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Tuesday
Oct252011

Ask CakeSpy: Baker's Block

Dear CakeSpy,

First of all i'm only 16, but i'm a big fan of CakeSpy ( I'm asking for the book during Christmas!) But what i wanted was some ideas for pies I make pies a lot, but lately i guess you could say i have...hmm...bakers block. And I know you were the person to ask about this so if you could please help me overcome the terrible bakers block.

Love, 

Uninspired Baker

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Uninspired, 

First off, let me commend you for your fine Christmas present request, but I respectfully request that you ask for about 20 more copies. One is not enough, and it is conveniently available at Urban Outfitters, a very cool store.

But on to the business at hand: this awful Baker's Block. 

Inspiration can be a fleeting thing, and the closest thing I can think of is the crippling disease known as "Writer's block". There is a Sylvia Plath quote on that subject: "everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."

How does this apply? Well, the doubt of wondering "will I ever create anything great again? Will I ever derive joy from it?" can be difficult. But taking a cue from Ms. Plath, I tend to think that "everything in life is bakeable if you have the guts to do it and the imagination to improvise." 

That is to say--while it is a very personal thing, for me personally, I like to try something I have never done before to get myself out of a baking rut. It can be as simple as buying a type of baking mix at the store I've never tried before, or as difficult as trying my hand at an intricate cake like the chocolate frosted princess cake. 

But I also hit up some readers for their suggestions, and here were some of their methods for breaking out of baker's block:

Alithea says "I make either Nanaimo Bars or Compost cookies...or I just browse here."

Pastry Child says, "I usually go with a no-fail recipe...something I've made a million times...chocolate chip cookies, usually."

Michelle says, "Bake your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but make three subtle changes and you'll have a few fun favorite!"

Jess says, "I make oatmeal cookies with an assortment of add-ins!"

...so as you can see, there are all sorts of methods of regaining your baking inspiration. But the most important aspect is simply getting in the kitchen: personally, I think that the aromas of baking and the smiling faces of friends and family as they begin to anticipate your latest delicious creation will bring the inspiration right on back.

Got a tried-and-true method for breaking the curse of baker's block? Leave a comment here or on the CakeSpy facebook page!

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Sometimes I'll take two recipes I like and try to combine elements of each to make an entirely new dish. So maybe you have a really awesome cookie recipe and a really awesome cake recipe but you want to make a pie...what pieces of each recipe translate into an amazing pie?

Sometimes I end up with something that isn't at all like the other two recipes, but that's okay. The important thing is you got your creative juices flowing.
October 25 | Unregistered CommenterTrish
Thank you so much!! ( :
October 25 | Unregistered CommenterUninspired Baker
All I have to do is browse a site like Tastespotting. Within 5 minutes I'll be drooling over 5 things I want to bake. :)
October 25 | Unregistered Commenters.
Try making some savory baked goods. I'm a pie maker at heart and I use only fruit that's in season so the pies change frequently, but if I find I've made too many raspberry pies for example, (you cant imagine how many pies it takes to get sick of that but I managed it this summer) I'll start making savory pie-like dishes like winter squash galette, mushroom turn-overs, shepherd's pie, or quiche. This works with a lot of things besides pie (mushroom leek biscuits, lentil curry cheese bread). By taking it out of the realm of desert, I find I start thinking about baking differently and that's inspiring. Then I'm ready for raspberry pie again.
October 25 | Unregistered CommenterBG

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