What Baking Means to You

cake piped with pink and purple piped buttercream decoration

I’m sharing a different kind of post today. It’s not a recipe, it’s not an update on life. It’s a short post where we can all reflect on what baking means to us, either how insignificant or how profound. I encourage you to share!

What Baking Means to Me

Besides being an obvious means to an end (a baked good), the act of baking is a form of my self expression. I create what I want to create, however little or magnificent that baked good may be.

When I worked a 9-5 job in a corporate environment, coming home and baking cupcakes (even from a box mix!) helped me relax and unwind. It simply “felt like me.” In a job where I didn’t have much creative freedom, baking truly kept me fulfilled and energized.

And, not to mention, it’s a double whammy of awesomeness– baking makes me happy and baked goods make everyone happy. Spreading joy is immensely powerful.

I was able to make a career out of this passion. 8 years later, baking still provides the same amount of joy and creative freedom. But on a more serious note, baking also helps manage my anxiety. A chronic worrier since my teen years, I find the structure and focus that baking requires to be soothing. I’m in control of the outcome (well, mostly!) and that control is important during times that my anxiety feels debilitating. Baking is my work, my “me time,” and, well, my medicine. I’m really grateful I’m able to do it.

It’s not just about baking cookies, it’s about the joy and calm that come with it. What baking is to me may be knitting, painting, reading, running, yoga, or music to someone else. How profound that a hobby can be a form of therapy.

So what does baking mean to you?

Bowl of cream cheese buttercream frosting

341 Comments

  1. Baking means a lot to me.

    It’s a way to show love and affection to my family and friends. It makes me happy when something I’ve created makes them happy.

    It’s therapeutic; if I’m stressed or anxious, following a recipe and the scent of baking goodies helps calm me down.

    It can challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone. Baking is the safest place for me to step outside my comfort zone and try new recipes. Even the “failures” are pretty tasty!

    It’s something for me to do with my kids. We bake and cook together. While having fun, I’m also hopefully instilling in them the importance of being able to cook, and more importantly, making memories. When we make homemade pasta, we make a mess and have fun!

    It reminds me when my Mom would bake, and I have wonderful memories of her in the kitchen. Now I get to surprise her with yummy goodies!

    I hear the kitchen is the heart of the home; ours is definitely robust and healthy!

    1. Baking is like a hobby to me. I also feel that it is an expression of my identity. When I have not baked anything for a long time, I feel like there is a part of me that is missing. Maybe it is because I started baking when I was very young – only eight years old, and it was something that I shared with my mother. I lost my mom to cancer when she was only fifty-seven, but I feel that she lives on in me, and that when I do the activities that we shared together, such as baking, knitting, etc., somehow this is made manifest.

    2. What sweet memories you are creating with your family in the kitchen! Loved reading about what baking means to you- thanks for sharing, Debbie ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

  2. I am drawn to baking for a few different reasons, first and foremost when I am in the kitchen absolutely every worry in my life disappears outside of ‘I hope my bread will get a good rise’ and ‘I hope subbing x for x in that cake wasn’t a bad idea!’. Secondly, there are so many fun skills to learn, I often buy a new cookbook and become excited about the challenge of learning a new skill to try a new recipe (hello French buttercream, I’m talking about you!). Finally, it is something in my life I can control (within reason), when it feels like everything is going wrong, life feels out of control, stress at work is over the top and so on, the act of setting to make something calms my nerves, the steps are clear, I know what to expect along the way, the batter behaves how I expect it to (usually) and that first bite of a finished product makes me feel that even if everything isn’t right with the world right now that I can trust it will be again someday.

    1. I relate to all of this! We are so fortunate to have found a love for baking ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for adding to the conversation, Rachael!

