At some point during my childhood I developed a passion for baking cakes that has never left me. A passion that has taught me (much needed) patience and saved me from myself during difficult times.
I’m not talking about beautiful, delicate patisserie or magnificent sculptures out of sponge and icing, although I did flirt with the latter for a while. I’m talking about every day cakes, family cakes, cakes my grandmothers would make, as well as their grandmothers in some form or another.
This passion did leave me temporarily. I was distracted by my university years and early London-working years, but I rediscovered baking soon after having my first child. And it has never left me since.
I suppose having two grandmas who baked a lot, as well as a mum who baked, were, and still are, my influences. Which takes me back to this post about Recipe Book Inspiration. I read my mum’s Be-Ro recipe book avidly over and over to choose what I could bake next. I see my daughter reading baking books in a similar way now.
Then I became tempted by the bright lights of the shaped birthday cakes. I researched sugar craft; even designing and making a Formula One car out of cake when I was about nineteen. But as I’ve got older I found I don’t have the patience to continue in this vein. But I did learn how to flood ice biscuits a few years ago. Always an impressive skill. N.B my photography skills below of my early cakes were extremely hit and miss. Or rather, mainly miss.
The concentration of weighing, measuring, tasting, checking, melting helped me during difficult times. It took me out of my head-space for a while. Distracting myself from unhappy thoughts. Even now, if I feel low, I grab the scales, turn on the oven and bake something.
It isn’t the eating of the cake. Although that is a rather tasty outcome. It’s the process of baking which I love so much.