I know, it’s almost a crime against nature, but I haven’t eaten cake since I was 10. Many people seem to struggle to understand why I love baking, but don’t eat the fundamental item that aligns every shelf in the baking section of a supermarket, or takes centre stage at a bakery: cake. Now, since Easter has just flown by, many baking and chef accounts on Instagram have been overloading our feed with Easter themed tray bakes, cupcakes and indulgent cakes. I marvel at them, but couldn’t think of anything worse than eating them.
So when Bake Off’s professional counterpart Bake Off: Crème de la Crème graced my screen last week, I couldn’t think of anything more indulgent to watch and to taste. Now, I love baking as much as the next person, I just can’t muster up the guts to actually eat what I bake. Having not eaten cake for 10 years, part of me doesn’t exactly remember what I’m missing. Staying away from cakes and muffins for almost half my life, it hasn’t lessened my love for the art of baking.
Many people have found it odd that for such an avid baker, I don’t like eating cake, but those people are forgetting that baking is not just limited to the traditional Victoria sponge or lemon drizzle cake. It’s pastry, tarts, cookies and patisserie (for those, like myself, who love a challenge when it comes to baking). However, this isn’t to say that I don’t find the appearance luscious and decadent. I would happily stare at cake all day when it’s decorated and patterned beautifully. For others, the smell is delicious, but it’s still not enough to entice me to buy that chocolate cupcake on the top shelf at the bakery.
Baking is therapeutic, cathartic if you will. It requires little fuss, unless you’re going all out to create a Croquembouche, and that’s what makes it fun. And I can’t say that I’m not guilty to receiving a few cookery books for birthdays and Christmas over the years. I will happily slave over a mixing bowl, covered in flour, just to create something that pleases other people palette, even if I don’t get to share their indulgence. And it’s not just me that finds baking as a therapeutic method. It calms people down, and if done right, you have a sweet treat on your hands to enjoy.
Baking as a hobby has gained momentum over the past few years, thanks to the overwhelming success of the Great British Bake Off; which proved that you don’t need to be a top chef to create something everyone can enjoy. It seems to be one of those things that seems to be passed from one generation to generation, slowly depleting with the current generation of young teens, but slowly being picked back up, with people wanting to emulate the marvellous creations of Mary Berry, Delia Smith, Nigella Lawson, and of course, the silver fox himself, Paul Hollywood. These chefs seemed to have made something that was once perceived to be a duty for the 1950’s housewife, to something cool, almost like a craze. Seeing an increase in baking utensils; such as cake pop moulds, random shaped cookie cutters, even silicone baking tins (which are a must have), baking has thoroughly cemented itself into our lives. And judging by the popularity of cooking shows, amongst every age bracket, it’s here to stay for a while.
So since we have also seen the rising success of healthy eating, and the recent craze of veganism, why not hop on the bandwagon, and indulge yourself in some sweet and savoury baking. Although it may be seen as an overload of sugar, we can allow ourselves just one mini cupcake, right?
My love for baking won’t go away, and just because I lost my liking for eating cake, it doesn’t mean I have to restrict or stop my baking habits. Or will lose the love for the sweet scent that wafts passed you as you walk passed a bakery. So much so, that I’ve signed up for a masterclass to make meringues, with the Instagram worthy Meringue Girls. I won’t let my non-cake eating self from limiting my baking habits.
So, with the influx of baking programmes and books, even Youtube channels dedicated specifically to baking, why not pick up a recipe and see for yourself? There’s something that caters for every type of taste.