There is something very therapeutic about baking at the weekend. Unlike the relentless chore of putting a main meal on the table every day, weekend baking is an indulgence. Nobody will starve if I don’t bake a cake but it makes life a little more pleasurable.
I enjoy the rhythm to the process of going backwards and forwards to the pantry, taking down jars of dried fruits and sugar, delving into the flour bin, kneading dough and cracking eggs on the side of the bowl. I can daydream as I watch yeasty muffins rise on my grandmother’s girdle or ladle on spoonsful of pancake batter, watch for the bubbles to rise and then flip the pancakes over to brown on the other side before wrapping them in a tea towel until tea time. The kitchen fills with satisfying homely smells as I pull the spiced rolls from the oven and brush a sticky syrup glaze over the tops while the crusts of freshly baked loaves of bread crackle as they cool on the wire racks alongside a raspberry loaf cake and a batch of fudgy fruit slice.
As indulgences go, baking is a pretty cheap option. Flour, sugar, eggs and butter don’t cost a fortune and there’s no need to break the bank with an expensive bottle of wine when a cup of tea is all you need to drink with a freshly baked cake. Not that I’d object should you wish to pass me a glass of English sparkling wine or Slamseys Raspberry Gin to accompany a small slice of sponge cake filled with fresh raspberries and cream.
By Sunday teatime, I’m baked out and ready to share some of the day’s baking with the family. The leftover cakes are packed into tins to provide a small treat throughout the week or dropped into the freezer. I have discovered that frozen sponge cake needs very little time to defrost and in an emergency can be eaten in its frozen state.