I have always liked baking – my Mum is a trained cook, my godmother is also very creative and successful in the kitchen, and I remember baking cakes with them when I was young. But it has only been in recent years that my like of baking has developed into something more significant…I would go so far as to say I love it.
I’m can’t pinpoint exactly when it started, but I’m thinking it was around the time that I turned 30 and bought my first home a few years ago…I enjoy ‘home making’ in every sense, and each month purchase my favourite magazine ‘Your Home’ that is fantastic for people like me who are on a budget. I found myself feeling very grown up all of a sudden and noticed that such magazines always contained recipe ideas too – interior design, home making, DIY and cooking go hand-in-hand I guess…
I started off with a couple of cook books and, whilst I enjoy trying out new savoury dishes, it is baking where my passion truly lies. A few years ago my sister asked me to bake a cake for my nephew’s 1st birthday, and I found a great Victoria sponge recipe that I have stuck to ever since as it always seems to turn out just right and I have received many compliments on it. I think you just can’t beat a personalised home-made sponge covered in buttercream and decorated with sweets for a birthday! They’re sooooo much tastier than the shop-bought versions.
From that first birthday cake I branched out and, thanks to my ever growing recipe book collection, have attempted such delicacies as a banana & walnut loaf, a fruity tea cake, choc-dipped macaroons, choc-mint biscuits, truffles, a key lime pie, a double chocolate cheesecake, chocolate caramel slices, flapjacks, a carrot cake, a pecan pie (which my only ‘failure’…so far anyway!), and most recently cookie monster cupcakes for my nephew’s birthday (who is now 4) and a microwave chocolate cake. Here are some photos of my attempts [warning: do not view on an empty stomach, otherwise you may be heading for the nearest shop/vending machine for something sweet]…..I have recently become an addict of the show ‘The Great British Bake Off’ (TGBBO) – it is the only programme that I make sure I watch every episode of and I was absolutely gutted when the last series ended recently…hence why my own baking has ‘stepped up a gear’ in the last few weeks. I don’t profess to be a contender for TGBBO by any means…I am a mere novice and amateur. I don’t even eat much of what I create as I am careful these days about what I eat, so I either have a small taste or time my bakes around when I am having a ‘day off’’. So, why do I bake, and why do I enjoy it so much?…
I often laughingly refer to baking as my ‘therapy’, but all joking aside I don’t think that’s too far from the truth. It gives me a chance to be totally mindful of the task in hand (a rarity for someone with a busy mind), allows me to do something for other people that they will hopefully enjoy (although I have been concerned in the past that I may be branded a ‘feeder’!), it satisfies my need to be creative, I also enjoy practising a skill (which for a ‘high aiming perfectionist’ like me is important!), and I think it’s useful knowledge to have that can be passed on to generations – everyone needs to eat after all! And finally, when I do allow myself to sample a piece of what I have made, I bloomin’ enjoy it!
Whilst thinking about writing up my baking adventures into a blog, I decided to do a quick google of ‘baking therapy’ and it seems that I am not alone…I found various blogs of baking enthusiasts (who I am now following and eagerly awaiting updates from) who use baking as ‘therapy’…from a girl who says she is “making her way through various cookbooks in the pursuit of gastronomic happiness (and affordable therapy)” to another getting through the loss of her father by baking. One quote in particular from a fellow ‘baking therapee’ made me smile:
“In my world, baking always sparks feel-good feelings that make the previous week’s stress melt away. Nothing cures tension like the aroma of something delicious baking in the oven.”
So, whether you like eating and/or sharing what you make, you’re doing it to get through a very real and tragic event, using it as a stress-buster, or all or none of the above, everyone who loves baking does so for their own reason. To those of you that do I say “Aim high!” I will too, and therefore will see you on TGBBO next year?! 😉
Until next time, love and cakes, sm x