Published on October 18th, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw
Baking is Good for You
This week it is National Baking Week. If you are gripped by the current series of Great British Bake Off and fancy yourself as a Star Baker, you will be pleased to hear, baking is good for you.
Now, of course, too much cake isn’t good for the waistline. However, the psychological benefits to baking cannot be underestimated. Not only is it a great stress reliever it also provides you with an uplifting sense of achievement (unless you experience the horror of a “soggy bottom”)!
5 Ways Baking is Good for You
Baking can help beat the Winter Blues. In our previous article, Light Up the Autumn Nights we suggested some ways in which you can prepare for the darker nights. In addition, baking stimulates feelings of nurturing and comforting. Even Mary Berry has proclaimed; “If you are feeling down, a bit of kneading helps”.
Baking releases endorphins. The wonderful smell of fresh bread or a cake baking in the oven appeals to all the senses. This is turn releases endorphins which boost our happiness and reduces stress levels.
Baking helps you unwind. If you have had a stressful day at work, get your apron on and get baking. It requires concentration, from measuring out the ingredients to following a step by step process. Therefore, it allows your brain to concentrate on just one thing at a time, rather than a constant replay of all the things that have irritated you throughout the day.
Baking is good for your confidence. Is there anything more satisfying than proudly bringing a freshly baked cake to the table? Or, enjoying the wonderful taste of homemade bread? The pride and pleasure baking brings gives a fantastic boost to your self-esteem.
Baking can boost your performance at work. Learning any new skill is good for you. By perfecting the art of baking, you are benefiting your problem-solving skills, which you can transfer to your working life. It will also make you very popular with your colleagues if you bring in your baking treats for them to enjoy.
Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe
Now as the days are getting cooler and the nights are getting longer, what better time to hide yourself away in the kitchen to make some delicious cakes and bakes. If you haven’t baked for a while, try out this delicious coffee and walnut cake recipe.
- 250g unsalted butter – softened
- 85ml black coffee (made with 2 tbsp instant coffee cooled)
- 280g self-raising flour – sifted
- 250g caster sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 85g walnuts (2tbsp roughly chopped, the remainder finely chopped)
For the buttercream filling
- 100g unsalted butter – softened
- 200g icing sugar – sifted
- 2 tsp coffee granules mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water
Heat the oven to 180C/ Gas Mark 4.
Grease two x 20cm round cake tins and line them with baking parchment and set aside.
Beat the butter, sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, vanilla extract and half of the black coffee mixture in a large bowl with an electric whisk until smooth and lump free.
Fold in the finely chopped walnuts.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins. Then, scatter over the roughly chopped walnut over one of the cakes.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is ready when it is golden and risen and when a skewer poked into the cakes, comes out clean.
Drizzle the plain cake, (the one without the roughly chopped walnuts on top) with the remaining coffee.
Leave both cakes to cool in their tins.
To make the buttercream filling
Place the softened butter in a bowl and mix with an electric whisk until pale.
Add the sifted icing sugar to the butter and beat until smooth.
Add the coffee and water mixture to the butter cream, then stir to combine.
When the cakes have cooled spread the filling over the plain cake, (the one without the walnuts on top). Then cover with the walnut topped cake and finish with a light dusting of icing sugar.