Baking For Britain

Lately I have become mildly obsessed with baking. Cakes, especially. There’s something so very comforting about baking a cake. Weighing out and mixing the ingredients, the warmth from the oven, the sweet smells wafting around the house, the sense that you are doing something that women have done for generations. It’s very soothing. Whenever I feel like the darkness outside is creeping into my soul, I go and bake a cake.

I’ve been doing it a lot lately.

At this rate I will never lose those last 10lbs. But hey, its winter. I need some insulation.

I’m especially drawn to old fashioned, traditional cakes and recipes. The sort of thing I remember from my childhood, and Tony from his. Did you grow up in a house where there was always something homemade in the cake tin? I did. I like that. Not good for the waist, but good for the soul. (If I could master the art of breadmaking, I’d like to always have homemade bread in the bread tin as well. Although this soda bread is pretty fantastic.) It’s nice to be able to offer guests a slice of something homemade, especially if you can do so casually, in a I-didn’t-bake-this-because-I-knew-you-were-coming-I’m-just-the-kind-of-cook-who-always-has-something-delicious-on-hand kind of way. Makes you feel like a domestic goddess.

Some of the recipes I’ve baked recently include: Nigella’s Clementine Cake (keeps beautifully, and naturally gluten and dairy free), Hot Toddy Fruitcake (I had high hopes for this one, but missed a crucial step in the instructions – double line cake tin with baking parchment – so the sides and bottom burnt black), Parkin (so utterly delicious that I made it twice in one week), Hot Cross Buns (left in the oven too long, they were a bit bullet-like), and Malt loaf (not as good as shop bought, disappointingly).

Do you like to bake? If so, what are your favourite recipes?

9 thoughts on “Baking For Britain

  1. I love baking! I try to bake every week and more when I am feeling down or stressed out. Usually I bake muffins because they are fast – 30mins from start to finish, biscuits occasionally and last week was a victoria sponge (Mary Berry)…so good!

    I don’t worry about the calorie count as I say if it is homemade it is zero calories! lol Well it is better for you than shop bought with fewer preservatives and additives 🙂

  2. I love to bake! I like cooking in general, but, as you say, there’s something so satisfying in baking. I have a fantastic vegan chocolate cake recipe (but it does use gluten . . .)

  3. Love it. But have concerns about the waistline. When I was little and my mum was little people used so much more energy, too. No worries about daily servings of cake when you do physical work absolutely the entire day! These days I like to bake muffins for everyday dessert, my current faves are apple muffins and blueberry muffins. I tweak the recipe to make them more healthy, though, reducing sugar, substituting cake flour for 1/3 darker flour. And breads, of course. I make most of our bread myself. It delivers on all kinds of coziness, and is proper food. Add some homemade jam and you are right back there in the good old days of housewives and a slow pace 🙂

  4. Lemon drizzle cake with lots of extra drizzle. Scrumptious! Alternatively, deliciously soggy chocolate and nut brownies. My Nan made the most wonderful parkin (along with bread, scones, tea cakes and Sally Lunn’s) She used to hide it , as it does improve with keeping for a week ,but someone always found it before the week was up. I have her original recipe if anyone is interested.

  5. I’ve been baking quite a lot lately, mostly buttermilk biscuits of a variety of types: basic, lemon, rosemary, feta, and next – olive & feta! I love the ease of a single batch of buttermilk biscuits/scones, and the fact that a litre will give me up to 5 batches or a couple plus a cake. Shortbread also features often in our house, and crumbles. Today I’m bemoaning the lack of sugar pumpkins, fresh and canned, in NZ – I’ve a wicked urge to make a pie to honour my native land’s Thanskgiving Day.