We’ve all been there. You have found that one glorious Pinterest picture, and you are determined that you are going to replicate that masterpiece and astound everyone near and far. Aaaaand absolutely everything goes wrong from the outset, and before you know it, you have somehow ended up part of a Buzzfeed Pinterest Fails article. Trust me when I say, we have all been there.
The reality is, you’re going to have bad baking days, where everything seems to be plotting against you and failure seems nothing short of inevitable; however, I’ve found there are a few steps you can take to minimise the misery and ensure that your sanity remains intact.
1. Do as the Girl Guides do, and be prepared.
Sometimes, the baking bug bites at an unexpected moment, and your desperate desire for cake or fudge will not be quenched, even long enough to pop down to the shops for ingredients. If you always have a fully stocked pantry/cupboard with the necessary, this won’t be a problem for you, but if you do need to buy some items, make sure you have a list of everything you need. There is nothing worse than getting half way through your bake and realising you’re missing something crucial – I’ve done this a few times, and have had to go down to the shops in a tracksuit, five minutes before they close. No one needs that anxiety in their life.
2. Now that you’re prepared, have it all easily accessible.
Make sure that you have enough space on your kitchen counters to set out all the ingredients and utensils, bowls, tins etc. you’re going to need to make your bake. Running back and forth between the fridge, cupboards and your work station, and having to rifle around for the right tin, which then still needs to be buttered and floured when your batter is already done, is a sure-fire way to turn you right off your baking, and onto the couch in a huff!
3. Multitask so you’re not in the kitchen for the next 12 hours.
You’d be surprised at the level of multitasking you can do when you’re baking, especially while something is cooking in the oven. Find smaller tasks you can complete during those 35 to 50 minutes of bake time. That way, you won’t end up spending unnecessary extra time in the kitchen, leading you to getting so bored that you choose to eat your cake without icing, because you just can’t be bothered anymore. Sacrilege!
4. Work clean, stay sane.
Cleaning up as I go is honestly the bane of my existence – I flat out hate it, and would much prefer to just clean down after my baking session is finished. However, when you are constantly running out of space to put your mixing bowl or roll out your icing, it is enormously frustrating, and, much as it pains me to say, cleaning up as you go does help keep you a little less flustered.
5. Know your limits, and find the fun side.
I’ve been asked a few times to create cakes that I know are beyond my current skill set, and I’ve had to decline many of them. While I think that trying new things is a brilliant way to grow your skills, sometimes it just puts needless pressure on you to achieve something you’re not ready for yet. It is more than okay to find your limits and nudge them out a little, but to stay in the same neighbourhood as your comfort zone.
And, as cliché as it may appear, remember to have fun – in the words of C. JoyBell C.: “Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”