Baking: sometimes nothing makes me happier. Call it therapy, call it a reason to eat cake, call it a way to fill up an empty weekend, call it whatever you like: the end result is still the same. Satisfaction.
Perhaps it’s the fact that in less than an hour you can make something out of nothing. Or maybe it’s because the finished product (hopefully) looks, smells and tastes really good. Or maybe it’s because for a brief period of time, you can immerse yourself completely in flour, sugar and icing, and not think about any issues beyond whether you’ve added enough vanilla extract or if your oven is being temperamental.
For several months at university, there was a bit of a running joke that I used baking as a replacement activity. I was in a long-distance relationship, so baking kept my mind and hands off other things… When one day resulted in 96 cupcakes, I think my friends might have had a point. But ever since then, baking has become my ‘thing’. Relationship statuses have varied, but baking has remained constant.
Naturally, I do not eat the entire batch of cupcakes/brownies/cookies – I’d soon start looking like a blob of sponge mix. So another part of baking I take pleasure in is seeing others enjoying the fruits of my labours. Even if it’s now got to the point where some colleagues are now disappointed when I don’t show up on a Monday morning without tupperware full of chocolatey cakey treats, it’s always nice to pass on a slice of that warm fuzzy feeling I get when I pull a tray of perfect red velvets out of the oven. And this is not an ego-centric thing where I’m trying to seek attention by dishing out edible bribes. To quote Donkey from Shrek: ‘everybody loves cake’. So why not share the love?
And then there’s the competitive side of me that sees baking as something of a challenge, and something to be improved. This has resulted in some messy mistakes. Apparently putting fresh strawberries in cupcakes means that they’re impossible to eat without getting grey-ish pink goo everywhere, and not putting milk in a pudding mix turns it into a very large biscuit. But then there are the successes: the brownie recipe that has so far resulted in five marriage proposals (none yet accepted), and my very own ‘Super Cake’.
So if anyone’s wondering what to get me for my birthday this year: an all-purpose mixer, a cupcake carrier, and a complete icing set would all go down a treat.