  3. Baking, to me, is a love thing. I enjoy doing it, but the real joy is in seeing and hearing the reactions of my family when they eat and enjoy whatever I’ve baked. For example, the No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars I made Friday were a huge hit – the two sons who tried them carried on so about how good they were that I thought their eyes were going to roll to the back of their heads. They loved them, and that made my heart happy. That’s what fuels my desire to bake – in addition to actually eating the things myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so glad to have this website as my go-to place for great things to bake

    1. So sweet! I too, find so much joy in sharing what I make with others! Thanks for contributing to this conversation, Donna ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Baking is life for me. I bake when Iโ€™m sad or stressed to help myself feel better. I bake when Iโ€™m happy and want to do something fun. I bake when I feel the need to be creative. I bake to avoid housework! I bake to express myself. I love to bake for other people. Itโ€™s kind of like a drug for me too, I get antsy and MUST BAKE if itโ€™s been too long. Sally you nailed it, baking is an addiction!

  5. Hi Sally.
    Please let me think about this
    and I will get back with you.
    Will this post be around for a long time.
    I have not thought about this since I am just a beginner still.

  6. I am so blissfully happy when I am tinkering around in my kitchen and baking something that is a tried and true family recipe or a new recipe that I am dying to try. I put on some music, crank up the oven and go to town. It is so relaxing and the smiles on the faces of my family and friends is enough reward for me to continue for the rest of my life.

  7. When I was working and really stressed out it was a great way to center myself and find some calm. It also was nice to create something and get done with it, because much of work felt like it was never really done. Finally I feel it is a way of giving of yourself and expressing your love because I always share it with a neighbor, co-worker and family of course.

  8. Baking is the thing that brings my family joy. There is no better feeling than seeing my husband and son’s faces light up when I present a dessert I’ve worked on. I also love that it enables me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. Sometimes the desserts don’t quite work out like I planned but most of the time I’m rewarded for the effort. It enables me to use my organization skills as well as my creative streak. I will always be baking and looking for the next challenge. Thank you, Sally, for your great recipes!! My family and I have really enjoyed them!

    1. YES! I love all of this! I too, find baking to be such a great way to express myself creatively but also use my organizational skills ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing what baking means to you, Laura!

  9. My mother was a fabulous baker and when I bake all the wonderful loving memories that we shared come flooding into my soul! Baking makes me happy and I share so that all my family and friends know I love them.
    Thank you for your wonderful recipes!

  10. Baking and really all forms of cooking has always been a passion for me. My first baking experience was with my Easy Bake Oven. I loved making the little cakes and cookies for my dad to have when he got home from work. And he always enthusiastically ate them, though truthfully, they were terrible! But that was when I realized what a joy it was to bake for other people. Once I got married and had children, it is truly the way I show my love for my family and others in my world. It is my creative outlet (though I now paint as well for creativity), and it is the best way I know how to bless others when they are sad, ill, need encouraging, celebrating a life event or just because I love them. I learned years ago, everyone has to eat, and no one ever turns down food! I don’t bake near as much as I used to, I just don’t have the opportunities as when my kids were little, though I still make dinner every night. But every chance I get, I do try to use my cooking/baking abilities to bring some joy to others. That’s what gives me great joy.

    1. Such sweet memories! It truly is such a joy to share sweet treats with loved ones near and far ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing what baking means to you, Lisa! xo

  11. I love this post & reading everyoneโ€™s comments!
    I am not the creative type, canโ€™t draw, donโ€™t like writing, not musical, but baking turned out to be a bit of a creative outlet for me, it brings me joy, itโ€™s therapeutic & so satisfying. I love food & being in the kitchen but have never been good at winging it & just whipping something up so Iโ€™m a recipe follower & baking is perfect for us recipe followers! I donโ€™t remember how it is that I came across this blog years ago but Iโ€™m sure glad I did. From cookies to cupcakes to decorating cakes, to pies, to bread, to CROISSANTS (still canโ€™t believe I made those from scratch!) Iโ€™ve made & shared so many yummy things. And I so so much enjoy sharing the baked goods & making others happy with homemade treats. Thanks for making me a better baker Sally!!

  12. Sally, this post is amazing. I never really took the time to think why I bake. I baked with my grandma and siblings when I was very young. When my sister started to bake, I thought, hey, that looks fun. I started baking too, and I soon learned that I could make homemade goods that my family and friends enjoyed! What you said is true, baking is therapeutic. No matter what my day has been like, I always relax when I’m baking. It’s almost my “escape route” when I’ve had a bad day. In summary, baking for me is a way to calm down, relax, and have fun! And as I grow in my baking skills, I thank you for all the inspiration. I definitely wouldn’t have made it very far without you and your blog ๐Ÿ™‚ So thank you, Sally, for inspiring me and many others to bake. Spending a little time in the kitchen brings me the greatest joy.

