Take the Cake: Bite-sized Inspiration for the Savvy Baker

Baking Hacks for the Shoebox kitchen

Do you live in a teeny NYC (or NYC-sized) apartment with a kitchen to match?

Perhaps you have just 2 feet of counter space and haven’t even attempted to bake anything because you think it will be too much of a pain. Well, we are here to tell you that it is in fact possible to bake lots of delicious treats despite the size of your mini kitchen. We have done it before, and you can too!  Here are a few tricks to help you make the most out of your space.


First, there’s the issue of storage.  

Where do you even keep those pots, pans, and whisks?  Well, there are many options beyond placing those items in your cabinets and drawers.  First, there is the tried and true trick of keeping a few pans in the oven (and much safer than keeping those extra purses in there!).  Also, don’t forget to look up and use all available space – any space on top of your cabinets can be used for more kitchen items.  You can always use a nice basket or bin to hold a number of smaller items.

BasketsOr, you can always buy a small bakers rack or kitchen island to expand your storage space. Finally, hanging pots and pans either from the ceiling or a wall in the kitchen provides extra storage and gives the space a cool DIY/farmhouse/industrial vibe.


Next, it’s time to maximize your prep space.  

One way to gain extra “counter” space is to transform your sink into usable space, by getting a cutting board that stretches all the way across your sink, or one that is made specifically to sit over your sink.


Additionally, other areas of the apartment can be used to cut, plate or prepare items.  Need extra space to frost those cupcakes or chop chocolate?  Why not use your coffee table or dining table? Bonus: you can catch up on Mindy Project while you prep.  If you’re worried about making a mess, just put a placemat or cheap tablecloth under the cutting board before you start.  You can even roll out dough on almost any flat space if you have a baking mat. 


Then, don’t let your recipe hog the counter space. 

If you’re using a cookbook or recipe card to create your masterpiece, don’t let that take over your counter space: set the cookbook or recipe card back against the wall/backsplash and place an item in front of it to hold it up, rather than laying it flat.  Or, spring for a cookbook stand, which keeps your paper upright and mess free.  They have ones for ipads, too!


Finally, clean up!

Another way to keep your space as functional as possible is to clean it up intermittently during the baking process – this ensures that all counter space is usable at all times. Since most deserts have several steps (e.g. baking, cooling and frosting), this gives you time to clean and prep your space for the next step! When making cupcakes, for example, use your small counter space to mix the batter.  Then use the stovetop to pour the batter into the cupcake pans, and later for cooling the cupcakes.  As the cupcakes cool, use your counter space to make the frosting, and then use that space to frost the cupcakes.


And remember, space is not king.

Most importantly, keep in mind that many desserts do not require a ton of space; nor do they require major space-consuming equipment like a stand mixer.  You can make lots of delicious cupcakes, cakes, and other desserts (think tiramisu, panna cotta), the old fashioned way. You may even consider skipping the gym with a serious arm workout.

So dust off your bowl and spoon and let the baking begin!

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