Baking up a storm with Lakeland & Mary Berry bakeware
You might find it hard to believe but this series of The Great British Bake Off is the first I’ve ever watched. I have no idea why though since baking is something I’ve always loved doing and it’s very rare that there’s not a homemade cake kicking around our house. This weekend, inspired by the show and itching to try out my new bakeware from Lakeland, I tasked myself with baking a lemon sponge with buttercream icing in my caravan.
We have an electric fan assisted Rangemaster in our house, which cooks things beautifully and really fast but I knew my diddy little gas oven in the caravan would be very different to work with. So for a Victoria sponge, the oven manual explains that the bottom shelf will cook it at 140°C, the middle at 160°C and the top at 185°C. The Delia recipe I was following needed my cake to bake at 170°C for 25-30 minutes, so I decided the best thing was to play it safe in the middle shelf but cook it for an extra 5-10 minutes depending on how it looked.
Turns out, this is exactly the right approach – although it’s a fine line to tread. If the temperature of the oven is too low your cake won’t rise enough, too hot it’ll burn on the top but be underdone inside. Take it out too early and it will sink. I decided to leave my cake in for 35 minutes and when I went to check on it, luckily it was spot on!
Putting my Lakeland bakeware put to the test…
Lakeland Non-Slip Fleximats, £8.49
The flexibility of these also means you can easily bend and funnel ingredients into a pan.
Originally I had my heart set on an expensive Joseph and Joseph steel set of chopping boards for the caravan but the weight of it really wasn’t practical and they were silly expensive. Hunting for an alternative, I discovered Lakeland had a set of 3 lightweight but tough, flexible chopping mats which were much better suited for my kitchen.
Each chopping mat is a different colour (black, grey & cream) and each has a small symbol in the right-hand corner to remind you what each mat should be used for i.e. meat, fish and vegetables. The flexibility of these also means you can easily bend and funnel ingredients into a pan or the compost bin. Plus, on the back, there’s a non-slip surface as an added bonus.
The benefit of having stainless steel bowls is they are much better for dispersing and holding heat than plastic bowls and they can chill things like pasta very quickly in the fridge.
Next up for the road test were a nest of three various sized stainless steel mixing bowls in partnership with Mary Berry. There are a couple of reasons I picked these out but the main attraction was their silicone base, which prevents the bowl slipping about when you’re mixing. The second reason was that each of the bowls has a plastic lid, which means you can also use these for storing ingredients and mixtures. You’ll see from my picture that inside the bowls there is litre and quartz measuring markers as well. Finally, they are dishwasher safe – not something I can take advantage of in my caravan but useful at home – Mary Berry certainly has thought of everything with these!
I already have plastic and glass mixing bowls but the benefit of stainless steel bowls is they are much better for dispersing and holding heat than plastic bowls and they can chill things like pasta very quickly in the fridge. They are also lighter than glass, clean really easily and resist the staining that plastic bowls can suffer from when containing foods like tomatoes and strawberries. What’s more, you can bake a dome-shaped cake in a stainless steel mixing bowl – something I’m going to attempt too with these at a later date.
Mary Berry with Lakeland Spatula, £4.49 & Spoonula, £3.49
The non-stick silicone coating also means these spatulas have very high heat tolerances – so typically up to 230°C
The next item I had to play with was two new Mary Berry dishwasher safe, silicone spatulas in a light sharkskin grey colour to match the mixing bowls. I’ve had some really cheap spatulas in the past that were very rigid but these two were more flexible – perfect for getting right into the corner of bowls. They are nice and lightweight and feel lovely to hold thanks to the smooth texture of the silicone, which also provides good comfortable grip. I think the spoonula could have maybe been a bit deeper but other than that they are perfect! The non-stick silicone coating also means these spatulas have very high heat tolerances – so typically up to 230°C – which can come in helpful if you’re using the spatula to stir a sauce in a saucepan on the hob.
Lakeland 20cm Chinois, £25.99
A professional standard sieve… with an extra fine mesh to deliver restaurant-quality coulis and sauces
The final Lakeland piece that came in handy for today was a stainless steel chinois, which can be used for straining, sifting, sieving and puréeing. In the past I’ve had cheap plastic or metal sieves that I’ve picked up in the supermarket – and they have done the job fine but after a number of years the mesh had worn away from the rim and left a gaping hole. So, rather than do the whole “buy cheap – buy twice” thing, this time I went for a professional standard sieve that would be more durable and with an extra fine mesh to deliver restaurant-quality coulis and sauces. The last little design feature which makes life a lot easier too is the hook on the edge for resting over pans or bowls when you need to.