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Baking with kids: 7 ingredient hacks to avoid a trip to the shop

If you’re trying to bake cakes with a not-so-well-stocked store cupboard, never fear. These easy ingredient swaps will help you make delicious buns without a last-minute dash to the shops…

Making fairy cakes with the kids is the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon, until you open the cupboards and realise you’re missing a key ingredient or two…

No self-raising flour…

No self-raising flour in the cupboard? As long as you’ve got some plain flour and baking powder you can make your own. Just add roughly one-and-a-half teaspoons of baking powder per cup of flour.

No baking chocolate…

If you’re craving chocolate fairy cakes, there’s no need for a bar of chocolate, as long as you’ve got cocoa (hot chocolate) and butter. Three tablespoons of cocoa and one of butter should equal around an ounce of chocolate - and it’s less likely to get eaten before it makes it into the mixing bowl!

No baking powder…

If you want your buns to have the perfect rise but you’re all out of baking powder, you can make your own using half a teaspoon of cream of tartar and a quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Out of those too? This is one ingredient you could just try your luck without – as long as you are using self-raising flour you should still get some height on your cakes.

No butter…

If you used the last of the butter on your toast this morning, have a look in the cupboard for some vegetable oil. Some bakers think it actually works better - keeping cakes nice and moist but with a crispy top.

No eggs…

Most fairy cake recipes call for at least one egg, but if you’re all out, there are a couple of alternatives you can try. One mashed banana is a good swap for one egg, just make sure the added flavour will work with your other ingredients. Or you can mix a tablespoon of vegetable oil with the same amount of water and a teaspoon of baking powder.

Some recipes also suggest you can use a couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise instead of an egg, if you’re feeling adventurous.

No caster sugar…

Caster sugar’s super-fine texture makes it perfect for baking, but if you’re all out you can make your own using regular granulated sugar and a blender or food processor. Simply whizz it up until it reaches a super-fine consistency, taking care not to let it become too powdery.

If you’re looking to give your buns a healthy twist, you can also use mashed up banana in place of sugar.

No icing sugar…

You’ve got a row of perfectly fluffy fairy buns cooling on the rack… and nothing to ice them with. If you’ve just checked the cupboard only to find you’re out of icing sugar, never fear, there are other ways to whip up some tasty toppings for your cake.

A mixture of butter, caster sugar, plain flour and milk makes for a smooth and satisfying buttercream. Simply heat your milk and flour in a saucepan until they form a paste and then leave to cool before beating together with the butter and sugar.

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