Some Eggs-tremely Useful Baking Hacks from Zola Nene

All the tips from SA’s culinary darling, Zola Nene in collaboration with Rhodes Quality and an awesome recipe!

Zola Nene, celebrity chef and food stylist, has shared some awesome baking tips that you will want to know for the next time you spend some time baking with (or for) the kids. Here they are below:

Useful Baking Hacks

Make measuring easier: Use cooking spray on your utensils to make measuring things like honey, chocolate and syrup sugars easier. Spray onto measuring spoons and ingredients will slide right off into the mixing bowl.

Hard butter: Forgot to take the butter out the fridge? I usually just cut the butter into small pieces, then massage it in my hands, using my body temperature to soften the butter without melting it.

Cutting a cake: Some cakes can be hard to slice. To get professional looking slices, fill a jug with hot water and dip your knife into the jug of water, wipe, then slice cake before cutting (or you can use unflavoured dental floss to get perfect pieces every time).

Fresh eggs: Using fresh eggs is key, I always recommended it for baking, but do you know how to check if an egg’s gone off? Fill a glass bowl with water and gently place the egg inside. If the egg stays at the bottom and lies on its side, it’s fresh. If the egg floats, it’s past its best and you shouldn’t bake with it; it is not at its optimum freshness.

Perfectly sized cookies: Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into cupcake holders or a muffin tin! You will get even, perfectly sized cakes and cookies every time.

No cupcake liners: No problem, make some yourself using parchment or baking paper and a small glass. Tear off a square, pop it into the cupcake tin and place a glass firmly on top, swivel from left to right until the shape is formed. (This is so clever! I know I have been caught thinking I still had some left)

Re-use your tin cans: If you’re like me, you will want to re-use the tin can from your fruity ingredients you’ve just used in your baking. Cans are great for baking tall, narrow, interestingly shaped cakes. Clean the can thoroughly, coat the inside with cooking oil or spray, preheat oven, prepare the cake batter as per recipe and pour into the can or cans. Place cans onto baking sheet, spacing them evenly if you’re making more than one, and bake according to recipe. Useful hint: Check 10 mins before recipe baking time to ensure you don’t over bake.

Reducing mess: Punch a hole in the centre of an ice cream lid or paper plate to use as a splash guard for your hand mixer, preventing splatters. (I never thought of that!)

No more air bubbles: For perfectly smooth cakes and cheesecakes, pour your batter into a greased baking tin, and tap the tin onto the countertop a few times before baking. The force of the pan hitting the counter makes sure that air bubbles come to the surface and don’t get trapped in the batter.

Zola says the three most important elements in getting your baking right are: taking measurements seriously accurately, understanding your oven and knowing that a big part of baking is the science behind temperatures, ingredients and methods. Don’t deviate from the fundamentals of the recipe! (There is no “about a cup”).

Are ready to get creative? Why not try this deliciously fruity Pavlova recipe with ready to use Rhodes Quality toppings and tinned fruits. This showstopper of a dessert is great if you have the whole family coming over and is really easy to assemble.

Fruity Pavlova Recipe


  • 1 x 410 g can Rhodes Quality Peach Slices in syrup, drained
  • 1 x 410 g can Rhodes Quality Pear Halves in syrup, drained
  • 1 x 227 g can Rhodes Quality Pineapple Rings in syrup, drained
  • 1 x 115 g cup Rhodes Mango-Passion Topping 250 ml (1 cup) Cream
  • 45 ml (3 Tbsp.) Castor sugar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp.) Vanilla essence
  • 1 Prepared meringue, pavlova shell
  • To serve: mint leaves, chocolate and edible flowers


  1. Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla and beat until thick.
  2. Place the pavlova shell on a serving platter and top with the whipped cream.
  3. Arrange the Rhodes Quality Peach Slices, Rhodes quality Pear Halves and Rhodes Quality Pineapple Rings on top of the cream.
  4. Spoon the Rhodes Mango-Passion Topping over the fruit.
  5. Decorate with mint leaves, chocolate and edible flowers.

Follow @rhodesquality #ForTheLoveOfSweetTimes for more tips, recipes and chances to win some great baking hampers. For recipe suggestions visit: www.rhodesquality.com

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