Being at home has us ready to bake, so we spoke to @MyKitchenDrawer to get some tips on how to get started. Telling us all about what inspires her and giving us some of her favourite recipes from her cookbook, we’re excited to get baking!
How did you get into baking?
Baking runs in the family so I’ve been baking from as early as I can remember. My biggest influences are my nan and my mum, who in their own ways are the reason baking became my obsession. My nan taught me great puddings and I’d help regularly with the crumble topping for her famous apple crumble, and my mum was our resident birthday cake baker and pastry chef.
I watched them from a very early age and as soon as I was able, I was there cracking eggs and eating cake mixture. I never stopped and began taking it more seriously when I moved to Surrey, away from my family home in 2015. With all my friends still in my hometown, my social life was halved so I used baking to fill my empty weekends. I used it as an opportunity to develop a skill I knew was screaming to be used. I didn’t realise at the time, but it worked wonders for occupying my mind.
What are your favourite things to bake and why?
If I need to be creative, I love baking cakes and cupcakes as I can go mad with flavour and decorations.
When I’m craving time in the kitchen, followed by something delicious that I can share, I like opting for traybakes like brownies or a loaf cake like banana bread.
I’m not a huge cake eater so cupcakes and cakes are purely my go-to for decoration. Brownies and banana bread, on the other hand, are my weakness and not too time-consuming, so if I need 30 minutes to switch off, they’re perfect.
My final favourite is bread. I absolutely love the process, it’s so therapeutic and I’m fascinated by the science and simplicity of it. Plus, there is no better smell in your house than a freshly baked loaf.
What are your top tips for baking with children and how to get them involved?
Preparation with children is key. I bake regularly with my niece and nephew and find that they’re obsessed with the measuring so instead of giving them the flour or sugar bags to throw all over the kitchen side, I secretly measure it all out into a bowl and have it laid out ready. I still ensure they check the scales is showing the correct measurement, but it saves me a whole lot of sweeping.
If you have multiple children, I usually give them individual jobs throughout the process such as A measures and pours and B mixes then together scoop into tins and decorate. Or I occasionally give them half the ingredients each so they can learn the entire process.
Finally, for your own sanity, relax and allow some mess. These are memories they’ll cherish forever so let them enjoy it and release your inner child and enjoy the mess too.
What are your must-have baking ingredients that you always have in your cupboard?
Flour (plain or self-raising)
Butter or margarine
Cooking chocolate and chocolate chips
Easy bake yeast
Rainbow Cheesecake Brownie
Want to get started? We have just the recipe. Taken from her Unicorn Cookbook, discover how to make My Kitchen Drawer’s rainbow cheesecake brownies – you’re welcome!
You can also check out her other cookbooks including The Mermaid Cookbook and her newest release The Tropical Cookbook, which was published on the 9th of April.
Time: 1 hour
Makes: 16 brownies
For the brownies
225g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)
150g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
100g plain flour
For the cheesecake
150g cream cheese
50g caster sugar
Gel food colouring (pink, blue, yellow, orange)
You will need a 20cm square baking tin.
For the brownie batter
Preheat oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3, and grease and line a 20cm square baking tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once the ingredients have melted, remove the bowl from the pan and set aside to cool slightly.
While the mixture cools, whisk the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Add the whisked eggs and sugar to the melted chocolate and butter and mix the two together for around 1 minute.
Add the flour and carefully fold it into the mixture using a metal spoon until fully incorporated.
For the cheesecake mixture
Beat the cream cheese, caster sugar and egg together until smooth.
Spilt the mixture between four bowls and add ¼ tsp of different gel food colouring to each bowl.
Spoon the brownie mixture into the cake tin and smooth it into all corners.
Spoon the cheesecake mixtures in a random formation on top. Using a knife, swirl the two mixtures together to give a rainbow marble effect.
Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes. Remove from oven, leave in the tin and set aside to cool completely before peeling off the baking paper and cutting into squares.