I build a lot of kitchens, I bake in a lot of kitchens. For this project with Triton Tools it was the perfect combination of the two…
When I was on the Great British Bake Off in 2014, Mary Berry remarked how surprised she was that my builder hands were able to produce such dainty bakes. But as most builders know, working with your hands is second nature and having precision with the tools you use is particularly important.
I recently had the pleasure of working on a fun baking project with Triton Tools. Triton make woodworking tools – chisels, planes, drills, sanders and the like. They asked me to make a tool box cake, simple enough. However, they asked me to make it using woodworking tools. Now, as a builder, I am very familiar with the tools of my trade and what constitutes appropriate use for them. So, armed with my trusty pencil, an orbital sander and the all-important can-do attitude I set to work. Check out the video below for how I got on…
I’m in the middle of rebuilding my own kitchen, and Triton’s tools have come in so useful for this. As my home kitchen is a work in progress, we were filming across the road in my parents’ house this time, in the kitchen where I learned to cook years ago. My Dad and I built a new kitchen here recently, so gone is all the evidence of my youthful cooking disasters including (but not limited to) pan burns in the lino, burn marks on the ceiling, gouges in the worktops, and one broken window. Sorry Mum!
If you’re going to construct something out of food, gingerbread is a good place to start. Not only is it strong, stable and easy to shape, but when made correctly it is delicious – especially if you have a good supply of tea for dunking. Sticking with the ginger theme, I made a ginger sponge cake to line the toolbox. I used a Triton cordless electric drill to whisk the cake mix but fitted it with a balloon whisk attachment. This was the first time I’d mixed a cake with a cordless drill but it worked so well I might end up keeping one in the kitchen permanently.
With the sponge in the oven, it was time for the main event – the gingerbread. No matter the time of year, as soon as I smell gingerbread in a kitchen it makes me think of Christmas. The gingerbread recipe in my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, is perfect for building bakes – it’s both delicious and stable.
I always roll my gingerbread out on a piece of parchment paper to about 3mm thick – the thickness of a pound coin. For this Triton project, I pre-made templates for the box and the tools and dusted them with flour, so they didn’t stick to the raw gingerbread. Once the shapes were cut and in the oven it was time to get the kettle on again – baking is always thirsty work! My top tip for gingerbread construction: half way through the bake, take the gingerbread out of the oven, put the templates back over them and cut away any gingerbread that has expanded beyond their original shapes. Then pop them back in the oven and finish baking.
When the gingerbread had cooled, Triton’s gear came into play. I set the toolbox pieces in a massive Triton vice and set to smoothing off the edges. For this I used an orbital sander, like all bakers should! Seriously – the fine, straight edge an orbital sander gives to a piece of gingerbread is astonishing! If I’d had one of those in the tent I would have been a happy man. I used the Triton orbital sander again at work today to sand some oak worktops and I can assure you the saw dust wasn’t as tasty this time around. The sides of the toolbox were designed to slot together so with my gingerbread still clamped I used my sharp chisels to tidy up the interlocking parts.
Once I had built the body of the box I reinforced it with a little royal icing – mixed up using my balloon whisk and drill combo again – and left it to set while I decorated my gingerbread tools. The easiest way to decorate gingerbread (or any biscuits) is using the flooding technique. To do this, I pipe the outline of each tool, along with a little detail and leave the icing to dry for 10 minutes – the exact time it takes to make and drink another cup of tea. Once the icing had set, I flooded the biscuits. I made some more icing and coloured it. This icing needs to be a looser mix that will flow when piped. I piped this directly on to the gingerbread tools and it sets with a smooth glossy surface. With the edible tools now set aside to dry I could crack on with my toolbox.
The ginger sponge I made at the start of the day had well and truly cooled so it was its turn to go into the Triton vice for cutting to shape, which now seems like a perfectly normal thing to do with a sponge cake! I used a tape to measure the inside dimensions of the toolbox and marked them on the sponge. Using a Triton handheld oscillating saw I cut the sponge exactly to size. Honestly, I don’t reckon I’ll ever need a knife in the kitchen again! I laid the sponge in the toolbox box with some ginger buttercream and filled it with the gingerbread tools. The final touch was slotting the rice-crispie and marshmallow handle through the toolbox holes and we are done. Without a doubt, the most precise baking job I’ve completed in a while – thanks Triton!