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Bake away mid-week blues with these 5 recipes

Baking is a stress-buster. Image used for illustrative purpose only.

Dubai: You are halfway through the week’s grind. Exhaustion is creeping up, ennui is setting in. Try baking. Not only will the aroma of your baked delight fill your home, it will leave you feeling relaxed with every bite – much like walking past a bakery on a cool morning.

Baking is therapeutic in many ways. It is a creative process involving all your senses and can be highly rewarding if done right. A journal – Baking Therapy by Katherine Sponaugle, a US-based criminal justice reform and human rights advocate and full-time baker, published in April 2017, mentions the benefits of baking for mental health. Sponaugle wrote: “Each baking ingredient does not taste very good. Flour is dry, baking soda bitter, buttermilk is sour, and salt is… well, you get the idea. When you look at the ingredients piece by piece, there are far more bitter than saccharine (artificial sweetener with no food energy). But the finished product is somehow beautiful, sweet, and satisfying. Such is life.”

Legendary American cooking teacher, author, and television personality Julia Child’s meticulously time-tested recipes made baking enjoyable and satisfying for home bakers. From three-tiered wedding cakes, Italian cookies to perfect feather-light meringues, Child’s baking techniques made many fall in love with her style.

If you wonder how to begin baking, follow Julia Child’s advice as she tells in her Queen of Sheba cake (chocolate and almond cake) recipe video – begin at the very beginning, by gathering all the ingredients. It is as simple as that.

Queen of Sheba cake
Julia Child, YouTube

Here are five recipes to try:

1. Kerala spiced caramel plum cake: Gulf News food founding editor shares this step-by-step guide to making a spiced caramel plum cake. This recipe uses the goodness of Indian spices – nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and ginger powder, and sweet and tangy flavours of black currants, golden raisins, and sultanas. In Kerala, this cake is traditionally baked around Christmas, but you can bake it all year round with this recipe:

2. Banana bread: This banana bread recipe was shared by a Grade 4 student in Dubai who likes to help his mum with simple recipes and enjoys watching baking videos on YouTube. A simple recipe to put all the ripe bananas to good use. It takes about 55 minutes to bake this cake and is best paired with a cup of coffee and even tea or chai. You don’t need to be a professional baker to try this recipe. 

3. Baked Raspberry Cheesecake: This popular Greek dessert recipe by Bulgarian celebrity Chef Silvena Rowe was shared with us on World Cheesecake Day. The recipe has three layers – the base, the filling and the topping which are prepared separately. There is a hack in this recipe to prevent the bottom of the cheesecake from cracking. Here is a detailed baked raspberry cheesecake recipe to try.

4. Iced lemon drizzle bundt cake: This lemon-flavoured chocolate bundt (pronounced as bunt) cake recipe is perfect for baking when you have guests home. A tried-and-tested recipe works for all kinds of cakes, from fairy to Bundt ones. All you need is a bundt pan for this one. A pan that has grooved sides with a central tube or ‘chimney’ at the centre that leaves a cylindrical hole through the cake. Note: A bundt pan should be greased well, ensuring every crevice is moist. This is one of the reasons why bundt cake recipes are typically moist; a large part of the cake’s surface is exposed to baking, and greasing well avoids turning them crumbly.

5. Butterscotch raisin cake: Add some butterscotch bliss to your desserts with this recipe and bake this delicious cake in under 50 minutes. Bookmark this recipe, order in the ingredients with a delivery application while at work, go home, follow Julia Child’s baking advice and try out the recipe. 

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