    1. You are so sweet, Sarah! I’m so glad you have found so much joy in baking- and that you enjoy baking my recipes ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your readership and for sharing what baking means to you!

  13. At first baking was just a hobby to keep myself busy since I had so much free time. Now, I consider baking to be an escape from the harsh world. When Iโ€™m in the kitchen baking some cookies or some cream puffs, Iโ€™m listening to music and I gain a sense of control that I rarely ever have. Baking is also my way of giving, as I donโ€™t work, I instead gift custom treats to friends and family. Baking is my way of enjoying the life I have because I know that even if something goes wrong and it doesnโ€™t turn out right, thereโ€™s always the next day to try again until I get it right.

  14. Love this post – thank you for sharing!
    Baking means so much to me. It’s a way to show love and affection to my friends and family. I love being able to bake something for a special event (or just because) and see someone’s face light up with joy!
    Baking is my stress reliever. My stress seems to melt away when I start to bake! Plus my home smells amazing and there is a delicious treat to share at the end ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Baking is a creative outlet. I’ve never been good at crafts, drawing, painting etc. but I find so much joy in decorating a cake/batch of cupcakes. The process and seeing it all come together is so much fun & rewarding!
    Baking is a way for me to grow as an individual. I’m always looking for new, fun, challenging recipes/techniques to try. I never thought I could decorate a cake, bake a delicious loaf of bread, make eclairs, croissants (!!!), creme brulee and more!
    Baking is my joy! Thank you for always being an inspiration and sharing your amazing & delicious recipes!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing what baking means to you, Carolyn! I agree, my stress melts away the minute I step in the kitchen ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Every Friday morning, I come home from yoga and begin baking. It is a continuation of the calm and stress reduction that yoga bring. I find that when I am measuring, pouring, buttering, etc.. I have to concentrate really hard. This leaves no room for stressful thoughts to creep in. It’s just me and my ingredients, trying to create something that my family and friends will enjoy. I appreciate the challenge of trying new recipes and furthering my decorating skills, which are still fairly beginner but can look pretty darn good regardless! By late afternoon, I am ready to shower and head over to my parents senior living place where I take them a piece of whatever I have made and they love to show it off to their friends. We then head out to our favorite restaurant where I take a plate of goodies to the staff, who are always anxious to see what the week’s treat will be. It is fun to create and it is fun to share. And it is cheaper than therapy!

  16. Baking for me is a way to spread kindness and joy while carrying on a family legacy. I learned to bake from my mom who learned from her mother. Although I never met my grandmother, as she passed away 12 days after I was born, I have heard many stories of her wonderful cakes and delicious homemade bread/rolls (which no one has been able to reproduce as there was no written recipe ). My own mom has been gone over 20 years but when I bake I always think of her. I am just an average home baker but sharing what I bake with others brings me (and hopefully them) a little bit of joy.

    1. Baking has a very special way of eliciting such sweet memories ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing what baking means to you, Terri!

  17. Baking is my form of creative expression that also fills the practical need in me too. Baking bread and decorating cakes just makes me happy and the physical act of kneading or piping is a great creative outlet. It is also an awesome way to be a cool aunt and connect with my niece and nephews who love that I let them make a mess in my kitchen as long as they help with cleanup and when cleanup means licking frosting from beaters even better.

  18. Baking is something new to me. I’m trying to discover what it means to me because I think it’s a pretty amazing thing.

  19. 100% agree with everyone you said here! And from the comments, it looks like so many other people share this feeling about baking. It is interesting especially since to other types of people, it may look kind of crazy to take biscotti out of the oven at 11pm on a Tuesday for no reason at all – I often get questioned on it because that would look like a stressful situation to others. After years of witnessing such events my husband has finally realized that even moreso than the end result, it’s much more about the process and the fulfillment/enjoyment I get out of it. “Wouldn’t it be easier to just buy a cake?” is a question I often get and the response for me is, no – it would actually be very difficult for me to give up baking and just buy a cake instead! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You are so right! There is something incredibly wonderful about making something completely from scratch ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing what baking means to you, Carolyn!

