I love to bake!
There is nothing in the world quite like it. I love to bake just about anything, but my favourite thing of all is cakes. I jump at any chance I get to bake a cake. I bake cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, mud cakes, sponge cakes and love it when I get requests for special occasions as it gives me a chance to try something new.
I have always liked baking, although some would say I was terrible at it before I became a mum. It seemed though that after I became a mum, something in me changed and miraculously I became great at baking! As my life got more stressful it affected and my bipolar 2 baking became of great therapeutical benefit for me.
The first cake I made, which was what I consider a ‘creation’, was a number ‘1’ for my daughter’s first birthday. It was, I must say, not great, but I sure had fun making it and it looked pretty cool! For her 2nd birthday in May last year I made a number ‘2’ and decorated it like a garden, using strawberries for the flowers; it turned out much better and was delicious.
This year I am aiming to make more sugar-free recipes starting with a number 3 birthday cake for my daughter. I have made sugar-free cupcakes using honey and they were quite good but I am yet to make a cake. I dare say there will be a few trial runs before the actual day in May!
I don’t, however, intend to try making all my recipes without sugar as there are some that I feel wouldn’t be quite right without it. One of these is my most requested cake, a Baked Caramel Swirl Cheesecake. It is very rich, morish and everything a cake should be! It is a little time-consuming to make, but now that I’ve made it numerous times I am a little faster at making it. It is so delicious it’s definitely worth the time and effort.
It seems that some of my best recipes and variations on recipes have come from lacking certain ingredients. I have a tendency to just start baking something and not check if I’ve got all the ingredients, especially when I’m stressed! Like when I went to do a trial run of a Chocolate Mud Cake for my boyfriend’s birthday and discovered in the middle of making the cake I didn’t have any eggs left. I live out of town so I couldn’t duck down to the shops to grab some. Onto Google I jumped and how glad I was as this led to the discovery of using mayonnaise as a replacement for eggs. This replacement made the best moist rich chocolate mud cake I’ve ever had! I now always make my mud cake with mayonnaise and not eggs.
Another recipe that came about when I was particularly stressed and decided baking would calm me down, is pineapple and apple crumble. I started making apple crumble, to discover I didn’t have enough apples (by this point I’d already made the crumble topping). I decided on a whim to chuck in a can of pineapple. Thinking it would be a one off, it has now become my boyfriend’s favourite desert.
I also enjoy baking everyday things like biscuits and not so fancy cakes, for morning and afternoon teas. I have been lucky enough to get a hold of my Nan’s recipes which she has been baking for 60 years or so now. I love baking them knowing that I am carrying on a family tradition. Her ANZAC biscuits are super easy to make and I often do a big batch, resulting in about 60 biscuits. Nan’s banana cake and patty cake recipes are also firm favourites in my household. It’s very easy to just go to the shops and buy a packet of biscuits, but where is the fun in that, plus homemade always tastes so much better!
Baking for me is my happy place, my stress-free place and an area where I’m in full control. For some baking can be the opposite, or you may love it but just can’t get it right, I certainly couldn’t before I became a mum. I suggest starting out with simple recipes and go from there. You never know you may end up finding yourself making magnificent creations in no time at all!
I’m off to bake some banana bread, happy baking mama’s!
Jacinta Durr is first and foremost a mum to her two and a half year old Eliza. She is studying part-time at the University of Canberra doing a Bachelor of Communication in Media & Public Affairs. Jacinta also hosts a radio show one day a week as a volunteer on Canberra community radio station 2XXFM and is hoping this will one day lead to a career in radio. Oh, and of course she loves baking and is a huge fan of MamaBake!