British baking brand Stork has launched its first product in almost a century, namely Stork Easy to Mix Baking Liquid. They explain : "The new easy-to-use format makes baking with children a piece of cake and so is great for a summer of baking and celebrations! It's also suitable for vegetarians and vegans." Well, that sounded right up our street so I entusiastically said yes when they offered to send us some to try out.
As you can see in the picture above, it comes out as a thick yellow liquid. I poured some into the cake tin so that you could see what it looks like before I added the other ingredients, but it is a replacement for butter, not a ready to use cake mix, so you need to use sugar, flour, eggs etc with it.
The baking liquid is really easy to measure out because it comes in a bottle with a gauge on the side, which is really handy. The instructions say you should use 110ml of baking liquid for every 100g of butter or margarine. Stork did send me through some recipes to try out, but I needed to knock up a quick sponge cake to use as a base for my Union Jack icing (more about that in a moment) so I just adapted my usual recipe, throwing in some vanilla essence and lemon juice to liven it up because a quick taste of the raw batter tasted quite bland. I also added some dolphin and flower sprinkles to the mix to make it all more appealing to the kids !
I have to say, it was much easier to mix than when you have the arm-breaking job of creaming together butter and sugar. For busy mums, that's just a time-saving bonus but for anyone with a disability or anyone elderly who may not have much strength in their arms, it does take all the work out cake making.
I left the cakes to cook for the usual amount of time and they turned a lovely golden colour. However, they looked a bit strange and sunken in the middle.
They looked almost swampy in the centre so I thought they weren't cooked through but a knife blade inserted in the middle came out clean so I decided to bite the bullet and say they were done.
When I pushed out the round cake (from its silicon cake tin), I flipped it over to see what it looked like underneath and decided it certainly didn't look cooked enough.
As this close-up shows, the cake looks very buttery and greasy, so I decided to put it back in the oven upside down for a further ten minutes to see if this would sort it out.
I moved on to the square cake in a regular metal cake tin and it was stuck solid. Although the outer edges were lovely and crispy, the inside was a strange texture like butter-drenched breadcrumbs. As you can see, it stuck like glue to the spatula when I tried to dislodge it from the tin and came out in greasy lumps. Hmmm.
I left it to cool down completely, wondering if it would go more solid as it cooled but - as you can see - all I managed to do was dislodge the crispy edges of the cake in pieces. I think this is about the first absolute disaster I've had in the kitchen for a while so it was actually quite funny !
After a further ten minutes in the oven, I decided the other cake was as good as it was going to get. It has a very sticky, dense, buttery texture like honey cake, not the soft, light sponge cake I was hoping for, but the kids and Madhouse Daddy Mike polished off nearly the whole cake between them last night and today so it obviously got their seal of approval ! I refused to use this cake as the basis for the icing kit though because it would have been too much - it's already rich enough on its own and certainly doesn't need any extra sugar and sweetness from the sugar icing.
So - not sure really !! For ease of use, it's great. It produced a cake that was declared delicious by everyone but that absolutely didn't resemble the result I usually get with normal butter and the same recipe. The failed square cake leads me to believe that this would make absolutely wonderful gooey, buttery cookies. I think it would be good for smaller cakes like cupcakes and muffins too, that would cook through to the core properly and avoid the swampy centre that I got with the big cakes.