Experiment in baking this week

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WE’RE going baking-crazy.

TV contests like the Great British Bake-off are turning ovens on throughout the country.

But if you still haven’t been tempted into a pinny through lack of time, or for fear your cupcakes might not rise to the occasion, give it a go this week.

It’s National Baking Week, a campaign aimed at getting us to re-engage with the cookery skill that fed families for generations.

“Bake with your kids, bake with your friends, bake with your colleagues – whoever it may be, just get your pinny on and start experimenting,” say organisers – encouraging novices to turn their bread, cake and buns into funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital (register your baking sale at www.gosh.org/bakeitbetter).

But do remember that too many cakes, buns and biscuits are bad for health, says Heart Research UK.

Traditional recipes can contain high amounts of fats and sugar as well as artificial flavours, colours and preservatives, it warns.

Bake the healthier way by making these small, easy changes to recipes:

n Swap white flour for fibre, vitamin and mineral-rich wholemeal flour. Or be adventurous and try rye or buckwheat.

n Add fruit and vegetables to recipes: make savoury scones, carrot cake or banana bread and add dried raisins or cranberries to flapjacks and muffins, buns and biscuits.

n When bread recipes tell you to add salt, use herbs like coriander, nuts and seeds or spices such as ginger or cinnamon instead.

n Butter and some margarines are high in saturated fat; look for cake and biscuit recipes that use olive or rapeseed oil or ground almonds for heart-healthier fats.

n Instead of sugar-rich icing, decorate with a swirl of fruit purée, berries and nuts.