Sunday, 4 September 2016

Just a spoon full of sugar...

Something I am surprised I haven't written about yet is my love for baking. Maybe that is because I haven't baked in quite some time. I'm not sure when baking became one of my hobbies. While studying it was an escape from stress although my baking was never stress free for anyone involved. The perfectionist in me always had rather elaborate ideas for decorating the cupcakes or cakes I made and when they wouldn't go as planned it would stress me out quite a lot!

I suppose that could have taken the good out of baking for me but I always loved making things for my family and friends' birthdays and seeing the smile it would bring to their faces to see and taste what I had made them. There is something so special about making something for someone, especially those people who have all they want and need and are impossible to buy for. I have made everything from gingerbread houses to a Minnie Mouse cake to Cookie Monster cupcakes. Those being some of the better executed 'masterpieces'! 
There is something so special about making rather than buying, spending time creating something for someone you love, a labour of love!

I'm not sure where my love for baking came from. Growing up, visiting Auntie Madge meant you were in for a freshly baked 'Auntie Madges sponge cake.' I have yet to make one or try one that was as soft and delicious as the cakes she made. 

My mum has also been baking for as long as I can remember. In fact the bread she still makes today is from a recipe she learnt to make on my first summer holiday to Cavan.

The most recent thing I baked was cupcakes for a Fotosoc meeting. They were what I call my go to cupcake receipt from Rachel Allen that I know off by heart. They never fail to impress and are devoured rather rapidly! By adding extra ingredients and putting a twist on this simple receipe I have made everything from classic vanilla to red velvet, chocolate, apple and cinnamon and my favourite, lemon.

6oz caster sugar
6oz margarine
6oz self raising flour
3 eggs

Cream the margarine and sugar.
Sift in flour, add eggs and combine.
Add a drop of vanilla essence or
substitute 2oz of flour for coco.

Bake at 180 for 10-12 minutes.

Christmas in our house is always a time for baking. For as long as I can remember mammy has made her world (or at least family) renowned Caramel Squares, with a perfectly golden shortbread base, a generous layer of silky caramel and a sweet smooth layer of chocolate. Mammy’s caramel squares are a firm favourite in our household and further afield. I think it may very well have been from watching mammy over the years make these as well as wheaten bread and more recently chili jam as gifts for friends and family that I started making gifts.

My imagination more often than not takes hold when I'm baking and I come up with rather unrealistic ideas for decorating the cupcakes or cake I have made. It gives me the oppourtunity to be creative and test how far my imagination can push my creativity. Although I have to admit, this often leads to stress as the perfectionist in me takes over when things are not going as I had pictured them in my mind.

Being away at college for the past year has meant doing almost no baking other than the occasional batch when I'm home and I miss it but I suppose I've found a different creative outlet in my new found love of photography. (Unfortunatly at the peak of my baking days photography wasn't really a passion of mine hence the less than half decent quality of these photos!)

Baking is something I really look forward to doing with my kids one days just like I have done with my mammy. Although being a little more realxed and open to a less than perfect result may be necessary when it comes to baking with kids so it could be a good lesson in life for me too!


1 comment:

  1. I love it Derbh! What icing do you use for the Minnie Mouse icing?