Stock up for Christmas baking

Christmas larder
Helen Stone,-Interiors Writer

A pantry stocked with goodies and the right baking kit will fill your Christmas prep with comfort and joy

If you’re thinking of making your own festive cakes and puds this year, it’s time to get baking. Both will need regular ‘feeding’ over the coming months to get the fruit nice and plump, and to develop that deliciously rich and complex flavour.

Dried fruits and nuts are at the heart of many a Christmas favourite, from mince pies and Christmas puddings to almond-filled stollen and cranberry stuffing. They are great staples to have stored in airtight jars in the pantry or larder alongside essential dry ingredients such as flour and sugar. Keep a supply of caster sugar too for fluffy sponges and smooth pastry as well as soft brown sugar for flavoursome puds. Demerara is handy too for a crunchy topping on mince pies, while icing sugar is great for adding a lovely snowy dusting.

Ingredients should be stored out of natural light in jars labelled with the use-by dates and don’t forget to stock up on baking parchment, cake-tin liners and foil. Our partners at Waitrose will have everything you need for your holiday creations. Check out their recipes for festive favourites including Christmas pudding and Christmas cake.

Christmas baking shelves

Tins galore

Keen bakers can never have too many tins, but if you’re just getting started, the basics are a 20cm or 23cm round cake tin, a 12-cup bun/muffin tin, a 25cm x 20cm rectangular tin for tray bakes and brownies, plus 2 x flat baking sheets. Reusable silicon liners/mats are a sustainable extra that make washing up a breeze (no scraping required) and don’t forget the kitchen scales and measuring spoons – you really can’t wing it in baking! Check out our buying guide to Cookware & Bakeware which also has great tips on making your bakeware last. 

Stirring stuff

Whisking, beating and creaming demands serious muscle power so make it easy on yourself. Choose a generous and sturdy mixing bowl for cake-making and add a power tool. An electric hand-held mixer will do the job beautifully and is easy to store. If you are serious about baking, you might want to ask Santa for a stand mixer this year. A powerful mini processor can also be a surprisingly versatile and nimble little tool, turning flour and butter to breadcrumbs for pastry in no time, as well as chopping, pureeing and crushing ice for Christmas cocktails. And there is always a place for manual whisks and wooden spoons for gentler whisking and folding.


Christmas baking

In great shape

Part of the fun of Christmas baking is being fun and frivolous with shapes and cutters. Planning a gingerbread masterpiece? You could use a Gingerbread house Bundt® pan. Getting the kids to help out with festive biscuits? Invest in a few different cookie cutters from stars to unicorns or perhaps a set of mermaid & sealife cutters to go with our Blush Coast Christmas theme.


It’s a gift

Home-baked treats are made to share. Cakes, biscuits and pies make lovely host gifts while longer-lasting morsels such as fruit cakes and sweets can be made in advance and packaged up in pretty boxes or jars. Add a lasting element for a bigger gift such as a cakestand, slice or stylish cake tin.

What to buy the baker in your life? ‘When it comes to moving your creations, I always wish I had one of those stainless steel cake lifters,’ says Alison Oakervee, food editor for Waitrose & Partners, who speaks from years of (possibly bitter) experience. 

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