Who doesn’t love a slice of cake? Or the warmth of a freshly-baked muffin?
Baked goods are some of the heartiest foods you can have; in fact, rather than going to the stomach, I’m sure they go to the heart. When you need something for yourself, whether to munch on or serve it to the guests, buying a cake from a bakery or baking it yourself at home; both are good and viable options.
However, deciding which option to go for can sometimes be a little confusing. There are many things to consider when choosing either one of the options, but you can’t go wrong either way.
Reasons to buy baked goods from a downtown bakery
Let’s talk about buying a cake from a bakery first. Suppose you have to entertain your friends spontaneously and have nothing to serve them. Or another instance where you have been extremely busy with work and house chores that you forgot to bake a cake for a birthday. Who will save the day? A bakery near your home.
Yes, it might sometimes be cheaper to bake a cake at home instead of buying one from a bakery; however, there are many reasons people choose to buy their cakes or other baked goodies from a bakery instead of baking them.
1. Ingredients, ingredients and more ingredients
Yes, everyone always has the basic ingredients available for cakes, such as eggs, milk, butter, flour, sugar, etc. However, there are only several times one can make a plain cake. You will need to buy strawberries, good quality chocolate, which is expensive, various essences, and many more things for different flavors. Many baked goods are available in stores that fall under your budget, depending on the taste or the size of the cake or loaf of bread you get.
Moreover, for decoration, you will have to make the icing, buttercream, different colors, fondant, etc. For these, you will have to include more ingredients in your grocery list, which can be more expensive than the cakes you can buy at a local bakery.
2. Intricacies of decoration
We all love cooking and baking shows. And they make the process seem simple enough. However, in reality, it is more than that. For example, let’s talk about fondant. It would help if you learned how to mold, cut, and shape the fondant appropriate to the design you want.
Or with buttercream and icing, they have to be a perfect consistency that’s not too creamy nor too runny. And this is why people choose to be on the safe side and buy from a bakery instead of baking the cake themselves. It takes time to master the art of rolling a good fondant or making the perfect buttercream to add between the layers or on top of the cake.
3. Materials required for the process
For basic baking, you need one or two baking pans, a good beater or a mixer, a wooden spoon, measuring cups and spoons, and maybe a rolling pin. However, if you plan to increase and improve your cakes’ quality, you will need more pans, a brush, equipment for the icing, good quality presentation dishes, and many more.
Not everyone has a huge and fancy kitchen. In cities, kitchens are usually tiny where there isn’t much space to move around, let alone keep a mixer plugged in at all times as a mixer is quite big and bulky to pack after every use.
Baking tends to be a little difficult then, especially when the oven is not up to par. An electric range is always better and safer to use as opposed to a gas oven. This is why people choose to be safe and tend to invest in goodies from bakeries.
4. Support local businesses.
Most importantly, if you choose to buy a cake from your local bakery, you will be supporting a small business in your area, especially during these times, when people opt to stay in. These bakeries have also started deliveries, making it easier for those who don’t want to go out and choose items.
Reasons to bake at home
On the other hand, people like to bake. And let’s face it, the look of satisfaction on the faces of your guests and delightful praises coming from them does not parallel anything else. Furthermore, the delicious aroma filling the house while baking means you don’t need to use any air fresheners.
1. Therapeutic and fun
Some people who bake at home consider the process therapeutic, and who doesn’t like to bake for their friends and families? By baking fancy cakes yourself, you can impress your guests by displaying your skills and creativity. And there can be no limit to your decorations or the flavors in the many tiers you will make.
If you have children at home and can’t figure out any more activities to do with them, especially during Covid times, you can always turn to baking. It can turn into a family affair, equally enjoyed by children and parents, except for the cleanup part, which usually falls on the latter.
2. Lifetime investment
Materials that are of good quality are quite expensive, such as a mixer from a well-known company. However, they last you a lifetime. This expenditure will only occur once or twice compared to buying cakes for every occasion for the rest of your life.
3. Technology saves the day
Yes, you will have to learn how to make the perfect fondant or buttercream and how to decorate your cake. But we live in a world where everything is made easier by technology. You can easily YouTube the process, read up on tips given by other bakers online, and learn a lot more with the help of a few clicks. And once you get the hang of it, nothing is stopping you from adding three or even seven tiers in one cake.
4. Guarantee product quality
Furthermore, to save on cost, some bakeries use ingredients such as dried egg powder instead of eggs, flour that’s bleached, or margarine; all cheaper options than using the original products. There can never be a guarantee of the ingredients’ freshness as we don’t know what happens behind the scenes. Hence, it is safer to bake the cake at home as you know exactly which ingredients you add to the cake.
Additionally, suppose you have people in your house with allergies or some specific dietary requirements. In that case, you can pick and choose certain ingredients or use other options as well, such as organic ingredients or brown flour for bread.
There is a lot of mix and match you can do yourself instead of relying on bakeries to fulfill your requirements. Moreover, you can hide fruits and vegetables in baked goods to make them attractive to children who are picky eaters.
5. Avoid preservatives
There is a particular reason why the things you make at home go bad quicker than those bought from outside; preservatives. These can be included in bread, hummus, and even cakes. Bakers don’t use fresh products, which tend to go rancid quickly.
Instead, they choose to turn to preservatives so one loaf of bread or a cake can survive for a couple of days or more on the shelves; hence, it is usually better to cook your own food instead of eating out or relying on take-outs in general.
Even though this debate is decades old, there isn’t one correct answer. If some people always choose to buy their cakes, they are not wrong. If some always decide to bake their cakes, they are also not wrong.
Baking also depends on the fact that you should have at least a little interest in baking, or else your heart won’t be in the process. There has to be patience for some things, such as bread, which requires folding layers or hours to rise appropriately.
6. Environmentally friendly
Baking at home is healthier for the environment. When you buy things from a bakery, such as bread, it is wrapped in plastic. At home, all you have to do is bake the bread and cover it. You will save a vast amount of packaging this way. The same goes for cookies and boxes for the cakes.
Essential things you need to bake at home
The essential things you need for baking are eggs, sugar, flour, butter/oil. After these, you can add vanilla essence or fruits to add flavor to the cakes. For items such as bread, you need yeast, which will help the bread to rise. For decoration, you need an assortment of things such as fondant, icing, buttercream, etc. However, a cake, muffins, or bread will not rise appropriately in the oven if the pans are not the perfect size according to the batter.
For example, if the cake is only a two-egg cake, the pan should not be longer than 6 inches, or the batter will remain flat and not give the spongy texture. Moreover, a simple beater or a mixer will suffice to stir the ingredients; a wooden spoon or spatula will take the batter out; a brush and a rolling pin for the bread.
There are many factors to consider before deciding whether you want to buy or bake something. Either way, you should trust your gut (and your taste buds) and go for the option that’s most convenient – you won’t regret it for sure!