Whenever I have a couple of rough weeks at work, my mind immediately turns to baking for comfort. I don’t know what it is, but baking seems like the solution to all my problems and I have this feeling everything would be better if only I stirred in a bowl with sugar, butter and cocoa powder. The problem is, baking is a big deal for me. It involves lots of planning ahead and shopping in advance, I’m definitely not your “let’s look in the pantry and improvise” kind of baker. When it comes to baking, I need a fixed plan and that doesn’t go well with sudden mood swings and acute cake-cravings.
Last Sunday, I woke up with this restless yet apathetic feeling that nothing was right and something had to happen. This something was definitely baking. So I started flipping through cookbooks and searching the Internet for the ultimate mood booster-cake, discarding one recipe after another. That one’s too complicated, that one needs to be done one day in advance, that one needs decorating skills, that one has too many ingredients. Then half the day had gone by without me picking one out, which made me even more unhappy. I looked at pictures of all of the cakes I’d want to bake, but didn’t feel skilled/confident/energized enough to realize and all of a sudden, life seemed so unfair. Look at all these cakes I’ll never have and eat too.
I have this prejudice that bakers and pastry cooks are unusually happy people. How could one ever feel blue when surrounded by beautiful, tasty cakes and that fresh scent of newly baked? (I have the same prejudice about florists. Florists are probably abnormally happy too.) I bet pastry cooks never wake up questioning the meaning of their existence, I bet they just jump out of bed at 4 AM, eager to start baking again. I bet they live their life in a romantic cloud of powdery sugar and soft flour, a fresh loaf of bread never further away than a rising dough.
In the end, I went out and hade apple pie at a café instead. It satisfied my craving enough to postpone the baking. However, after careful planning, I did make pineapple pie a few days later. It’s almost too easy to be called baking, but it made me feel good about myself. I created something edible and pretty-ish with my hands and went to sleep in that comforting scent of crust and pineapple. All was well again, and I have already picked out a triple layer chocolate cake for my next mood swing.