Wednesday, 26 February 2014

On Baking

I've got my baking mojo back this week.

After falling out with the oven at my friends' house, I kind of went off baking a little bit. I didn't have my cake tins, or new digital scales (I say "new", they were a Christmas present...), or piping bags and nozzles, or baking beans, or any of the things I like to have to hand when I'm whipping something up. Hence why I went with Welsh Cakes the other day- they're super easy, don't require the use of an oven, and are quick and easy to make. In short, they were the thing I could make that was least likely to result in me throwing an unattractive hissy fit in front of J (he hasn't been treated to that yet. God help him when it happens).

But while I was at home, my darling younger brother and his amazing girlfriend got engaged, and as soon as I'd calmed down enough to function in a socially acceptable way (I only actually "calmed down" yesterday. Actually, that's a lie- I'm still not convinced that I've calmed down completely), my first thought was "CAKE! I MUST MAKE THEM A CAKE!". So I did. This cake, in fact. It looked distinctly average to me, but they were so delighted with it it made my heart swell.

I often come across people who don't really "get" why I bake. They don't get why I want to weep when my cake comes out of the oven and has risen lopsidedly, or why I do a victory dance when my macarons look good, or why I get more joy out of giving cake to someone else than I do from eating it myself.

Baking for someone says "Here, I made you something. I like you enough to put actual effort into putting something together that will hopefully taste good and hopefully put a smile on your face". It says you love someone enough to painstakingly weigh out ingredients, beat them until your arm feels like it might fall off, hover in front of an oven until your creation looks just right, wait impatiently for it to cool, and then decorate in a way that makes something that will hopefully taste good look good too.

My older sister has been pestering me for months to make her a cake, and when I took her birthday cake to her last night, she was absolutely delighted. To me, it was one of the worst looking cakes I've made in an age, it was denser than it should have been, and there were many things I would have done to make it better. But she loved it. She loved that I had gone to the effort of making her something, and transporting it for 30 miles to her front door.

I show love by feeding people. It's why I don't tend to get take out food often, or go out to eat- I love cooking for people. The kitchen is my happy place, and while I may not have the highest level of confidence when it comes to my own cooking (my lovely housemate M is far more innovative and daring than I am in the kitchen, for example), realistically, I know I'm good at it. And if someone doesn't eat something I've baked, my heart breaks a teeny tiny bit. It makes me sad. So if I ever bake anything for you, please just eat it?

So yes. Baking mojo is back- this week has already seen two bakes, and I'm planning more for tonight- so keep your eyes peeled for more recipes in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, why not have a peek at some of my favourite foodie bloggers? They're all amazing, far more so than me. But I'd like to think they'd get why I bake too, and would forgive me for all the gratuitous pictures of my more successful bakes.

Top With Cinnamon- Izy is 18. EIGHTEEN. I bow to her greatness.
London Bakes- one of the first blogs I read. I love Kathryn's gluten free recipes, though I almost always turn them back to gluten-full as I don't have an intolerance.
Thoroughly English- because I love her, and she is amazing. I have seen her cook and she really is a goddess.


  1. I feel exactly the same! My baked goods are often not as pretty as I'd like but I love being able to give the people that I care about actual proof of my affection in the form of cake or other handmade goods! This year I'm trying to master knitting... Everyone can expect scarves. ;)

    Miss Tea x

  2. My God those cakes!
    I'm so hungry now :(
    I love how the last one looks, yum.

  3. So now all I want is cake!!!!!

    I would quite happily accept any sort of baking that you put under my nose, especially if it looks like any of the above!!!! Yum!! You are quite the baker miss Alice!
    I definitely think you should bake your brother's wedding cake (as their gift!) they would LOVE that!

  4. Your pictures and post made me want to start baking so badly! Great post, and I'll check the refered blogs, I'm sure they are delightful.

  5. These all look amazing! When is your bake shop opening up?!?! ;)

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post. Your cakes are extremely impressive--such decorating style! I definitely understand the urge to bake as a sign of one's love for others. I look forward to more deliciousness in the future here on The Cup and Saucer.

  7. I love baking so much too! I just love it when I get a positive reaction from my bakes. Your cupcakes in the first picture look amazing! I really need to learn to pipe properly. Do you have any tips for me? How thick or thin do you like your icing when piping it? Do you pipe it at room temperature?

    Gemma x

  8. WOW! They all look fabulous. I love baking too. :]


  9. I want cake now. A big fat piece of cake. Yum!

  10. It's hard because I married someone that doesn't really have a sweet tooth, but I love cake, and i end up baking and eating most of it myself. Which is great because it's yummy but my waistline doesn't approve!

  11. That bottom chocolate cake - YUM! I also like to bake, escaping to the kitchen is one of my favourite past times. I'm very much a 'simple' baker though I put great effort in to my recipes. It's always a nice feeling when you know someone is pleased by your creation.
    Bits & Bobs

  12. These all look so amazing, you are super talented! I am 110% sure that I would eat every scrap if you baked for me! x

    Leanne - A Slice of My Life


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