And along came a pandemic…

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Well… let’s say that none of us could have anticipated that within three weeks of our February meet, the UK would be on lockdown. I dare say had we known, we’d have all stayed for that one extra slice of cake, asked for another recipe from someone, or just enjoyed being in good company a little longer.

As much as we love cake, no bake is worth putting yourself at risk for, so our in-person events are cancelled until, well who knows?

When we set up Aberdeen Bake Club, it was to “celebrate the joy of home baking”, and eight years on, our strapline has never been more fitting. We’re genuinely delighted that our small community has migrated online and is sharing that joy with many people who have suddenly found themselves at home with plenty time on their hands.

At previous events, we’ve often discussed what it is about baking that brings us all together. I think it can broken down into three reasons, all of which are more important now than ever:

  • Comfort. In times of trouble, we all reach for the things that make us feel good. There’s a wonderful scene in Disney’s Ratatouille that sees a harsh restaurant critic transported back to his childhood with one mouthful of the titular-dish. Whether it’s your Granny’s lentil soup, your dad’s macaroni, or “school dinner sponge cake”, back-to-basics baking can provide a real sense of “home” and familiarity, when nothing in the world is familiar at the moment.
  • Control. I think it’s fair to say many people will be feeling uncomfortable at the uncertainty facing us all just now. And while we can’t change much of what’s happening around us, disappearing to our kitchens, pulling out a recipe book and picking something to bake or cook puts the control back in our hands. The simple acts of measuring, weighing, and following steps give us something that we know will turn out ok (most of the time!). We can switch off, and for that hour or so, all we have to do is follow a recipe. Of course there’s a whole other therapeutic level when it comes to physically kneading bread dough, or whisking eggs whites to stiff peaks, but baking is undoubtedly beneficial to our mental health.
  • Community. It’s cheering to see the sudden reappearance of community spirit in Aberdeen, especially in the sharing of recipes, ingredients, and even bakes. Our own little corner of the internet has been busy with followers asking for hints and tips, for ingredient substitutions, for alternatives uses (no-one wants to see another banana loaf), and of course for suggestions on where to get the holy trinity of ingredients – bread flour, yeast and condensed milk! We’ve seen members take part in afternoon tea swaps with friends and family, members come together to buy ingredients in bulk and then split them via doorstep deliveries, and even members sharing sourdough starters – bake club is truly “alive”.

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Baking can be quite a solitary hobby. For some, this is part of the joy of it, a chance to get away from the kids, and have some “me time”. But the real heart of our little bake club has always been the fact that we bring all of those home bakers together to be part of something bigger. We don’t know when we’ll be able to squash into one of Aberdeen’s pubs again, enjoying a mid-week tipple, whilst Colene plays “teacher” and does introductions, Katy snaps photos of all the bakes, Corinna scrambles to find extra plates and Shona dashes in straight from the airport (a late flight from London won’t stop her attending bake club!).

But we’re still here. All of us. And next time you want to know if it’s ok to use golden caster sugar instead of granulated, or where you can get a certain ingredient, or how to perfect your drip cake, or brownie, or bread, just pop over to Facebook or Instagram and we’ll be there.

Please share your bakes by tagging us – you’re giving all of our members so much inspiration, and we all have time to try something new at the moment. We’ll let you know what our monthly themes are, and try to stick to them. We’re usually more active on Instagram nowadays – it’s the easiest way for us to see all of your brilliant baking, and let you in on ours too.

So whether you’re new to Aberdeen Bake Club (hi!), or have been attending our events in person, keep baking and keep sharing. And for goodness sake, don’t attempt to bake your sourdough loaf with your oven on GRILL*.

The Head Chefs

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*We’re not going to let Colene forget that humdinger in a hurry…

2019 In Review

2019 was a busy year for Aberdeen Bake Club.

Founder Colene took some time out to spend with her newborn daughter (hence all quiet on the blog front – sorry), but the remaining Head Chefs – Katy, Corinna and Shona – did a sterling job in keeping our wee group active.

In 2019 we moved venues (again), tried some new themes, and welcomed lots of new faces. We even squeezed in a gingerbread-house-decorating competition at our Christmas event in November.

Below is a selection of bakes from throughout the year, from Bright Bakes to Cheese Month, and Picnic in the Park to Christmas.

New to Aberdeen Bake Club? Have a nosey around this site to find out more, and read about past events. Want to come to one in 2020? Then pop over to the Events page for more information on this year’s dates.

 

FEBRUARY | Red Carpet Bakes

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And so another red carpet season comes to an end.

A film-themed ABC event has been requested several times in the past, and when planning our 2018 calendar we decided that holding it between the BAFTAs and the Oscars was as good a time as any.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a fair amount of head scratching from some bakers who weren’t quite sure how to translate their favourite film into something edible…

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JANUARY | Love to Bake

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Each January we hold a ‘no theme’ event so attendees can make something they’re comfortable with or something they’ve wanted to make for ages.

We had 22 bakers along in January, including 5 new guests who had heard about ABC through social media, friends and work colleagues.

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January | Love to Bake 2018

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Our first event of 2018 takes place on Wednesday, January 24 at Soul Bar, Aberdeen.

For the first event of the year, we like to keep our theme open so you can choose to make a tried and tested favourite, something you’ve been meaning to try for ages, or something you made over the holidays.

Never been before? Take a look at our 10 Things You Need to Know About ABC post before you come, and make sure you head over to our Facebook page to let us know you’re coming!

OCTOBER | GBBO Final / Halloween

In a dark, dark city, on a dark, dark street, in a dark, dark former church, lived a, well actually, very light and fun baking club.

I think it’s fair to say the scariest thing about our Halloween meet was the lack of excitement we all had towards our other reason for meeting up – the Great British Bake Off final.

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They’re creepy and they’re kooky – The Bake Club Family *snap* *snap*

The second meeting of ABC that ever took place was a Halloween-themed event.

Ahead of our October event, which actually falls on October 31st, I thought it would be good to look back at our previous spooky events to get some ideas for what to make next week.

I couldn’t believe it when I realised we’ve only used Halloween as a theme ONCE. This is because of the other annual October event – the final of the Great British Bake Off, which also falls on October 31st this year.

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