There’s nothing like starting off a show with a bang so that’s what I’m doing in the second episode of Summer Baking Secrets. It’s an episode full of show-stopping recipes!

First up, I’m showing a new technique that is gathering storm in the baking and blogger community! A technique that is popularly used by online baking queen Katherine Sabbath, this cake decorating trick involves stacking several cake layers and then “dirty icing” or “crumb coating” the cake by coating the outsides of the cakes with a thin coat of icing. It can then go back to the fridge to set. This method helps ‘seal’ the crumbs on the outer layer of the cake, so they don’t catch when the cake is then fully iced, giving it a smoother finish. However, you know me, it’s all about minimum effort for maximum effect so I opted for a different version deliberately showing some of the layers of the cake through the icing . In decorating terms, this is the equivalent to the *exposed brick* look you might see at an upmarket cafe or restaurant! This is a more rough and ready approach and if I can do it quickly on TV, anyone can do it. It’s all about the rustic, artisan look!

This episode’s baking tip is on keeping your cake board clean while decorating. Ever ice a cake only to find that your board is absolutely covered with drips of icing and cake crumbs? Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us! My best tip to keep a much cleaner board is to line your cake board with strips of Glad baking paper before placing your cake down. After icing the cake, you simply pull the strips out from under the cake and voila! A clean, icing-free cake board ready for presentation.

To top off my cake, I cover it in beautiful, fresh flowers. Another easy cake decorating trick that anyone can use. Just make sure that your flowers are fresh and pesticide free (food safe).

Now that it’s February, it’s nearly time to say goodbye to beautiful Australian Summer fruits, but I’m still making the most of every single day they’re available. And, of course, plums are in season for longer. I miss beautiful fresh peaches and nectarines when they’re out of season, so they are my first pick when they come into season in the summer time. Eat them as they are, or find out how versatile they are to be cooked: baked, grilled, pan-fried,  Barbecued or flambéed – and think savoury as well as sweet dishes.  I also use these lovely stone fruits in an unusual twist on the bombe Alaska. Tune in to see how I use them in this sweet dessert!

Good news for vegetarians and meat lovers alike , I have a stunning entrée or main course coming up for you. I use a clever plaiting technique which looks impressive yet is easy to do. Everyone I’ve cooked this for has been enchanted and believe me, it’s much easier to make than it looks!! For this particular recipe, I’m taking advantage of some of the different varieties of mushrooms we have available in Australia. Everyone knows that mushrooms are a wonderful alternative to meat, but I eat them most days raw in a salad, or cooked for dinner not only for flavour, but because they are packed with vitamins and minerals. Studies have also shown that they can lower the risk of breast cancer.  As an ambassador for both Cure Cancer and for Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea, this is definitely a fungi I want to get behind! I love cooking mushrooms in my favourite Australian butter and always add a splash of olive oil when cooking with butter as this to prevents the milk solids in the butter from caramelising or burning. The rich mushroom filling for this strudel doubles as a pasta sauce, is great on top of brioche or eggs, chicken or beef, or even just straight on a piece of crusty bread with some sour cream and chives on top!

Here’s a handy baking tip –to hold down baking paper in tins or boards for baking or preparing ingredients, I often use a dab of butter straight from the packet to help the paper stick to my board, bench or tins. This way the paper isn’t sliding around, which can make preparation, pouring batter or shaping pastry into tins much easier.  And of course, I only ever use butter which is made from the cream of Australian cows!

Plums are a boon to the lover of stone fruit. Coming in later than peaches and nectarines they linger well into the New Year to extend enjoyment of the season. I find they work well with savoury flavours as well as sweet and  come in myriad sizes and varieties, some more sweet or sour than others. For this tart, I’m using one of my new tart tins from my Lyndey Milan baking range, it’s a longer oblong shape with lovely fluted edges. I particularly like this tart shape as it’s not only pretty but easier to cut into slices for everyone to share! To this plum tart I’ve added spices and almonds and the very short pastry doubles as a crumble topping. A clever technique!

This week’s bonus baking tip is an old favourite when rolling pastry, but especially very short, buttery pastry. Instead of rolling it directly on your bench or board, roll between two sheets of Glad baking paper. Then the pastry doesn’t stick to the board/bench or my rolling pin, doesn’t soak up extra flour & helps to roll the pastry out to an even thickness. That way I don’t have lumpy misshapen pastry that is difficult to fit into my tin or bake unevenly and I get perfect pastry every time!

I’d love you to share your best baking tips in the comments!

Enjoy this second episode of Summer Baking Secrets,

Best,

x Lyndey

Lyndey’s Bake Range is now available to purchase in store from Blueprint Retail in Potts Point! They are located at 46A Macleay St, Potts Point NSW 2011 and are open every day from 10:00-6:00pm (except Sundays – close at 5:00pm).