Bakers reveal the three big mistakes people are making in the kitchen

Easy as cake! Professional bakers reveal the three biggest mistakes people are making in the kitchen as they share their ‘foolproof’ Bonfire Night caramel brownies

  • Exploding Bakery founders shared the easy-to-fix errors people are making
  • Along with blasting cheap baking trays, professional bakers Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh stressed the importance of mixing ingredients thoroughly 
  • Bored of caramel apples? Duo shared caramel brownie recipe for Bonfire Night

They might know their way around the kitchen like the back of their hands – but professional bakers Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh know this isn’t the case for everybody.

In their new cookbook Bake It. Slice It. Eat It., the co-founders of the Exploding Bakery cafe in Exeter have shared over 90 easy-to-follow recipes that can all be made using one single baking pan. 

Speaking to FEMAIL, the duo revealed the three biggest mistakes they see people making in the kitchen.

And if you’re bored of caramel apples this Bonfire Night, the duo have come up with a tasty alternative.  

Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh are the co-founders of the Exploding Bakery in Exeter. The professional bakers shared the three biggest mistakes people make in the kitchen 

The professional bakers shared their French caramel brownies (pictured) as an alternative to caramel apples this Bonfire Night

When it comes to easily-fixed errors, Tom and Oli said that people not thoroughly mixing their ingredients is one of their ultimate pet peeves.

Dubbing it their ‘number one mistake’, the duo said ‘not scraping the mixing bowl between adding ingredients’ will often in an ‘uneven mix’. 

Not only does this affect the texture of your bake, but it can also impact the taste too.

In order to create a stress-free environment,  Tom and Oli urged people not to get started on their bake without reading through the recipe step-by-step.

The Exploding Bakery cookbook contains over 90 recipes which can be made using one single baking tray. The professional bakers urged people not to use cheap, aluminum trays as they can affect the quality of the bake

They added: ‘Read the recipe twice, weigh everything out and make sure you know what needs melting, beating and adding at what time. 

‘This will mean you’ll enjoy the process much more and maybe even have time to sip on a G&T whilst baking!’

Thirdly, the professionals said to avoid buying cheap baking trays as this has more of an effect on the end result than most people realise.

Tom and Oli’s baking essentials: 

A good quality sea salt

High quality, fresh eggs

Real local butter, if you can find it.

High quality, ethically sourced chocolate.

Ground almonds, to add the moisture and texture to your bake. Plus it’s a great substitute if you’re gluten-free.

Siliconised paper is really versatile and means you can turn almost any heatproof dish into a baking tray.

‘A good baking tray is a must,’ they said. ‘Steel is best if you can get it, as cheaper aluminium trays don’t conduct the heat so well leaving you with a less even caramelisation on the edges of your cake.’

Ahead of Bonfire Night, the Exploding Bakery founders shared their ‘foolproof’ brownies – which are topped with lashings of decadent French caramel.

The Exploding Bakery’s French Caramel Brownies


80g (3oz) golden syrup

110g (3¾oz) caster (superfine) sugar

100ml (3½fl oz) double (heavy) cream

a pinch of salt

40g (1½oz) chilled butter


375g (13¼oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

375g (13¼oz) butter

300g (10½oz) caster sugar. 6 medium eggs

225g (8oz) ground almonds

½ teaspoon fine salt

½ teaspoon sea salt flakes. You will need two baking trays (sheet pans) for this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/320°F/gas 4 and line two 22 x 33 x 5cm (8½ x 13 x 2in) baking trays (sheet pans). 

To make the French caramel, heat the golden syrup and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, tilting the pan from side to side so the melting sugar and golden syrup get acquainted. 

Bubble away in the pan for a few minutes until the contents begin to darken and give off a whiff of toffee. 

At this point, whisk in the cream and salt, along with half of the butter. Keep it bubbling away until the colour of the caramel becomes as dark as you dare, then whisk in the remaining butter until it’s fully melted. 

Pour the hot caramel into one of your prepared trays and pop it in the freezer to set – this way, you can use it much sooner. 

Now make the brownie mix by melting the chocolate and butter together in a bain-marie, stirring occasionally, until they are combined and silky smooth. 

Pour the melted chocolate and butter into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and add the sugar. Give it a quick stir, then beat in the eggs until the mix emulsifies, becoming smooth and glossy and starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl without sticking to it. 

Finally, fold in the ground almonds and fine salt until fully combined, then pour the mixture into your second lined tray. 

By this point, the caramel should be brittle enough to smash into shards, but if it’s soft, you can cut it into slithers and chunks and place them on top of the brownie mix. A random pattern is good. 

If you do have shards, stick them upright into the batter, so they melt down into pools, but still reach deep into the brownie. Bake for 35–40 minutes. 

The brownie should be just cooked when you take it out, with a little wobble in the middle, and the caramel will bubble up a bit at the sides. Allow it to fully cool in the tray, then sprinkle some sea salt flakes over the top and serve. Best eaten once fully cooled. This will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

Bake It. Slice It. Eat It. by Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh (Quadrille, £15), Photography Sam A. Harris 

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