Rio, Self-taught Homebaker

Hello! My name is Rio Francisco, 36 years old and a stay-at-home mom from Nueva Ecija. I’m a self-taught home baker and love taking photos of my baked goodies.

I started baking about 5 years ago. I started with microwave mug cakes and I really had fun decorating those, so when my husband bought me a convection oven, that’s when I started real baking.

I think it’s the process and the final product of what I bake that made me fall in love with baking. Decorating is like an art and I love making it pretty.

I love watching Anna Olson and Lorraine Pascale. They make baking look easy, fun and enjoyable. I love it when Lorraine Pascale takes photos of her baked goodies after baking.

I bake occasionally, especially during a family member’s birthday and sometimes when my boys request for something to snack on like cookies, muffins, pizzas, etc.

My signature recipes include sugar cut-out cookies, brownies, brownie cakes, and simple birthday cakes. I also make bread, buns, and savory dishes like pizzas and pot pies.

A clean work area is a must, and preparing all the ingredients before hand is really a game changer. It saves you time and you’ll never forget anything essential when you’ve already started. Using boxed mixes makes baking a breeze (less mess, less expenses, great quality) and you’ll still get the same quality result like baking from scratch.

Make sure you grease your pan liberally and never overmix your batter. Just have fun baking! Do what you love and love what you do.

My biggest challenge was when I ruined a bundt cake that was supposed to be for my son’s birthday because I didn’t grease the pan properly. I thought that a little butter was ok, but after baking, cooling, then flipping the cake onto a plate, it wouldn’t budge. So I shamelessly rounded a knife on the edges, and voila, a ruined cake. The bottom half was stuck and the other half crumbling on the plate. It still tasted great so we just ate it as it is and I baked a new one.

Also, since I don’t have a stand mixer, I just knead bread dough by hand. It’s challenging and tiring, but very rewarding once you smell the aroma of from the oven and finally take a bite of your freshly baked bread.

My most memorable experience was when I made a birthday cake for my nephew who is in preschool. He wanted a chocolate cake with sugar cookies with his classmates names on them. The kids were very excited to see the cake and cookies and they said it was so cute and yummy.

I want to have my own baking book someday, I know I still have a long way to go, but whatever the baking future has in store for me, I’m very up for it.

Here’s a simple basic sugar cookie recipe that I always use. It holds it’s shape beautifully while baking and you can cut it any design you like.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Author Ms. Rio Francisco

Ingredients

  • 80 grams butter
  • 125 grams cake flour
  • 45 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 medium size egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • few drops of vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Cream the butter and the powdered sugar together, add the egg yolk, mix, then add the teaspoon of water and vanilla extract then mix again.
  • Add the cake flour and mix well then knead the dough until it all comes together and smooth.
  • Form into a ball and wrap it with cling film and refrigerate for about an hour or even overnight.
  • Roll out the dough between two parchment paper for smoother and easier rolling until desired thickness.
  • Cut using cookie cutter, place on a tray with parchment paper then bake in a pre-heated 170°C oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked.

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