According to Channel 4’s food blog, Sara Lee have reported a 22% drop in their international bakery sales. They blame people switching to own brand versions, but perhaps from their headquarters in Wisconsin they can’t see what’s going on here.
We’re all baking again.
Call it nostalgia or a need for comfort, but I see more people in the home baking section than ever before, and lets not forget the rise of the cupcake. I love a good baking session, it’s very relaxing to me. And it’s brilliant for getting kids involved in the kitchen. Who doesn’t remember standing on a stool, mixing stuff up and just waiting for the moment you got to lick the mixing bowl out?
If your foodie loves to bake, or if you’d just like them to do some more, here’s a few suggestions on things that might find them needing a Sara Lee chocolate fudge cake even less:
1. Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache– this is my favourite baking book at the moment. Every recipe I’ve cooked so far (and it’s looking quite well thumbed) has been greeted very favourably, and then with amazement when you tell people which veg are in the cakes. That’s right, veg in cake, and they’ve been brilliant. Chocolate and beetroot, courgette Victoria sponge, and clever ways with everything from sweet potato to turnip. You, and they, will be amazed.
2. Mason Cash bowls – these sum up nostalgic baking to me, and you can never really have enough mixing bowls. I love the look of these, although have to admit the weight of them can be an issue. But one I can usually get over. I’m a bit of a purist so want the traditional stone coloured ones, but there is a pretty pink one around at the moment.
3. Vintage cake stands – check out eBay for the real thing, or try Not On the High Street for some vintage looking and modern versions. A great cake deserves great presentation.
4. Silicone cake moulds – I love these for very easy cooking without worrying about lining the pans etc. Good to use with the kids as well.
5. A fancy tin – Lakeland have some amazing shaped tins, that would certainly cause a bit of a wow, particularly if you have children, big or small. Perhaps you could do away with buying the M&S caterpillar cake and make your own with the Caterpillar Cake Tin.
6. Sparkles and sprinkles – never buy a supermarket cupcake. Either get out and support your local cupcake maker (and there are some lovely people around) or make your own. For which you need fabulous cake cases and plenty of lovely decorations. Splat has one of the best selections around in my view and any combination will provide endless decorating combinations.
7. Superb jam – for me, you can’t beat a Victoria sponge with a great jam filling, although I am not a purist and love mine with buttercream rather than fresh cream. For me, it’s got to be raspberry jam, although also quite partial to blackcurrant. There again, could be a good marmalade for a marmalade cake. Check out England Preserves or Superjam for some good options.
8. A cooling rack – you can’t really bake without one of these, or not if you don’t want soggy bottoms. And, lets face it, who does? You’ll be amazed at the variety! Check out Lakeland, who have single, double, even triple deckers, and 4 stories that fit in a corner.
So, lets keep the baking renaissance going! If you need ideas for cakes with kids, then check out Hugh’s Family Cookbook, they’ll love the Victoria Sponge recipe as it involves weighing eggs!