British vs American Terms Used In Baking

Photo credit: Jordane Mathieu

How often does the name of an ingredient or a piece of baking equipment leave us totally bewildered? What does the term mean? Some people call cookies biscuits, the American version is cookies and the British version, biscuits. There are so many words like these and depending on which book you’re referring to, a British publication or an American one, or more confounding still, an Australian one, baking ingredients and equipment can confuse. And then of course there is the Indian version too, and it gets even more confusing. But mostly, Indians used British English because of our historical past. Now however, with the internet and so much of American influence, many people use the American equivalents here in India too.

I took these ingredient and equipment terms from a wonderful book called The Best of Baking.

So here are some British baking terms with their American equivalents. I’d love it if you’d add to these in the comment section of this post.


apple, cooking (British) / apple, baking (American)

apple purée (British) / apple sauce (American)

bicarbonate or soda (British) / baking soda (American)

biscuits (British) / crackers or cookies (American)

biscuit mixture (British) / cookie dough (American)

black treacle (British) / molasses (American)

cake mixture (British) / cake batter (American)

chocolate caraque (British) chocolate curls (American)

chocolate, plain (British) / chocolate, semisweet (American)

chocolate vermicelli (British) / chocolate sprinkles (American)

cocoa powder (British) / unsweetened cocoa (American)

coconut, dessicated (British) / coconut, shredded (American)

cornflour (British) / cornstarch (American)

cream, single (British) / cream, light (American)

cream, double (British) / cream, heavy (American)

digestive biscuits (British) / graham crackers (American)

flour, plain (British) / flour, all purpose (American)

gelatine (British) / gelatin (American)

glacé cherries (British) / candied cherries (American)

icing (British) / frosting (American)

raisins, seedless (British) / raisins, seeded (American)

scones (British) / biscuits (American)

semolina (British) / semolina flour (American)

shortcrust pastry (British) / basic pie dough (American)

soured cream (British) / sour cream (American)

sugar, icing (British) / sugar, confectioners’ (American)

sultanas (British) / seedless white raisins (American)

vanilla pod (British) / vanilla bean (American)

yeast, fresh [25 gms, 1 oz] (British) / yeast, compressed [1cake] (American)


baking tray (British) / baking sheet (American)

base ( British) / bottom (American)

cake board (British) / cake plate (American)

cling film (British) / plastic wrap (American)

cocktail stick (British) / toothpick (American)

deep cake tin (British) / spring form pan (American)

double saucepan (British) / double boiler (American)

dough or mixture (British) / batter (American)

flan tin (British) / pie pan (American)

grease proof paper (British) / wax paper (American)

knock back dough (British) / punch down dough (American)

liquidiser (British) / blender (American)

loaf tin (British) / loaf pan (American)

muslin (British) / cheesecloth (American)

palette knife (British) / spatula (American)

pastry or biscuit cutter (British) / cookie cutter (American)

pastry case (British) / pie shell (American)

piping pag (British) / pastry bag (American)

polythene (British) / plastic (American)

prove dough (British) / rise dough (American)

pudding basin (British) / oven proof bowl or pudding mold (American)

sandwich tin (British) / layer cake pan (American)

stoned (British) / pitted (American)

sugar thermometer (British) / candy thermometer (American)

Swiss roll tin (British) / jelly roll pan (American)

whisk eggs (British) / beat eggs (American)

Fruit Mincemeat


I got this recipe from a lovely cookbook in the British Library many years ago. The book was so good that I photocopied it from end to end but unfortunately didn’t copy the cover page. Strangely enough nowhere inside was the name of the book written. So I’m at a complete loss as to who the author of this wonderful fruit mincemeat recipe is.

The recipe is not very boozy and although the original recipe had brandy in it I put rum instead. I’ve also changed the quantities of some of the fresh and tinned fruits in it.

This makes an excellent gift for someone who likes to bake. You can make mince pies, marzipan mince tarts, mince muffins: the delicious list is endless. Fruit mincemeat is usually made at Christmas time but since here in Ahmedabad all the fresh fruits are still in season, I decided to give it a go.

So here is the recipe.


Fruit Mincemeat

Makes 1 kg


450 gms mixed dried fruit such as raisins, candied peel, candied ginger, cranberries, currants

25 gms glacé cherries, chopped

25 gms blanched almonds, chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, ground cloves and mixed spice

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon and half orange

55 gms soft brown sugar

55 gms butter

55 gms tinned pineapple, chopped

1 banana, chopped

1 dessert apple, grated

100 gms grapes, halved

2 tablespoons rum


1 Put the dried fruit, cherries, almonds, spices and zest and juice into a mixing bowl and leave to soak for 2 to 3 hours.

2 Stir in the sugar.

3 Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and on high heat toss the fresh and tinned fruit for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.

4 Mix the the cooled fresh and tinned fruit with the dried fruit. Add the rum and give it a good stir.

5 Cover and store in the refrigerator for no more than a week or in the freezer for 3 months.


Preparing To Bake A Cake


Baking a cake is scientific. It involves clear measurements and proper temperatures. If you don’t get these right your cake won’t turn out well. So here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re baking a cake.

1. Keep all the ingredients ready before hand- Go through the list of ingredients written in the recipe. Take out each one, measure it as per the recipe and lay it on the cooking platform or kitchen table. Make sure you’ve not forgotten any ingredient. Flour should preferably be measured by weighing it on a kitchen weighing scale rather than in cups.

2. Bring ingredients to room temperature unless otherwise specified-Bring the butter and eggs to room temperature. Soften the butter. If the eggs are cold and need to be brought to room temperature quickly you can put them in a pan of hot water for 10 minutes.

3.  Have all your baking tools and equipment ready-Imagine missing your oven mitts when you need to remove the cake from the oven. A few minutes longer searching for them and the cake may burn.

4. Preheat the oven- You must preheat your oven for at least 10 minutes before putting the cake batter into the oven to bake. A cake usually bakes at 175 degrees C in the center of the oven.

5. Prepare the pan- You must grease and flour the cake pan before putting the batter into it so that the cake comes out easily once baked.

Easy Homemade Brown Sugar


Wish you a Merry Christmas! It’s the festive season and all of us who bake must have brown sugar at home. But what if your stock of brown sugar is over? And you don’t have time to go to the grocery store? Well then, I have a cheaper, equally delicious tasting (with all the depth of flavor) alternative for you so you can make those tasty gingerbread cookies.

You only need two ingredients. Molasses or treacle (the British equivalent of molasses) and white granulated sugar. For light brown sugar add 1 tablespoon of molasses to I cup of white granulated sugar and mix with a fork. For dark brown sugar add two tablespoons of molasses to I cup of white granulated sugar and mix with a fork. There you are! Your brown sugar is ready to use.

Do remember that brown sugar is measured differently from white granulated sugar. Because brown sugar forms clumps, when you pour it into a cup there will be air pockets so you must press it down with a spoon and ‘pack’ it. That’s why we read recipes asking for a ‘cup of packed brown sugar’.

So here’s to happy cookie baking!

photo credit: mareefe