or if your topics just hit where many women are in their lives.

    Thanks for all you share with us! Your blog is one of my daily must-reads.

    Working hard at www.sccworlds.com

  21. After being married 13 years I have slowly taught myself how to bake from scratch because of the cost, taste and alleries/intollerances. I was never taught how to bake from scratch because my Mum worked and never had time. I grew up in the 80's when "sisters were doing it for themselves" - but at what cost? The legacy they left are women who don't want to be housewives, cooks or bakers. I love the simplicity of providing for my family and am SO GLAD I stumbled across your blog. I'm learning every day. Thank you Rhonda Jean.

  22. Hi Rhonda
    Thank you for that pikelet recipe. I had a favourite pancake/pikelet recipe that I used all the time a few years back and it mysteriously disappeared and I have never been able to find one that worked like that one did. The recipe that you have referred to looks very similar so I will have to give it a go and see if they come out as light and fluffy as my previous ones did.....(you would think all pikelet recipes would be pretty similar wouldn't you lol, but I can assure you they aren't, I have tried plenty!!!)
    So thank you once again it is really appreciated.
    Reading your blog every few days is like being wrapped up in a warm fluffy blanket on a cold winters day, it is such a strange way to describe it I guess but that is how your posts make me feel.
    All the best and please....keep up the blogging lol!

  23. Hi RJ
    As you know I too love to bake and have a son with food intolerances. I always bake in large batches - so if I am baking a cake I make two and freeze one cut in half (it thaws quicker this way and I only get 1/2 out at a time). With biscuits i normally favour the roll into balls type recipes I try to make double or triple the recipe so I can freeze some uncooked dough. I'll try to post the butterscotch cookies (biscuits) recipe later today on my blog - it has become a firm favourite with my children.

  24. Rhonda Jean, I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago and it is such an encouragement. Thank you. I'm a single mother but still able to be at home most of the time with my children. I have been doing some of the things you suggest for a while but am learning all types of new things. Most of all, I want to thank you for that lemon cake recipe. I made it last weekend and everyone was raving over it. Thank you for sharing all of your recipes and helps.

    Joy in VA

  25. Thank you for the post Rhonda! I've been a baking-girl since I was little and Mum let me help her in the kitchen.

    These days I bake biscuits on Sunday night so I can portion them out and take them to work during the week. I usually have enough extras to treat workmates who really appreciate a home-baked treat.

    This week's batch of cookies are 'cornflake cookies' (a classic Women's Weekly recipe) made a little more healthy and cheaper by substituting nuts and dried fruit for the white chocolate chips!

    I also enjoy decorating cupcakes... pictures in my flickr account:


  26. Hi Julie, I think Nourishing Traditions is the most liberating of all the cookbooks I've read in the last 10 years, however, as with all things I take what I want and leave the rest. I tend to go with the traditional way of eating of my grandparents and rather than not use butter and refined flours, I prefer to stay away from preservatives and artificial colours and flavours. Baked goods, balanced by healthy foods, including fruit,vegetables and dairy products, have kept me healthy all these years so I'll stick with the program. I had a full blood check recently and everything, including cholesterol, was normal. But, I think everyone is different and each family has a tendency towards certain ailments. You are right to give your family the foods you believe are good for them, no matter what anyone else does. I do the same. Cheers Julie!

    Lis, I'll check out your recipe later. Thank you.

    Thanks to everyone who shared a favourite recipe.

  27. Thank you for this! I was just thinking this afternoon that I want to make some scones and needed to find a recipe. :) I have been baking since I was 7 and truly love the baking days I have with my kids. We whip up bread, pancakes, and a snacky treat once a week if we can. We are a family of 6 so things get eaten pretty quickly around here. My daughter is only 8 and can already make bread by her self (well except for the oven)that seriously rivals mine if its not better. :) She loves baking. Thanks for the recipes I know what we will be making this week.

  28. I'm from America and I would like to know what a "Pikelet" is.

    I've enjoyed your post. Thank you.

    God Bless


  29. I don't really bake anymore as I am diabetic, but I do sometimes bake for other people. (Not often though. If I am hosting a family holiday dinner one of my daughters will volunteer to make the dessert!) But a very quick and easy and economical sweet thing to make for unexpected guests might be crepes (what Hungarians call palacsinta). Just one egg, one cup of flour and one cup of milk is the very most basic recipe for this. Let the batter stand a few minutes for the flour to thicken if you can spare the time. Cook them on one side until you see a few bubbles and turn them. You can just use a bit of butter of the pan. Then spread a jam you like on them and roll them up. When they are all done, sprinkle with some powdered sugar if you want. We like apricot or raspberry jam best.

