Go-to Baked Basics that Save Money

I like to bake. I mean I REALLY like to bake and baking can save a lot of money in the long run on costly baked goods. It can also be an expensive hobby which is clearly counter to my frugal nature. From costly chocolate to every pan and baking gear available, baking stuff to me is what jewelry is to other people. That means I have to find ways to economize which I find I can do with several baking recipes that cover a LOT of my baking projects. The tart dough recipe is my go-to recipe for everything from a savory sheet pan cheese and vegetable tart to hand pies and even a fruit pie crust. The second recipe is a batter recipe and can be used to make the most amazing upside down fruit-based cakes, everything from pears and apples to plums and pineapple. I use it seasonally to use up every delicious fruit I have in my crisper. It is my go-to batter for every quick cake and desert that I find I have to make for many occasions and often at the last minute. The batter comes together in minutes while the oven is preheating and best of all, both recipes need very simple, basic ingredients and are therefore budget friendly.

Insta-Savings Tart Dough


2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Big pinch of Kosher salt

12 tablespoons of cold butter cubed

1/2 ice cold water

2 cold egg yolks


Place salt and flour in a food processor and buzz a couple of times to mix. With motor running, add cubes of cold butter one by one until you have a pea sized crumbly mix. Add the egg yolks and buzz again. Slowly add the ice cold water in a thin stream until the dough comes together. Turn dough out and knead a few times to bring it together. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least two hours or up to three days. To use, roll out and cut into rounds for hand pies or roll out onto a cookie sheet or two pie crusts. Bake (using dried beans) at 400-deg for at least 15 minutes, longer if you have added toppings. Extremely versatile you can add:

  1. Slices tomatoes and cheese to the pan sheet version.
  2. Fruit to either a tart pie or pan sheet version.
  3. Vegetables and loads of cheese to a pan sheet or free form tart.
  4. Leftover meat or poultry and cheese for hand pies.

Better for Your Budget Cake Batter


1 cup all purpose flour and sugar, each

2 teaspoons baking powder

Big pinch Kosher salt

3 eggs

Half up yogurt, any kind and 1/2 cup oil, any kind that is not too strong (vegetable or olive oil both work fine)


Whisk all ingredients together and pour over artfully arranged fruit in a greased cake pan. Bake 45 minutes or until done in preheated 350-oven.

You can also melt down a 1/2 cup each of butter and brown sugar and pour that into the greased pan first so your fruit has a caramel topping when inverted. Be sure and let your cake cool before inverting it onto a plate. I’ve used and not used the caramel topping with equally good results.

And do not forget to revisit my the possibilities are endless muffin recipe where you can find endless recipe options for simple muffins which, when you factor in the reality of the $4 muffin from your local coffee hang out, makes for some real savings.

Some more frugal tips include buying in season and right after holidays. You will find many baking ingredients available before the holidays but cheaper afterwards. You can get cheap candy and pumpkins for roasting and pureeing right after Halloween. Easter will net you cheap eggs by the dozen and other holidays will net you additional ingredients so shop shortly after holidays if at all possible. Also, be mindful that certain canned goods such as pumpkin and evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, the cost can vary widely from store to store so while you may be tempted to stock up, be sure and find that lowest price before you splurge. I have found a small can of sweetened condensed milk priced from 0.99 cents all the way up to $2.39 for the very same size and brand so it pays to comparison shop for baking ingredients. Conversely, at my discount grocery store, I’ve often been surprised by a lost leader cheap price on everything from chocolate chips to flour. I’ve snatched up 10 pounds of bread flour for just 1.99 and snagged large cans of pumpkin for just $0.99 all when I was not even looking for them. I even found small cake pans at Wallmart for just $5 when I would not allow myself to buy the very same pans for $20 elsewhere so keep a sharp look out for those ingredients you covet.

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