1.SOFT & CREAMY CAKES -Add a little of milk when the cake is baked. This will make the cake softer and creamier.
2.KEEP LEFTOVER PASTRIES FRESH -Left over cakes and pastries should be packed or wrapped in cling film and stored in a cool place like a refrigerator. It is very important to see that they are not exposed to air at all, which would otherwise dry them out.
3.ICING TROUBLE -To avoid the cream from becoming watery and for it to come out of the pipng bag easily; the cream has to be chilled before you start to beat it. A safe way is to place the container over ice. If cream is not chilled enough it will always curdle (and water separated will ooze out), and the rest will be buttery.
4.SOFTER FRUIT CAKE -The more the proportion of fruit (for Christmas fruit cakes), the less soft it will be. But to improve it, soak the fruit in juice or rum overnight. Also keep a bowl of water in the oven while baking to keep the atmosphere moist
5.PIE CRUSTS -The secret to making a good pie crust - if there is one - is to bring the flour, water, and fat together, and mix it just enough without overworking the dough.
6.SPLITTING CAKES -Cake splitting on the surface as they rise is very common while baking cakes. Since the sides of the baking tin are in direct contact with the batter, they bake faster than the middle of the cake. Since the center is still rising, it tends to push the cake to the top and causes cracks on the surface.
7.STORING COOKIES -Before you store cookies, be sure to cool them completely. Otherwise you run the risk of taking funny shapes if packaged when they're warm. It's also a good idea to store different types of cookies separately, rather than in the same tin.
8.STORING BROWNIES-As brownies cool, they move away from the edges of the pan. So it's a good idea to cut cooked brownies after they cool down to room temperature.
9.How do you tell if brownies are done? -Brownies are generally cooked when the edges look hard and the top has cracked a bit. Check that the center should not jiggle when you shake the pan.
10.COOKING APPLES -If you want to cook fresh apples, remember you will be left with only half the amount you started out with. I kilo of raw apples = 1/2 kilo cooked apples.
11.SUBSTITUTE FOR SUGAR-Substitute one cup of sugar, with two cups of corn syrup.
12.JELLY BELLY -To unmould jellies, dip the container into hot water up to the rim, place an inverted plate over it, then invert the tin and plate again, shake the tin a little and the jelly will come off.
13.MERINGUES -To store meringues, wrap in foil or arrange in an airtight tin, putting grease-proof paper between two layers. Will keep fresh for up to two months.
14.CARAMEL CUSTARD -Do not cook a caramel custard too quickly, as this will cause bubbles in the mixture.
15.SHORT CUT DESSERT -Arrange stewed or canned fruit in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle with icing sugar and brandy, cover with marshmallows and brown under a hot grill.
16.FREEZE ICE-CREAM-Always turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting, one hour before freezing ice-cream. When cream has frozen, turn back to normal.
17.ROCK HARD BROWN SUGAR  -To soften rocky brown sugar, simply add a slice of soft bread to the package and close the bag tightly. In a few hours the sugar will be soft again.
18.ICE CREAM -Always chill glasses before preparing the ice cream in it. It will not melt quickly. Never try to refreeze ice cream that has melted completely. It will taste awful! Instead, convert it to make a delicious milk shake or add a fruit and run it in the mixie for a fruit shake.
19.PASTRIES-Always use whole milk rather than skim or reduced fat milk in your pastry recipes
20.OLD CHOCOLATE -If you notice a grayish color on your chocolate slab, don't worry. This is called bloom, and it is a sign that the cocoa butter has risen to the surface. It does not affect the flavour of the chocolate, and the grayish color will disappear when the chocolate is melted
21.CHOCOLATE -Always let chocolate come to room temperature to prevent it from flying around when being chopped; cold chocolate is too hard to cut and the knife may slip and cut you.
22.For maximum flavor and the best results when nuts are called for in a recipe, toast them before incorporating them into the batter or mixture.
23.NUTTY DESSERTS -To prevent nuts and fruits from sinking to the bottom of a cake during baking, warm them a bit in the oven and toss them with flour. Shake off excess flour before mixing them into the batter.