Baking. It won’t have escaped your notice that baking – cakes, bread, pies – is the new thing in food trends, and here on the Taste blog we’re not averse to jumping on a bandwagon.
Personally, I love to bake. I find cake making relaxing (in fact it kept me sane during the first six months of my maternity leave) – it appeals to my creative side and there’s nothing to lift you out of the doldrums like a slice of cake.
They can be all things to all people, you see – a sharp light lemon drizzle to make you think of sunshine, a darkly delicious chocolate cake, a lavender or rose cupcake for a sophisticated afternoon tea.... then there’s biscuits. And macaroons. Pies and tarts.
And the bread. So many experts, so many methods. Long standing readers of the this blog will remember how I fared the first time I used the Bertinet method. In our house, it’s been superceded by a fast loaf mixed in the Kenwood chef (I know, sacrilege), the Hugh Fernley Whittingstall sourdough and, when time permits, one of Great British Bake-Off judge Paul Hollywood’s 100 breads.
Now, not everyone can be faffed with bread. But when Asda starts selling sticks for cake pops (that’s balls of cake mixed with icing and covered in chocolate, for those who don’t know) you know that baking is well and truly mainstream again.
So we thought; let’s start a baking column. I’ve made it one of my goals for the year to learn a bit more of the whys of baking, while perfecting my icing technique and finally conquering the demon that is hot sugar. (The tales I can tell you about failed honeycomb. And marmalade.)
So I’m going to bake stuff, and then tell you about it. Is Mary Berry’s Victoria Sponge better than Delias? Are there any reasons why you shouldn’t use the all-in-one method? Whose bread is better?
I’m not claiming to be an expert – the picture of the Postman Pat cake I’ve posted here should demonstrate that – but hopefully some of you will find it enlightening. And I’ll get to eat a lot of cake. Can’t say fairer than that.