The first time I heard of this I thought, “that’s ridiculous, I am all for minimalism, but that’s just not for me.” I first heard of this idea from Melody, a blogger and YouTuber. If you want to read Melody’s article take a look: Simplicity Hack: Baking
Typically I make all of my children’s birthday cakes at home. Last year my mother in law was minimizing her baking collection and I was the lucky recipient of all of her Wilton’s baking pans. Including some that are no longer made. Before I had children I thought that birthday parties would be so much fun. I had fantasies of baking home made cakes and doing complicated decorating to match the theme.
Reality is beginning to set in. Usually I will bake and do a crumb coat of frosting a month ahead of time and put the cake in the freezer. A day or so ahead of the party I take the cake out of the freezer, finish the frosting and decorating and let it thaw in the fridge.
This time while the frosted cake was hanging out in the freezer it was ruined by one of the children. I’m not going to name any names, but it was the one with the extreme sweet tooth. It shouldn’t have been a big deal. The party is a month away. I have plenty of time. But, as I threw the ruined cake in the trash I realized that I didn’t want to spend another two mornings baking, frosting and cleaning up. I just don’t enjoy the process.
I like looking at pretty cakes and I like the end results, usually, of my effort. But the actual process of baking and frosting is not enjoyable for me. I want it to be fun, but it isn’t, it is stressful.
I am also thinking about all the space and time that is dedicated specifically to baking. I have several tote boxes of just baking supplies in the garage. I also have a cabinet dedicated to baking. And a Pinterest sub-board. I also spend a lot of time before the birthday party thinking about the cake. Flavor, filling, decorations. I watch tons of YouTube videos on cake decorating to get ideas. I even thought about going to a bakery across town to buy those popular french style macaroons to decorate the cake with. It’s excessive.
There is also the issue that Melody brought up, baked goods don’t contribute to health. Yes, they are very yummy. But they are best consumed in moderation, if at all. I find that I only bake around holidays and birthdays and most of the stress isn’t around the decorating or the presents or the other food items, I stress about the cake. Most of the time the cake is not completely eaten. We are all watching our weight. It is a difficult thing to do in the US, we gain weight by just breathing the air here. So most of the cake is thrown away.
Minimalism started for me as a way to help me keep the house cleaner. Now I am realizing that it is so much more than that. Not having baking supplies isn’t going to put a dent in how often I clean the house. But I think that not baking is going to significantly reduce the amount of stress I experience around birthday parties.
Now, one more minor issue. Money. In the grand scheme of things the cake is a very minor expense. I spend around about $20 to bake each cake. It would be less if the parties were closer together and I didn’t have to buy fresh ingredients each time I baked, but ingredients do go bad, especially the baking powder. I can pick up a cake at my local grocery store for only $6. If I were on an extreme budget that would be a better option.
As my friends on facebook suggested I am thinking about putting everything, all of my baking supplies, in a box in the garage. I might get back to it in a few years. Would it be better to just buy everything again when I need it? Would I enjoy it more in a few years if I had new things or would it be better to keep the equipment that I have? I am moving more and more toward a healthier style of eating. Will baking even have a place in my life then? Would I still prefer to outsource baking? More importantly, did I ever enjoy baking, or was it just a fantasy?
What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment.
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