Does the thought of baking a cake make you want to run away in fear? Is baking something you’ve never really considered attempting?

If so, you may want to reconsider, as it turns out that baking can have surprising beneficial effects on personal well-being (not to mention the fact that you get to eat whatever you’ve made at the end of it!)

It’s therapeutic: It may seem stressful at first but baking can actually be extremely relaxing, especially in terms of the physical processes involved like kneading dough, beating eggs, whipping cream, all of which can be an effective way to de-stress and take your mind off any impending deadlines!

It’s sociable: Nothing brings people together quite like food – whether it’s baking with a friend or sharing your bakes with other people, baking can be an extremely rewarding experience. Plus, your friends will 100 percent love you for it if you turn up with cake!

It’s creative: Even if you are not very artistic, baking and cake decorating can be a great creative outlet – sites like Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube offer plenty of inspiration and easy tutorials to help you unleash your creative side.

Like the sound of all these benefits? Here are some simple baking tips to get you started:

Don’t be overwhelmed by the wide choice of baking equipment available: All you really need to start off with is a large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, whisk, cutlery, measuring scales, cheap cake tins and baking trays and a rolling pin. (If you are at a push, a clean wine bottle will work almost as well for rolling out biscuits as a rolling pin if it’s all you have, but you didn’t hear that here…)

Make the best out of what you’ve got: for the first years out there, the microwave ovens in halls may not be ideal but they can actually be used for baking! Use the oven setting to preheat the microwave like you would with a conventional oven but just remember to keep a close eye on your bakes whilst they are cooking.

Master the basics first: Baking doesn’t have to be daunting – ease yourself in with all in one method recipes such as victoria sponge cake or easy crowd-pleasing recipes such as brownies and chocolate chip cookies. After all, baking is all about trial and error and you can rope in your flatmates and friends as taste testers if you’re trying out something new!

Bonus tip: Join Baking Society!

UEA Baking Society offers a friendly and judgement-free place where you can share your baking masterpieces or disasters- we’ve all had them from rock solid biscuits, avocado cake fails to decorating disasters, you name it, we’ve been there. Baking Soc meetings take place on campus once a fortnight on Thursday evenings, with regular baking themed socials in and around Norwich where we chat about bake off, go out for cake, drinks or whatever takes our fancy!

Our first social of the semester on the 18th of January has been planned especially with any less experienced, budding bakers at UEA in mind – all you
need to do is bring along something that you have
baked using a packet mix!