  30. This is a postscript to what I wrote a few minutes ago. I don't bake the much anymore, but I have made wedding cakes for both of my daughters and four nephews since wedding cake is so ridiculously overpriced. I took a class to learn how to do the raised layers and used Rose Birnbaum Levy's Cake Bible for some wonderful recipes and decorate the cake with edible flowers......This is a family tradition for me now. It began as a wedding gift for the first nephew to marry. I also made sheet cakes for Girl Scout events - also because they wanted $48.00 for something I could make better, with better ingredients, for three or four dollars.

  31. To Julie:

    If you're concerned about scones, muesli bars are easy to make from scratch. My basic formula (from the Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate) is:

    1 cup wholemeal SR flour
    2 cups rolled oats
    150g butter, melted
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tbsp golden syrup

    Stir butter and syrup together and mix into other ingredients. Press into a slice tray and bake for 15-20 min until brown. Cut into bars while hot.

    My kids prefer them frozen - nice and chewy! I sometimes add other ingredients such as natural sultanas, dried apricots (sulphite-free), nuts, etc. Good to make a double batch as they disappear quite rapidly.


  32. When I bake cakes I cook them as cup cakes and freeze. They are quicker to cook and in the perfect portion size - I then put them in a zip lock bag and freeze. About 20 seconds in the microwave per little cake and instant evening snack. I also freeze biscuit dough in balls, then when I want to cook some in a hurry I put the required number on the baking tray, put in the oven. After a few minutes I squash them down.

  33. I find that muffins are another quick treat to make, I often have some frozen ones in the freezer that I can quickly defrost. When I make biscuits, I favour the sort that can be made into a long roll, refrigerated (or frozen) then slice off and make a tray as required.
    I love baking and eating the results but find that as I'm getting older I need to eat a bit less of the treats.

  34. Hello Rhonda Jean, thanks for your fabulous blog. I have been a regular reader for over a year now but this is my first comment. Thanks for your post yesterday (I think?) about living simply wherever you are, and repeating Gandhi's comment. I live by that now, trying to live and love well. And definitely not always succeeding! I have two young children, my own business, lots of crazy to-ing and fro-ing. But simplicity can be made and found everywhere.

    Re baking, for those with dairy intolerances/allergies, rice milk is an excellent substitute for regular cow's milk or soy milk when baking. And Nuttelex (not sure of availability outside Oz) the dairy-free margarine also substitutes well for butter. So you can make dairy-free scones with Nuttelex and rice milk - my dad can't tell the difference and he's been spoilt with my mum's scones for the last 40 years. With pikelets you can use vegetable or other plain oil to substitue for melted butter (if you use), or melted Nuttelex. I also find that for our modern tastes a lot of the older recipes can have the quantity of sugar cut back dramatically, while still tasting great.

    Thanks again Rhonda Jean, looking forward to your book!

    Ally in Sydney

  35. Today's Sydney Morning Herald has two easy cake recipes! An orange cake at:

    and a fast chocolate cake using your boiling water method Rhonda.

  36. Dear Rhonda, I'd really like to try out the scones, but I have a question about the flour. I'm not exactly sure what the difference between regular flour and self-raising flour is. Here in Germany all recipies use regular flour and baking soda. Maybe this combination substitutes for SR flour? I'm not really an experienced baker so I have no idea!

  37. What a useful post. I've baked for as long as I can remember and am always reluctant to buy shop cakes and biscuits but don't always have time to bake every week. The last cake I baked was a lovely Victoria Sandwich that I cut into 3 and froze 2 portions.

    I'm afraid that in recent years I've found that sugar (along with yeast) doesn't really agree with me so try to avoid it wherever possible which is difficult as I love cakes/biscuits etc.

    I'm known for my baking and always get asked to 'man' the cake stall at the church fete in our village. My son is also a chef like yours and although only 21 (this Thursday) is doing really well at it.

    Thank you for your continuting advise and encouragement.


  38. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks, I thought that might be the case :-)

    To Cath: Ah ha, another Failsafe devotee! We love those bars too, thanks :-)

    Cheers, Julie

  39. This is a great post Rhonda. Really helpful and inspiring me to cut down on the number of bought treats in the house. It's a sign of your skill as a cook that both of your sons are chefs. You obiously instilled in them a love of good food.
    I also love the idea of whipping up a batch of scones for unexpected visitors. I must try to improve my speed baking!

  40. Rhonda Jean you are so right about people not baking anymore...
    Most I know go to the store and buy cakes, cookies, etc from the bakery section or buy premade mixes.
    Terribly sad!
    I enjoy baking, it's so enjoyable!
    Wishing you a lovely day! Ü

  41. What a lovely post. I used to do quite a bit of baking but sadly I don't any longer. I guess as we get older and our metabolisms slow down we can't eat as much of this wonderful food like we used to. I still like to bake healthy whole grain breads though.

  42. I started making my own breakfast breads many years ago in an effort to cut down on sugar, white flour and fat. When I am baking, I control what goes in.

    For oil, I use apple sauce. I generally use half white/half wheat flour and I usually cut the sugar by 1/3 to 1/2.

    I have to admit that I only rotate three recipes but I am not easily bored by eating favourite recipes.

    I usually find my inspiration at recipezaar.com. I pick my recipes carefully often using ones that have been heavily reviewed. For the most part... very happy with the quality of the recipes.

  43. Hey Rhonda!
    I,too, have a few stand-by's for something sweet, but I don't bake as often as I used to. My hips don't lie, and they are telling me to lay off some of the goodies!
    But when company is coming, I usually will whip up something sweet. I have a banana sheet cake recipe that is a winner every time. So moist and delicious!

  44. I bake all of the time. My Grandma taught me when I was a little girl. I make cookies, sweet rolls, cake, bread, etc. My children love my baked goods better than store bought. My treats for them are a lot healthier for them then the chemical laden ones.

  45. Hi Rhonda this post is very timely for me as I am in the middle of setting up a baking routine. I like the idea of have a few whip up recipes to produce in limited time. I've added your lemon cake to my regular list, thank you. The other comments today have lots of great ideas.


  46. Now you have me craving cake - I hardly ever do, and neither does anyone else in my family, so I don't make it on a regular basis. My weekly baking includes bread and cookies or brownies, with an occasional pie for a treat.

  47. Rhonda Jean, I hope you don't mind my asking, but do you have a 'you beaut' method of keeping recipes you've collected?
    I have mine in a display book (the kind with plastic pages) and all my handwritten notes, or pages pulled from magazines are in there. It's not the most attractive, or neat method. Is there something you've found that's worked well?
    Kind regards,
    alecat :)

  48. Thankyou for the reminder... I do enjoy baking, so do the children... mostly my eldest (currently 9yo) bakes - quite adept at reading receipes, mixing, prepping and baking - a lovely apple pie last weekend from scratch :)

    I do like it when I make time in the week to bake... so thankyou for the reminder... reminding me how much I enjoy it! :D


  49. I love a bookshelf with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall books on it.

  50. Rhonda Jean,

    I absolutely adore reading your blog and especially the recipe section! :D

    I'm not the most enthusiastic baker so when I look for recipes I want something easy and versitile.

    So I thought I might be able to share a recipe I found a long time ago (I hope I'm not breaking copyright by being unable to reference this) for muffins.

    Muffin Master Mix

    280g flour (substitute wholemeal flour, bran, rolled oats, wheat germ for UP TO HALF of the quantity)
    1 T baking powder
    ½ t baking soda - if using yoghurt
    1/8 t salt
    115g castor sugar or soft brown sugar (omit for savoury muffins)
    2 eggs
    250ml milk (or: buttermilk, yoghurt, cream, fruit juice, fruit puree)
    6 T oil (or: 85g butter, melted and cooled)
    1 t vanilla

    Preheat oven to 200. Grease muffin tin and line with muffin cases.

    Sift flour, baking powder and salt into bowl. Stir in sugar. Beat eggs in a bowl then beat in the milk, oil and vanilla.

    Make a well in the centre of the mix and pour in the liquid. Stir gently until combined. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake for 20mins until just risen, golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave muffins in the tin for 5 mins then serve warm.


    Choc chunk
    Sticky date (with toffee sauce)
    Carrot cake (with 1 t mixed spice, 200g grated carrots, 50g chopped walnuts, 50g sultanas, finely grated rind and zest of 1 orange) (icing: 75g soft cream cheese, 40g butter, 35g icing sugar)
    Mint choc chip muffins (with: 150g choc chips, 1 t peppermint essence, 1-2 drops green food colouring)
    Blueberry (150g blueberries)
    Lemon and poppy seed (2 T poppy seed, finely grated rind of 2 lemons)
    Raspberry and white choc
    Cheese and ham (100g ham, 140g grated cheese, pepper)

    Preheat oven and don’t open during cooking
    Measure accurately (esp. with baking powder)
    Don’t overmix (should be just moistened with lumps and a few traces of flour)
    Bake mix immediately
    Don’t overbake


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