Life is what you bake of it

Posted on 6th November 2018 by Hilary Macrae

Life is what you bake of it

Weigh it all out

I have always been of the opinion that when life gives you lemons…make lemon meringue roulade (of course). Whenever I need a moment’s peace, a little inspiration, or let’s be totally honest, a snack, I get into the kitchen and bake. Combining two of my favourite things (well really three, if you include singing while you bake) – creativity and gastronomy – it gives me time to myself, a moment of calm, and it allows me to totally switch off from everything around me. It takes me to my happy place.

Add a little sugar

Baking takes me to that happy place. Whether it be to the thought of the place and people I am going to share my food with, or to a sweet memory in time. My Granny was an amazing cook, and although she passed away when I was very young, I always think of her when I’m in the kitchen. Although our time together was all too short, I always feel like she’s there when I’m cooking (maybe because I’m still using her old well-loved equipment or cooking up my version of one of her timeless recipes).

Ready, Steady, Bake

I love the fact that cooking is a process. It always starts with an idea and a handful of raw ingredients to bind together to create something lovely. No matter how classic or how off-piste you go, there is always an end result.

Food brings people together, and I love nothing more than watching people come together over something I have lovingly made and seeing them enjoy it. There is a joy in creating, whether it be bespoke creations for family and friends, special occasions, a themed bake, or just that hump day treat!

Cherry on Top

On a whim a couple of years ago I applied to the Great British Bake Off and to my surprise I got through to the final stages. I was flattered, although sadly for a number of reasons, I could not pursue the bake off dream, and so my bakes were (perhaps thankfully) saved from the scrutiny of Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Not wanting to shy away from a challenge though, I have been continually learning and trying to create my own ‘showstoppers’ for family and friends ever since, which are hopefully not quite so heavily critiqued!

Balancing the scales

I have learned from personal experience that sometimes parts of life can be overwhelming, and it is essential to press pause on it all sometimes. As with a recipe, life is all about balance, and taking time out is really important, to let your mind rest, and give it time to refresh and refuel. Baking allows me to take time out and release my creativity. Life is what you bake of it, so jump in the kitchen, turn the music up and get baking!

Measure in grams

I’ll be sharing some tasty recipes here on the blog and some sweet snaps over on the gram – @hbakescakes

Life Is What You Bake Of It | Salted Caramel Sweetspot Brownies

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 100g chocolate 75% cocoa solids
  • 100g chocolate 50% cocoa solids
  • 379g can of caramel
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 130g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder

Method

  • Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  • Grease and line a 23cm square tin with baking parchment.
  • Melt the butter in a pan, break in the chocolate then remove the pan from the heat and allow it all to melt.
  • In a wee bowl, mix 175g caramel with 1 tsp sea salt to loosen it up.
  • Put the rest of the caramel in a large bowl with the caster sugar and the eggs and beat until smooth. Whisk in the chocolate and butter mix until.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt, then sift this on top of the chocolate mix. Beat briefly until smooth.
  • Pour half the brownie mix into the tin and smooth.
  • Using a teaspoon, spoon half of the salted caramel on top of the brownie layer in 5 thick, evenly spaced stripes.
  • Spoon the rest of the brownie mix on top and smooth. Pour the rest of the caramel on top and drag a skewer or tip of a knife through it to make a feathered pattern on the top.
  • Scatter with a little more sea salt and bake for 25-30 mins or until risen all the way to the middle with a firm crust on top. You want the brownie to still be a little wobbly when you shake the tin.
  • Let it cool completely in the tin, before lifting out and cutting into squares.