When I was pregnant with Curly I decided to take on the challenge of learning how to bake. I’m not quite sure where the idea came from because I rarely eat baked goods. I don’t mind a slice of cake once in awhile for a special occasion and I certainly would never say no to a custard-filled cannoli but as a general rule I try not to eat that sort of thing. If I go out for coffee I’m the wanker who chooses a raw-vegan-grain-free-sugar-free-paleo-kale-chia-seed-activated-almond slice over a muffin or carrot cake. So I think what attracted me to baking was the challenge not the fact I wanted to stuff myself with tortes!
Oh boy was it a challenge. Each Sunday while the Boy was at golf I’d pick a recipe and give it my all, however I suffered more failures than successes. Cakes would rise in the oven only to fall flat soon after they’d hit the bench. Brownies would be dry rather than moist and biscuits would end up in the bin. Don’t even get me started on my icing skills – sub par to say the least. So feeling disheartened I hung up my apron deciding baking just wasn’t to be one of my talents. *sob sob*
Since then I’ve stuck to not baking raw treats such as protein balls, a fail safe paleo banana bread recipe and if I need a birthday cake I visit me old mate Betty Crocker down aisle 7. I did have success recently baking my dad a vegan chocolate cake for his birthday and made some pretty awesome sweet potato brownies a couple of weeks ago – however it’s all very hit and miss.
I can cook – in fact I think I’m pretty good at it- however baking is an entirely different ball game. With cooking you can taste as you go along – adding a bit of this here and a bit of that there. I very rarely follow recipes and if I do I nearly always make alterations to suit my taste.
Baking requires exact measurements and other than licking the bowl, spoon, beaters and any utensil which has made contact with the batter you don’t really know how it’s all going to pan out until it’s baked. When it comes to baking you can’t just wing it and hope for the best.
I don’t watch much television but when I do you can bet it’s the food channel. This is where I came across the absolute gem of gastronomy-based viewing – Great British Bake Off. Oh. My. God. Delectable delicacies or what! Everything looks so pretty and far beyond my baking capabilities. The showstopper challenge – where the bakers are able to prove their mettle with a showstopping bake – leaves me in awe. Last week one of the bakers constructed a bike out of choux pastry and filled the wheels with creme anglaise and other delights. Stop it!
Since I’m on maternity leave I could do with a new challenge because raising two mini humans and training for a marathon just isn’t enough (ha I’m kidding it’s plenty challenging already!). So I am delving back into learning how to bake.
I borrowed the Women’s Weekly Love to Bake recipe book from the library last week and will be baking one possibly two items per week. Sundays once again as I think it’s a nice way to end the weekend. This time I have my sous chef lending a hand. He is highly-skilled in spoon licking, stirring and dropping ingredients on to the clean floor.
I plan on giving my bakes away as marathon training and gorging on baked goods don’t really go together however it could be considered carb loading. So if you’re local and you want to be a guinea pig holler at me! I’m even open to requests.
I also plan on posting about each bake – more for myself so I can have a record of what worked, what didn’t work and how I can improve. It’s also a nice way to practise my photography skills.
So here I go – learning to bake once more. Who knows in a year’s time I may just be up to scratch and auditioning for a spot on Great Australian Bake Off. Hey a girl’s gotta have dreams!