I remember standing on a chair eagerly anticipating the moment the mixing would be over and the cake-lathered beaters would be handed over for licking.
Baking was a frequent event in my childhood, with homemade cakes and biscuits included in our lunches almost daily and intricate designs wheeled out for birthday parties. Chocolate cake, banana cake, Anzac biscuits, plain biscuits, gingerbread. A Barbie cake, a clown cake, roller skate cakes and more. All connect me to happy memories of the buzz of activity in the kitchen, being allowed to help mix, licking the beaters and the bowl, helping decorate the finished product. The actual eating was almost an anti-climax!
As a result of this, I still love baking. Over the years I’ve gone through many favourite recipes, rolling out massive batches of chocolate chip cookies and brownies during my uni days, gingerbread for office Christmas parties, birthday cakes for friends and family.
Today I’ve spent the morning in the kitchen (sshhh I was supposed to working) whipping up a birthday cake for a good friend of mine. We were lucky to be given a Kitchenaid mixer as a wedding present which meant I got to sip on my coffee while I watched the magic happening in the silver bowl.
In recent years, my baking has had to adapt. A number of my family members, this particular friend and I have all been diagnosed with gluten and dairy intolerances. It’s meant finding which recipes work with which substituted ingredients. Fortunately, many of my favourite recipes have made the switch to gluten-free flour, lactose-free spread and rice milk without too much stress. My fingers are crossed that my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe does the same today.
Even though the recipes have changed and I now have to do my own washing up, baking still fills me with joy. I hope it continues for years to come.
(No picture of the final cake yet – decorating to follow)