Getting My Bake Off

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As a child, I would usually spend the weekends at my grandparent’s house.

Those glorious, responsibility-free days were filled with endless visits to car boot sales, village fetes, and garden centres to look at bunnies and guinea pigs. Too much time would be had in front of the television watching cartoons and eating fatty foods. And more often than not, we’d bake.

Scones and sponges, flans and flapjacks, crumbles and cupcakes, we would make them all. As head chef, it would always be my job to lick the spoon and or the bowl.

Those delicate delicacies were delicious.

Now I’m not sure when or how, but it seems that something has changed since I was a kid. It appears that everyone with a fucking kitchen is able to whip-up la grand patisserie-style masterpieces – a far cry from the humble baking of my youth.

The Great British Bake-Off has a lot to answer for.*

Seriously though, what’s wrong with a simple sponge cake and icing topping? Sprinkles used to be fancy. Now they’re just a simple garnish for the rest of the design. What compels people to want to bake these giant cupcake monstrosities anyway? They’re only going to be devoured in a few seconds minutes.

It’s not that I’m against beautiful, massive Cakey McCakeFace cakes – I have a sweet tooth as much as the next person – but the problem I have with them starts at the school gate. More specifically the school bake sale.

As a mum bringing cakes into school, which look as if they were produced from the seventies, I have more than once cursed myself for not sticking to Plan A: to buy them straight from the shop. I have found myself blaming my little helpers – i.e. the kids – for my baking disasters on more than one occasion.

It seems that baking skills are a prerequisite for being a mother these days but it’s clearly a qualification I missed out on. So on that note, any baking tips are gratefully received but just don’t expect me to do anything with them. Seriously, how did cupcakes get so fucking complicated?

*Confession: Since the publication of this post and the popular BBC programme’s controversial move to Channel 4, I now love The Great British Bake Off. And Noel. I totally heart Noel Fielding.



About Donna-Louise Bishop

I'm a writer, freelance reporter, creative writing tutor, and blogger, living in the beautiful county of Norfolk UK. In my spare time I am also a wife, a mother to three boys, and a human washing machine.
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7 Responses to Getting My Bake Off

  1. I love this! And you know what? I’m terrible at baking too, but it doesn’t matter because we have so many allergies in schools that all treats have to be store bought. Lucky me, I guess.

  2. d3athlily says:

    I couldn’t agree more! Even for the not-mums, it can be absolutely annoying coming into work with some simple red velvet cupcakes with icing thrown on top and marvel at the culinary masterpieces that put it to shame. At least they taste bloody fabulous, I guess!

  3. Nina says:

    I agree 100% ! When I was growing up it was completely acceptable to make a sheet cake with store-bought icing and sprinkles. It was about fun and letting the kids help. Now you practically have to be a pastry chef to make anything acceptable. It totally saps all of the joy out of it.

  4. Cyn K says:

    I would like to have read more about the school bake sale. I think an anecdote from there would have made a great frame for remembering baking of your childhood and lamenting the influence of reality television.

  5. These cupcakes look like a pic from a magazine. I like the flower paper.

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