Why Baking Speaks Louder Than Words

Why Baking Speaks Louder Than Words

Why Baking Speaks Louder Than Words

Whether it’s the sweet scent of vanilla cupcakes or the warmth of eating treats straight from the oven, baking hits a special note. We bake elaborate cakes for loved ones’ birthdays, spend hours in the kitchen whipping up festive desserts over the holidays or pour all of our love into a batch of chocolate chip cookies when a friend is feeling down. Some people even consider it their love language, a blend of everything from acts of service to gift-giving.

Susan Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts told HuffPost, “[baking] can be helpful for people who have difficulty expressing their feelings in words to show thanks, appreciation or sympathy with baked goods.”

In fact, baked goods speak such volumes that every year on May 17 we celebrate these tasty and meaningful morsels with World Baking Day. Centred around baking for family, friends, neighbours or colleagues, it’s all about having fun in the kitchen and sharing these treats as a token of appreciation.

Read on for five irresistibly sweet recipes that can help you say everything from “I love you” to “I’m here for you” this World Baking Day.

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Say “Congratulations!” with vanilla cake

For Melanie Alafaci, owner and founder of Vanilla Zulu, there is something incredibly therapeutic about baking for family and friends and witnessing the joy it gives them. “I find that baking can enhance a mood. If I'm stressed, I bake. If I'm happy, I bake. It's a beautiful therapy to follow a recipe and create amazing dishes,” Melanie says.

“My boys like my mum's old butter cake recipe called Granny's White Vanilla Cake, and I love cooking this for them. It's a simple butter cake but it tastes amazing. We would make it for every birthday when I was growing up.”

Granny’s White Vanilla Cake

Your shopping list

1 ¾ cups of white sugar

1 ¾ cups of plain flour

3 tablespoons of cornflour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

A pinch of salt

7 large eggs

¾ cup of milk

½ cup of sunflower oil or melted butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

250 grams of softened butter

2-3 cups of icing sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

125 grams of cream cheese

Bake in the love

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, cornflour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.

3. Separate eggs and put whites aside.

4. Beat yolks, milk, oil/butter and vanilla extract together. Beat until smooth and then

add to the flour mixture and beat for approximately 30 seconds until combined.

5. Separately, beat the egg whites until they’re stiff. Fold in gently to the cake mix.

6. Bake for 35 minutes until cooked.

Top it with the perfect icing

1. Whip the softened butter with the whisk attachment in your kitchen aid or hand beaters until the mix is pale and fluffy.

2. Add two to three cups of icing mixture, vanilla extract and cream cheese.

3. Beat until combined, light and fluffy.

world baking day


Say “I’m here for you” with chocolate chip cookies

Television chef and author, Sandra Lee, once said, “Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.”

Melanie agrees, saying “Chocolate chip cookies [are] these little bites of happiness [that] always make everyone feel better. They smell so good when [they’re] baking that it immediately lifts a mood.”

Top tip for baking chocolate chip cookies: Chill your cookie dough! This not only makes the dough easier to mould and shape, but it also enhances all the heavenly flavours.

chocolate chip cookies


Say “Let’s treat ourselves!” with a one-pot cake

Afra Abdeen, cake decorator and owner of Oh That Be Good, believes any moment can be a treat-worthy occasion.

“Whether I’m baking with my nieces and nephews or bringing a cake order to life, you get to create little moments of joy [while baking]. It warms my heart when everything goes to plan and people can enjoy something you made with love just for them,” Afra notes.

“I always keep some one-pot cake recipes on hand to whip up at short notice. My favourite is Linda Lomelino's chocolate sheet cake recipe. It's super easy and the icing is absolutely delicious!”

Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Your shopping list

200 grams of salted butter

125ml of milk

240 grams of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

68 grams of cocoa powder

300 grams of granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon of flaky salt

2 medium eggs

150ml sour cream or thick yoghurt

125ml hot espresso or hot water

100 grams of 70% dark chocolate, chopped

150 grams of softened butter

120 grams of powdered sugar

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of heavy cream

1 tablespoon of espresso

Flaky salt to sprinkle

Bake in the love

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease a 31 x 23 cm (12 x 9 inch) baking pan.

2. Melt the butter, add milk and set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Add the butter mixture, eggs and sour cream to the dry ingredients and beat until just smooth.

4. Add the hot espresso or water and stir until smooth (the batter will be quite runny).

5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 22 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes with a few crumbs. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Top it with chocolate fudge icing

1. Melt the chocolate and set it aside to cool to room temperature.

2. Beat butter, powdered sugar and cocoa powder until pale and creamy, about two minutes. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and beat until smooth. Add the heavy cream and espresso and beat until light and smooth.

3. Dollop the frosting over the cooled cake and swirl it with a spoon or offset spatula. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Store the cake in the fridge if not eaten the same day, bring to room temperature before serving.

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Say “I love you” with classic cupcakes

Anna Eden, owner and chief flavour designer of The Classic Cupcake Co. learned how to bake with her late grandmother. A natural whiz in the kitchen, everyone listened to the culinary wisdom she shared.

“When she told you to only use butter, room temperature eggs, and to use your pinky finger for scraping off the spoon, you listened,” Anna recalls. It was with these family secrets that she started The Classic Cupcake Co. 10 years ago.

“It's clear that the humble cake recipe has taken on a global stage in how we express our love and gratitude for each other. I always fall back on my classic vanilla cupcake recipe. It's not difficult, but done correctly it's sure to bring a smile to anyone's face.”

Top tip for baking vanilla cupcakes: “For a silky smooth cake batter, never skimp on the mixing of your wet ingredients before adding the dry ones,” Anna shares.

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Say “It’s okay to rest” with chocolate cake

Tamara Newing of Tamara’s Kitchen has forever used baking as a way to connect to her family roots. As the granddaughter of Jewish World War II refugees, baking Polish breads and treats has long been a tradition in her family. “Baking always makes me feel grounded – particularly if I am feeling stressed or emotional,” Tamara explains.

“In our family there is a ‘secret’ chocolate cake recipe that is passed verbally through the generations. Seven simple ingredients that we all know by heart! Buba is Polish/Yiddish for grandmother and the original creator of this recipe was my great, great grandmother.”

Buba’s Chocolate Cake

Your shopping list

2 cups of self-raising flour

2 cups of caster sugar

5 heaped tablespoons of cocoa

5 eggs

180 grams of butter or margarine

1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of vanilla

1 tablespoon of brandy

Bake in the love

1. Place all ingredients except butter in a mixer and mix until smooth.

2. Add melted butter and mix until well incorporated.

3. Pour into a buttered kugelhopf tin and bake at 180°C for one hour.

4. Cool and dust with icing sugar.


1) Psychologists Explain The Benefits Of Baking For Other People, HuffPost

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