What is baking for you?
It can be either one of the two things:
- A mere activity of mixing ingredients, kneading, whisking, mixing, and baking them into something truly delicious
- A fulfilling and immersive activity that is an outlet for your creativity that brings you peace, relieves your mind of stress, and relaxes you.
Pauline Beaumont, the author of ‘Bread Therapy: The Mindful Art of Baking Bread,’ writes:
“There is something about the metamorphosis of flour and water into a loaf of bread that is entrancing and that always feels a little miraculous. The realization that – with your own hands – you can make something so delicious and nutritious from scratch is a revelation and easier to achieve than you might think.”
Making a cake from scratch doesn’t only bring joy and contentment; it has numerous mental and physical health benefits that are too hard to ignore.
Going out and picking a cake from a shop might result in quick gratification, but the joy of it melting in your mouth and the satisfaction is nowhere near what you got when you made it from scratch. This blog discusses some of the benefits that come with baking your own cake.
Advantages of Homemade Cake
The obvious health benefits
Like every other food, the biggest reason to make cakes at home is that it is hygienic and healthy.
As with every other homemade food, you control the process, add the ingredients as you like, and maintain hygiene during the process.
Jane Clarke, a leading nutritionist in England, says that home-baked cakes are healthier as you can control the fats, flour, sugar, and other ingredients you use.
“Cakes made by commercial shops, patisseries, and bakeries have hydrogenated fats, preservatives, artificial coloring, lots of salts, additives, and flavoring such as tartrazine,” she says.
All these ingredients have many unhealthy effects on our bodies.
While making cakes at home, people can use whole ingredients like fresh butter, organic sugar, and flour of their choice. Instead of artificial flavoring and food coloring, they can use fresh fruits.
Baking is said that be the healthiest cooking method among the others. Grilling, stir-frying, deep-frying, etc., have advantages of baking cakes at Home and disadvantages, but baking is healthier than all of these.
All types of frying involve putting your food into oil or fat, which increases the calories count. It also makes the human body vulnerable to heart diseases. Baking also involves the use of oil and sugar, but you can reduce the number of ingredients, substitute them with other healthy ingredients, and even don’t use them at all, for example, sugar-free cakes.
If you are concerned about the fats in butter, you can substitute it with pumpkin puree.
Secret: They are a perfect alternative to butter.
An outlet for your creative expression
Baking is a science – or mathematics – where you have to follow steps to get a result. But, unlike the science we are taught in school, baking isn’t drab or boring. Instead, baking can be a fun activity with a lot of room to be creative and express yourself.
You can give the cake any shape you want, any texture you like, and decorate it with whatever you want.
In one research, 1 in 6 people said baking is a source of creative outlet for them. Moreover, psychologists have said that the experience of creating something encourages imagination and creative expression.
With homemade cakes, there is no limit to your creative expression. Put your cake on a cake turntable, frost it however you like, decorate it with cream, make the topping with fresh fruits, garnish it with chocolate, pipe flowers on it, and sprinkle chocolate chips on it.
These days, you can also customize cakes per occasion. Be it a baby shower, your graduation, wedding, or a birthday party for a friend who loves music, you can just create the made-for-only-this-occasion cake.
Baking has mental health benefits too
John Waite, who won The Great British Bake Off in 2012, said:
“Baking helps lift my depression. It can’t cure it, but it helps.”
There are proven correlations between baking and having a sense of fulfillment. Baking eases our minds and calms our nerves.
The smell of the chocolate ganache, the smell coming from the oven, the soothing process of layering a cake, and then finally, piping it with cream – the entire process fills us with a sense of calmness and accomplishment.
Psychologist Dr. Linda Blair says that baking increases the feel-good endorphins because it appeals to all five senses. When we are baking, we are seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and touching. The sight, taste, and smell of our product can reawaken happy memories.
According to the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, baking provides a sense of achievement and boosts confidence.
Even if you are baking for fun, the process is hands-on, and you pay your full attention to it. What temperature to pre-heat the oven, how many cups of flour to add in the batter, how many tablespoons of vanilla essence needs to be added, or adding just the right amount of sugar; every step requires 100% attention. Since you were so engrossed, the end product fills you with immense joy.
Several mental health foundations have experimented with cooking, especially baking therapies.
Dr. Mark Salter, a consultant psychiatrist, says baking and cooking are good occupational therapies that help patients develop planning skills, short-term memory, and social skills – all of which are caused by mental illness.
So, baking cakes at home is not only healthy and creative, but it also improves mental health.
Everyone can enjoy it
Individuals have certain allergies and an aversion towards some products. The ready-to-eat cookies and commercially baked cakes are made without any considerations for such allergies.
They can be harmful to kids and adults with allergies because the ingredients are not clearly mentioned. These effects can be life-threatening if the individual gets seriously sick from eating anything they are allergic to.
With homemade cakes, you control what ingredients go into the product. If your child or any other family member is allergic to anything, you can simply not use it or substitute it with an alternative ingredient.
For example, if someone is allergic to olive oil, then use butter instead of olive oil. Similarly, applesauce can replace eggs to make egg-free cakes.
In this way, the entire family can enjoy this celebratory meal without any fear and concern.
Have it fresh whenever you want
Commercial cakes are added with artificial colors, salts, and flavoring to elongate shelf life and maintain their texture for days.
No matter how vibrant and fresh they look, they are rarely fresh, not even at the most expensive patisseries.
Baking cakes at home ensures that the cakes are fresh and lively for every occasion. It might take longer than grab-and-eat cake from your nearest cake shop, but the fulfillment and health benefits totally make this effort worth it.
Baking cakes at home require commitment and hard work. But it comes with several benefits that justify undertaking the activity.
In today’s fast world, we are used to consuming ready-to-eat food. There is no harm in that. But making your own food and baking your own cake or bread puts you in charge of what you consume. You can make it as simpler or complicated as you like. You can be as creative with it as you want. While in the process, you would do a lot of good to your mind and the body.
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia