Family & Home

The Happy Baker

Every October the nation celebrates National Baking Week, so we took at look at why people love to get their hands dirty (with flour) and the best places you can learn to bake in Bristol. 

Whilst I don’t profess to being an ‘expert’ I’m something of an amateur baker myself. I had this notion that motherhood would mean beautiful cake creations for my children, so when my first born was a year old I went on a cake decorating course.

I’m not a creative person, yes maybe with words, but not in an arty way, so I had my reservations that I’d be able to make aesthetically pleasing masterpieces. However, I quickly realised a few things:

  1. It’s not as complicated as it looks
  2. It can be expensive – all the tools and equipment you need are endless
  3. The time is takes to make a cake compared with the price you can charge for selling it is hugely disproportionate 

Still I continued with my passion and even began selling some cakes for people who’d ask if I made them professionally. Now, as I run my own business and cake making wasn’t on the agenda to be the next business, I eventually decided to stop making cakes for other people.

To be fair it was taking some of the love and passion out of the creating process. And the pressure of delivering someone’s wedding cake without smashing it to pieces was intense. 

So now I just bake for friends and family!

A cake made by The Interchange editor, Suzie

I often get asked where I find the time. Making my mother’s 65th birthday cake took around eight hours. I make time, because whilst I’m baking I can switch off from all the other worries and concerns circling my head. In that moment the only thing I’m thinking about it how to get the right colour for the fondant, or the shape of a flower just so. It takes time yes, but it’s me time and there’s something special about giving someone a cake that you both know you’ve spent hours lovingly creating. 

Every October National Baking Week is held to encourage more people to get into baking. 

“Baking has lots of processes – be it choosing the recipe, buying the ingredients, weighing out the ingredients, mixing, stirring, lining tins, kneading dough, washing up or simply eating – so there is a job to suit everyone,” the organisation behind the week explains. 

“Baking is like art and craft, it can be a merry mess-making activity. This is all part of baking but the mess made is easy to clean up, especially when you all do it together. Get your pinny on and make sure you have plenty of space.”

Like I said, I use baking as a way of destressing and zoning out. It’s been found that baking is great for mental health and conditions like depression. 

Former Great British Bake-off winner John Whaite has been known to say that baking helps lift his depression, as it’s a way of channelling all the negative energy into creating something positive. You can read more in this article on the benefits of baking

There’s also the fact that you’re removing all of the processed rubbish from shop bought cakes when you bake at home. They don’t need to look perfect, but they often still taste amazing. 

Here’s another article on reasons to love home baking. 

If you’d like to learn to bake, but like me you’d rather someone taught you how to do it first, then there are plenty of schools and classes that will teach you how to do it. 

Bristol Adult Education, in Shirehampton, runs regular courses, and if you’re looking for something a little more high-brow, why not try Hobbs House Bakery.

Hobbs House Bakery was established in the Cotswolds in the 1920’s and is are a true family business with five generations of baking experience. 

Now based at their bakery in Chipping Sodbury their expert team of bakers produce an exceptional range of high quality breads, pastries and confectionery, as well as running regular courses. 

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