This guest post on baking for self care is written by the wonderful Sarah from A Spoonful of Vanilla. For more about her and her social media links please see below.
For such a long time baking has been my favourite way to de-stress after a busy week at work. I love spending a couple of hours in the kitchen kneading out my frustrations or baking a cake for friends and family. So when Emma answered my request about a guest post and asked if I could write a post on the benefits of baking for self-care I jumped at the chance. For as long as I can remember baking has been my biggest form of self-care. If you need any more reasons to give baking a go check out my 10 reasons why baking is the best self-care below.
For Self-Care for Depressive Episodes read here.
For 4 Self Care Tips Covid Taught Us read here.
#1 Baking Creativity
A crumb coated cake is a blank canvas. You can create anything you can possibly dream of. There’s a huge variety of food colourings available nowadays. So you can create any colour you can imagine/ And use them in so many ways; whether piping swirls on the top of the cake or adding sprinkles to the bottom. Your creativity will take over and really shine.
#2 Deliciousness at the End
I’m not sure if this is the best part of the process for me. But there will always be something delicious at the end. Whether it is cake, cupcakes, brownies or cookies there will always be a delicious treat or two. Even if the finished product isn’t quite what you imagined you can be sure that it will still taste amazing.
#3 Baking Can Be Mindful
Baking is very mindful. From measuring the ingredients at the start, to setting the oven temperature and decorating the finished product. It all requires focus. When you are weighing out your ingredients to the perfect amount or creating the perfect swirl on the top of your cupcakes you are in the moment.
Also, when your hands are covered in butter and flour it makes it more difficult to check your phone. There is very little chance of you falling into a social media hole and scrolling endlessly.
For Mindfulness: A Help or a Hindrance read here.
#4 Repetition is Calming
Whether you are mixing a cake batter, kneading or measuring, the repetition can be soothing. And help reduce your stress. Whether you are taking your frustrations out on your bread dough or watching in amazement as your cake batter comes together you are in the ‘zone.’ The ‘zone’ can be a very calming place which releases feel-good endorphins and can help increase your self-esteem.
#5 Grounding and De-Stress
From the moment you start weighing out your ingredients, the only thing you are thinking about is the next step in the baking process. From that moment you forget about everything else that has been running through your mind, from anxious thoughts to daily stresses. It’s the perfect way to escape those thoughts and feelings. And instead just focus on the task at hand; creating something delicious.
For A Guide to Understanding Your Stress Response read here.
#6 All About Control
When you are baking you have control over the whole process. From ensuring that enough flour is added, it is mixed enough and that it is baked for the correct amount of time. When things might be a bit uncertain, and you have a lot of worries, baking can be grounding. You know what to do and there’s strict steps to follow. And you have control over the recipe you are making.
#7 Baking Unlocks Your Senses
From the sound of the mixer, the smell of the baking and the feel of the flour, each of these stimulates your senses and in turn increases your feel good endorphins.
#8 Boosts Your Confidence
Each time you bake something delicious and it goes well, you are building your confidence. Confidence to try something a bit trickier or to try and make a bigger cake. Once you have mastered one recipe or technique it is then normal to try and challenge yourself again and again until you are a complete baking expert.
#9 Sharing with Friends & Family
No matter what you bake, you can share it with friends/family/colleagues/neighbours. Basically anyone who likes cake. In the days of COVID why not have a virtual slice of cake and cup of tea with your favourite people? Also, chatting with friend/family is also great for our mental health.
#10 Baking Gets You Moving
Spending a few hours in the kitchen kneading dough, bashing pastry or piping buttercream is a lot more physical than you think. Okay, so I will admit it’s probably not as good for you as going for a run. But it is still better than sitting on the sofa. Exercising releases feel-good endorphins so moving around the kitchen and using your muscles can be really good for you.
For 7 Tips for Exercise Motivation read here.
White Chocolate & Raspberry Cookies
125g Unsalted Butter
200g Light Brown Sugar
200g Plain Flour
50g Self-Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1tsp Corn flour
1 Large Egg
200g White Chocolate Chips
75g Fresh Raspberries
7g Freeze-Dried Raspberries
- Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and mix it forms large nuggets. Add in the, plain flour, self-rising flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, corn flour and mix again until evenly distributed. Don’t worry the mixture will just resemble crumbs at the moment.
- Add in the chocolate chips, fresh and freeze-dried raspberries and mix again until evenly distributed. Finally add in the egg and mix until the mixture is completely combined.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Roll the dough into balls around 100g each and place them onto the baking tray.
- Put the cookie dough balls into the freezer for 45 minutes or in the fridge for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Just before you remove the cookie balls from the freezer preheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan) and line two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Place the cookie dough balls onto the baking trays. Make sure they are spaced apart as they will flatten and spread in the oven and you don’t want them to touch.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
- Leave the cookies to cool fully on the baking tray. They will be quite soft when you first take them out the oven but will firm up as the cool.
Sarah is the face behind A Spoonful of Vanilla. She started her blog in January 2020 as a place to share all of her creations. Sarah has loved baking since she was young but started creating and experimenting with her own recipes whilst at university. She has always found baking the perfect way to de-stress and just forget about everything going on in the outside world for a few hours. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Patreon Youtube and TikTok at @aspoonofvanilla