  20. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me! Yesterday I was feeling down because a few new recipes that I tried didn’t turn out quite right. I began to doubt my abilities as a baker/cook, and now I must remind myself why I do what I do. I bake because it brings me joy; when I feel like I need a break, often you will find me in the kitchen creating something. It makes me happy when something that I create makes others happy as well. I am a teenager with three younger brothers, and they love it when they get to eat the yummy food that I make. Baking is my hobby; it’s a way to express myself to the world. And it is also a learning experience; it encourages me to come out of my comfort zone. I must remind myself that I am still learning, and even though I sometimes get discouraging results when I bake, I can learn from those mistakes and keep going, keep learning. I will not allow these challenges to stop me from baking because deep down, baking is my passion.

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this post! I loved reading about what baking means to you. Every day is a new opportunity to try something for the first time or step out of your comfort zone- I hope today is off to a great start ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Baking is my most favorite thing to do! It is creative, therapeutic, and a sweet way to show your love to others. Plus, it doesnโ€™t take too long to make something delicious and beautiful looking. Speaking of which, Iโ€™m heading to the kitchen now to bake some of Sallyโ€™s amazing chocolate chip cookies:))

  22. I enjoy bringing smiles to people’s faces. Someone could be having an off day, you bring them something homemade and it makes them smile. That is why I like to bake.

  23. Like so many others, I bake because it relaxes me and makes me happy and is a family tradition. I have a job I actually enjoy and I have other hobbies, like sewing, that I love… but my baking is the main thing that my family requests more of. One of my uncles – who lives in another state – always tells my husband how much he misses my cakes ever since we moved away. My daughter in Georgia asks for recipes since she’s gotten married and is now learning to bake. One of the biggest reasons we decided on the new camper we bought is because it has the “Chef Collection” kitchen with a convection oven. I just love to bake ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Love this, Sara! How fun to be able to bake in your new camper! Thanks for sharing what baking means to you ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. For me baking is a stress relief. And I have a major sweet tooth! I love missing together the ingredients,(esp the butter and sugar!) eating dough along the way, inhaling the goods as they are in the oven, and then finally taking out the finished product and feeling proud of it.

  25. Recently, one of my daughters asked me when my love for baking began. I told her that when she and her twin sister were turning 2 years old (they are now 17!), I made a commitment to bake and decorate their birthday cakes. To prepare, I registered for a Wilton cake decorating class at Michael’s and visited a local baking supplies company to purchase my first set of cake pans. I have been inspired by baking ever since. I bake to show my love and to spread happiness. And while it is sometimes a personal stress reducer, I found that nothing eases the stress and anxiety my daughters experience in high school more than baking them a warm batch of cookies or almond flour brownies. I welcome any reason to bake in order to discover and try new recipes because they unlock another door to my soul.

  26. I found out at a young age baking with my mother…………….THERE IS POWER IN THE COOKIE! I still say that today to others. What does it mean? This kind of power is LOVE!
    Cannot thank of a better reason to bake!!!

  27. Baking is connecting with childhood memories and passing them on to the next generation. Itโ€™s a way of sharing love and joy with your children, grandchildren, and friends. There is nothing better than the smell of a freshly baked bread (cookie, cake, pie…..), except, perhaps, eating it.

    1. I agree 100%! Some of my favorite recipes are from my grandma’s recipe box ๐Ÿ™‚ What a wonderful way to celebrate your family’s legacy!

  28. Baking satisfies many parts of who I am…as an engineer, I love the science and chemistry that goes into each product, the magic that happens when combining disparate ingredients to create something better and yummy. As a chef, I love being able to adapt recipes, trying new ideas to create something that’s uniquely mine. As a blogger, I love to be able to tell the stories surrounding the treats I’m making, sharing loving memories, cute stories, and the trials and tribulations that go into baking. As a mom, food is love…being able to give my family and friends yummy treats lets them know I’m taking care of them. All these touchpoints, and many more, are why baking is important to me.

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