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Baking a Difference | Easy-To-Follow Birthday Cake Recipe

Whipping up treats in the kitchen can do more than just create delicious and buttery goodness, it’s also a great way to spend quality time with your loved one whilst bringing many mental health benefits.

Considering that one in four people will experience mental health issues within their lives, why aren’t we baking more often? Of course, buying a rich chocolate cake from the local supermarket is easy, but the benefits of a homemade lemon drizzle cake are priceless.

In the words of Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain; “Food is so much more than sustenance. Food is love.” And she’s not wrong. Spending quality time doing activities with your loved one, such as baking are known as ‘projection activities’, where results have significantly shown people are calmer and happier.

You don’t need to own the latest mixing appliance or have first class piping skills to reap the benefits; here are just five ways baking can have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing:

  1. Self-satisfaction – We live in a social media driven world and it’s easy to feel as though we’re drowning in unreachable Instagram posts. Taking a break from the outside world is a great way to express yourself. Grab a spoon, whisk on.
  2. Express yourself – Finding the words to describe your feelings can be difficult, so choose a cake instead. Rainbow cupcakes, Devil’s food cake or a reliable Victoria sponge anyone?
  3. Bake for a reason – Watching people tuck in to something you made and seeing their faces glow and their teeth covered in chocolate can feel great. Channel your creativity.
  4. Escapism – Heavy kneading can do wonders to a difficult day. The real world can bring stress and pressure to our lives, but baking can bring happiness and calories.
  5. Pride – You’ve done the measuring, mixing, greasing and waiting – now it’s time to sit down with a brew and indulge in your very own baked goodness. Add a friend for an extra touch.

And if that’s not enough to get your apron on, here’s a super-easy cake recipe for you to follow.

What you’ll need:

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the filling:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 140g icing sugar, sifted
  • drop vanilla extract (optional)
  • 170g strawberry jam
  • icing sugar, to decorate

Where to start:

  1. Heat your oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Butter two 20cm cake tins and line with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat 200g caster sugar, 200g butter, 4 beaten eggs, 200g flour, 1 tsp baking power and 2 tbsp milk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the mixture equally between the 2 tins and smooth the surface with a spoon or spatula.
  4. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden or when the cake springs back when gently pressed.
  5. Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
  6. To make the filling, beat 100g butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the 140g sifted icing sugar and a drop of vanilla extract.
  7. Spread the buttercream over the bottom of one of the sponges and top with 170g strawberry jam. Sandwich the second sponge on top.
  8. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving. Tuck in.


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