Ann Reardon

Baking Hacks TESTED



I’ve been seeing a lot of baking hacks online lately so today we are going to put them to the test and see if they are a hit or a myth?


HACK CLAIM “If you are baking anything with fruit or choc chips in it you should coat them in flour first to stop them sinking to the bottom.”

Lets test this with choc chip and raspberry muffins (recipe here). The dotty cases have were the ones coated in flour first and the pink cases went straight into the wet ingredients.

baking hacks top

Muffin Recipe
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
milk to make 1 cup total liquid
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Conclusion: Hit sort of, not very noticeably though, needs retesting with a larger cake.


HACK CLAIM “Eggs must be room temperature. Especially if you are whipping egg whites you’ll get more volume and a better result if your egg is NOT cold straight from the fridge.”

baking hacks whipping egg whites

Conclusion: Myth


HACK CLAIM “If you need to soften your butter you can fill a tall cup with boiling water and let it sit until the cup is hot. Tip out the water, place the cup upside down over the butter, wait for a couple of minutes
and you butter should be nicely softened.”

baking hacks reardon

Conclusion: Hit


HACK CLAIM “When making macarons, before baking leave them sitting on the trays for at least 20 minutes or until they forms a ‘skin’. The skin stops the air escaping from the top forcing it down so the macaron rises giving it a foot and a perfect macaron.”

baking hacks tested
Tested using this macaron shell recipe
Conclusion: Myth


HACK CLAIM “When whipping egg whites wipe out the bowl using vinegar because if there is any oil in the bowl the egg whites will not whip up.”

kitchen hacks whipping eggs

Conclusion: Myth

Let me know what other hacks you’d like tested.


I have been busy over the last year planning, writing and overseeing the photography and layout for my first ever cookbook! There are heaps of my favourite dessert recipes in there with a chapter on pastries, ice-cream, yummy cakes, artistic desserts and of course chocolate desserts. Each chapter has its own intro explaining the food science that you'll need to know for success every time. Booksellers where you can purchase your very own copy:

All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

27 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 5

    Hey Ann I was wondering you said that you left all the recipes on this page but I can’t find the recipe you used to make the macarons please tell me the recipe you used

    Thanks a lot

  2. Rating: 4

    What is the temperature on the muffins? It does not say in the video or online here..

    • Ann

      Hi Alexis, bake muffins at 180C ?

  3. Rating: 5

    Ummm it says frozen raspberry can I make them not frozen

    • Ann

      Hi Andrew, using frozen raspberries stops them getting broken up when you are mixing the batter and also prevents them from overcooking when baking. If you want to use fresh try pushing a few into each muffin once the batter is scooped into the cases.

  4. Rating: 5

    how do you make your muffin so fluffy and it seems to stay like that? whenever I make cake or muffin it puffy, but soon as it cools it shrinks like a deflates balloon.

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Puffy, try Ann’s sponge cake recipe. It holds its shape well.

  5. Rating: 5

    can I ask? For the muffins recipe how many does it make?

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Chelsea, it makes about a dozen.

  6. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann. Thank you for all your videos. Great recipes…Thank you for sharing them with us.
    Pleasant weekend.

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Thanks Philomena

  7. Rating: 5

    Hello Ann!

    I was just wondering if all your measurements are Australian measurements? I live in Australia as well, but many of the recipes i want to try are usually in US measurements.

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Hanan, Ann provides measurements in Australian cups and the conversions to grams and ounces.

  8. Rating: 5

    For how long and on which temperature do I have to bake the muffins?

  9. Rating: 4.5

    WOW you had me on the vinegar/egg white hack. I always wipe out my bowl when I beat egg whites or Royal frosting. You saved me one smelly step. How about that Royal frosting? Do I need to wipe the bowl with vinegar for that?

    • Admin HowToCookThat
      Rating: 5

      Hi Cheryl, I haven’t specifically tested that but a clean bowl is what you are after. A wipe out of vinegar shouldn’t make a difference if you are using a clean bowl to start with.

      • Rating: 4

        Thank you Ann, Your great. I see vinegar used in a lot of different ways, from cooking to cleaning. What is vinegar made from?

        • Admin HowToCookThat

          Hi Cheryl, That is a great question. Vinegar is acetic acid and water. It can be made from a variety of natural products by fermenting the ethanol that is created during production. That is a fancy way of saying that they turn sugars into acid. White wine vinegar is made from grapes for example. But you can make it from apples, pears, rice, sugar cane, barley malt and a host of other plants. In a very weak form it is a nice condiment for meals or cooking. In a strong form it can be used as an organic based cleaner.

    • Rating: 4.5

      I agree! I always used to do that! my grandmother would insist on wiping it out. In fact, it always took us 5 minutes longer to bake! I once was late with a cake for a party, but now we are baking cakes much faster! Thank you for busting that myth Ann!

      • R U kidding me Athena?

        • Let’s all be nice. Athena had a point.

  10. Rating: 5

    Thanks for taking the time to show us the way things work when baking, it has teach me a lot. And you did the experiment so I know it works as they said PROVEN facts! Again thank you

  11. Rating: 5

    LOVE your videos! Thanks so much for doing our homework for us!

  12. Rating: 5

    I’ve always been curious about whether sifting flour makes a lighter cake or incorporate into the mix better. My father, a flour miller, says cooks used to sift flour to remove any impurities but it’s not necessary nowdays.

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Lindyd, In the past you may have encountered lumps or clumps in your flour but the manufacturing process these days significantly reduced that possibility.

  13. Rating: 5

    Brilliant! I previously believed most of those myths….

  14. Rating: 4.5

    I thought that the macarons that hadn’t been left out looked better than the ones that had formed a skin. I even asked my mum and she thought the same thing without even knowing which ones had been left out. I loved this video mostly because my house is incredibly cold because we live near a river and sometimes my butter will not soften no matter how many hours I leave it out for (this becomes especially hard during the winter months) this will definitely help me to soften my butter! Thanks!!!

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