Some of my earliest memories are baking related, my mum was always baking when I grew up and my sister and I always got involved in one way or another (even if it was just licking the spoon/bowl!). My granny had been a semi-pro baker/chef, she won various competitions during her lifetime and I think that’s where I inherited my passion for baking from. Her banana bread recipe is one of my most loved bakes, every time I make it for the girls at work it only lasts about half an hour into the shift before it’s sliced open and demolished within the next hour or so!
We were always in the kitchen making something (even with a dodgy fringe!)
During my GCSE’s I did food tech, my final project was some sort of healthy traybake, I spent weeks upon weeks perfecting my traybake recipe and baking techniques. Stu loved it because he always came to my house on a Wednesday night after I had food tech class, so he would spend his afternoon eating most of the cake! I received a couple of marks below full marks for my project which I was so pleased with and I think it spurred me on to try different types of baking. I think this is really where I started to learn to experiment with flavours and different bakes.
Over the years I have perfected my cupcake recipes, I adapted a recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery to make it my own, resulting in what have been described as ‘the lightest sponge I’ve ever had’. I love trying new flavours in my cupcakes, my favourites so far are lady grey tea cupcakes, a combination of my two favourite things! I often send Stuart to work with my most recent bakes and Stuart always comes back saying they were all gone by lunchtime and more are requested!
My biggest baking challenge/success was our wedding. I decided that I didn’t want to pay someone to make a cake that just wouldn’t taste like mine, so why not make my own! I did a cupcake tower, with vanilla, lady grey tea and lemon cupcakes. I spent two days running up to the wedding baking and decorating, strangely I found this calming and didn’t get at all stressed out! The cutting cake I did order more M&S but I made a sugarcraft peony for the top which I was really proud of as I had never made one before. The year after we got married my father in law was also getting married and his wife wanted me to make their wedding cupcakes, sadly as I was working the whole week before and I was super tired (as I was 6 months pregnant) I couldn’t do it, but I wish I had been able to.
Over the years I’ve also experimented with bigger cakes, making birthday cakes for family and friends. A few years ago a contestant on the GBBO was making marshmallow fondant icing, I was intirgued as growing up I had hated icing on cakes so I thought this was a perfect change. Even though it’s so time consuming and messy to make, it’s so worth it and undoubtedly the best icing you’ll ever taste! I’ve learnt how to make macaroons this year and even though they’re very time consuming,they are worth it in the end for the delicious taste. I always like finding a new thing to bake.
I think the thing I love most about baking is that I find it so relaxing, it’s a time when I can just enjoy something I really love and also have a bit of a creative outlet. The other best bit is obviously the testing once it’s all cooked! I would love to be able to bake all day every day, but 1. I have a child who cries at me every time I start cooking or preparing anything because I’m not focusing my attention solely on him, and 2. I would be the size of a house if I did bake every day because quite frankly I would end up eating it all, so it’s never going to happen! I suppose I can dream..